Words by: Gene Sibeko
Africans certainly showed up and showed off, looking suave as ever, for the New York Metropolitan Arts Museum gala evening. The theme this year was focused on paying tribute to Karl Lagerfeld and his great influence on the fashion industry. The continent’s most prominent stars stepped out in top-tier custom-made designer ensembles by Burberry, Carolina Herrera, and of course, Chanel, just to name a few.
Burna Boy and Skepta shone in Burberry
Burna Boy and Skepta were both dressed in custom-made Burberry attire with different royal blue designs embroidered onto each. Burna Boy’s suit, in particular, had details of the classic Burberry check. He wore a mesh glitter vest underneath an extraordinary chest-revealing shirt that had a rose-detail shawl connected to the neck of the shirt. It was styled to sling over his shoulder and extend into a cape. The African giant looked like a sleek runway model. Skepta wore a made-to-fit suit with a Basotho-inspired duvet over his shoulders.
Tems stunned in a gown by Robert Wun
Robert Wun created a custom-made gown for the Met Gala for the first time. He chose Tems to be the debut star to walk the red carpet in a gown inspired by Karl Lagerfeld’s earlier work. Tems wore a contrasting tailored-to-fit couture bodice with feathers elegantly floating around her. She also wore gloves matching the black and feathered style of her bodice, as well as a feathered headpiece haloing above her head. Completing the look was the connected white skirt that unveiled from her hips and flowed into a modest tail following the singer.
Adut Akech was dressed in a Carolina Herrera monochrome gown
Creative director Wes Gordon of Carolina Herrera and Adut Akech went as each other’s dates for the Gala evening, paying homage to Lagerfeld’s relationship with his models. The custom-made gown was also a tribute to the atelier skillsmanship that Karl Lagerfeld so highly praised and appreciated. It is evident in the designs of the House of Chanel, and it is reflected in the detailing of Adut Akech’s gown, including the black and white stripes, the hand-sewn crystals, and the use of thousands of hand-embroidered pearls and flowers.
Anok Yai looked fabulous in a metallic Prabal Gurung design
Anok Yai rocked the Met red carpet in an Atelier Prabal Gurung oxidised gold and silver, hand-embroidered degrade sequin paillettes, and beaded bugle bead fringe pannier-shaped dress with a sheer silk tulle mermaid skirt hand-embroidered with cascading oxidised gold and silver sequin paillettes. The designer opted for custom looks for each of his muses, with meticulous detailing to pay homage to the era of Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel.
Doja cat wore a hooded gown by Oscar de la Renta
Every time Doja Cat steps onto a red carpet, she stuns the world. It seems as though Doja Cat has become the “it” girl for fashion designers. The popstar wore a hooded dress and had a prosthetic cat face. The detail went as far as creating cat-like claws for her nails. This ensemble was a little display of catwalking into the New York Metropolitan Arts Museum. Creativity, play, and craftsmanship were incredibly executed on the star by the Oscar de la Renta team.
Michaela Coel looked stylish in Schiaparelli
Gold, pearls, and crystals dripped from Michaela Coel’s silhouette as the multi-hyphenate shined in head-to-toe Schiaparelli. The one-of-a-kind design by Daniel Roseberry had embroidered trompe l’œil bijoux inspired by Karl Lagerfeld’s iconic costume jewellery. The glistening jewels were hand-embroidered on top of sheer second-skin tulle. The designer and his team spent a total of 3,800 hours hand-embroidering 26,500 stones and 135,000 golden crystals.
Trevor Noah wore a stand-out Thom Browne suit
Global sensation comedian Trevor Noah graced the Met Gala red carpet in a custom Thom Browne tonal grosgrain-tipped sportcoat in black velvet with embroidered bullion and bugle-bead camellias circling the jacket, with trousers in wool mohair. Underneath, he wore a classic white button-up shirt and black cardigan. On his feet were formal black shoes with white detailing in the front, a clear comparison to the classic monochrome suit that Karl Lagerfeld would often wear.