Venus Williams and Prabal Gurung Brought Cinematic Glamour to the Met Gala

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Venus Wiliams knows her fashion. The tennis ace and designer has always had an eye for great style, so when it came time to plot out her look for this year’s Met Gala, she wanted a collaborator as attuned to the industry and its history. Enter, Prabal Gurung. The designer, whose spring/summer 2020 “Who Gets to Be American” sashes are a highlight of the In America: A Lexicon of Fashion exhibition, teamed up with Williams to create an exquisite crimson silk faille and duchesse satin gown with a flowing train. The piece would stand out at any event, but Williams felt it was ideal for the Met. “As a designer myself, working with a visionary like Prabal was an incredible experience, and I couldn’t be happier with how the dress turned out,” she shared post-event. 

In keeping with the “In America” theme, Wiliams and Gurung drew inspiration from one of the nation’s chief exports: cinema. Namely, the era from the 1930s to 1960s when costume designers like Edith Head and Adrian dressed actresses in arresting custom looks both on- and off-screen. “Prabal and I were inspired by regal Hollywood glamour,” says Williams, who was especially fond of the gown’s rich red hue and ruffles. “I love the bold color he used to amplify and elevate the unique details to create a show-stopping gown. It’s effortless glamour, and that’s what I love about it.” 

Swarovski’s bright green chandelier earrings, an elegant tiered hairstyle by Nikki Nelms, and a smokey eye by makeup artist Emily Amick added to that decadent, Old Hollywood feel. Of course, Williams’s approach was just one of the many ways attendees tackled the night’s theme. Once she made her way to the Met’s steps, Williams was impressed by how the red carpet reflected American individualism. “For generations, fashion has always been a way to reflect identities, perspectives, and opinions, so it was fascinating to see everyone’s interpretation of the theme,” she says. “[I] appreciate the ways that each look reflects the evolving ideas of identity in our country.” 

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