Stylist: Anna Trevelyan
Outfit: custom Tommy Hilfiger by Tommy Hilfiger
Makeup Artist: Adam Burrell
Hairstylist: Hos Hounkpatin
Headpiece: custom House of Malakai
Manicurist: Mei Kawajiri using Pregel
Bag: Judith Leiber
Shoes: René Caovilla
Model Winnie Harlow looked absolutely breathtaking at the 2019’s MET Gala. Let’s dive deep into the motives and the imagery behind her risqué outfit.
Harlow wore a custom Tommy Hilfiger gold see through bejeweled dress with a thigh-high slit and a black feathery cape to cover her skin a bit. The fittings began a few days before the event, but Winnie and the Tommy team had been working on it since that same January (the Gala is in May).
Really important to mention the cultural meaning the ensemble had for the model as she told People.com: “The carnival has such a rich cultural significance as it was used to celebrate the end of slavery. Growing up around the carnival, I always loved the uber-glamourous costumes.”
In an interview for Hypebae.com, her stylist for the occasion–Anna Trevelyan, who was the first one to work with her when she entered the fashion industry along with Nick Knight–explained the inspiration behind the look: “We wanted to catch a carnival queen vibe. As Winnie is of Jamaican heritage (a country that I am so in love with) and carnival has such a huge cultural and pretty camp significance, we’re thrilled that Tommy designed so beautifully within this world. Of course, there’s also a nod to our Vegas showgirl sisters. A Vegas and Caribbean combo, what a dream. I love how it almost looks like she’s just wearing a beaded bra and panties set, but then you realize it is a gown.”
In an interview for Refinery29 Harlow also revealed that she took inspiration from the dramatic and glamorous costumes of the showgirls you’d find in cabarets, or the iconic movie Showgirls.
Her favorite part of the outfit? If she had to choose a favorite, it would be her crystal and jewel centerpiece: “It was made from the actual jewels from my dress which we sent to Bali to get designed.”
To conclude, the vitiligo model explained what the theme of the year meant to her: “To me, camp is about theatricality, drama, eccentricity, and over-the-top glamour. Less is never more when it comes to creating a camp look. But it’s also about the importance of self-expression and creating a really inclusive atmosphere where all walks of life can be themselves, something I hope the Gala will embrace this year.”
Talking accessories, Trevelyan revealed why she chose certain brands: “The headpiece is custom designed and made by House of Malakai, he’s one of the best accessory designers around. I felt like the dress was giving me a Queen of the Peacocks vibe and so [I] asked him for a peacock inspired design.
The jewelry is Chopard. I went to them as they are one of the most playful with high jewelry. It is so delicate but statement and I love the beautiful play on colours they do.”
The choice of jewelry was indeed quite pompous.
A necklace featuring 49.99 carats of colored diamonds set in 18-carat rose gold, earrings featuring 10.03 carats of colored diamonds set in 18-carat rose gold and a ring featuring a 7.12-carat pear-shaped fancy yellow diamond, a 6.51-carat pear-shaped fancy yellow diamond, and 1.28 carat of diamonds set in 18-carat white gold, all from the Haute Joaillerie Collection (barely noticeable here).
She also wore a ring from the Imperiale Collection featuring a 6.00-carat amethyst and .98 carat of diamonds set in 18.carat rose gold (visible here on her left middle finger); on her feet, a pair of René Caovilla crystal-embellished gold satin sandals.
Make sure to read this Vogue Australia interview if you want to know what products her makeup artist Adam Burrell uses to prep and paint a client’s skin for events such as the MET Ball.