The theme for the 2021 Met Gala “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” is asking tonight’s guests to take an inward look at the country’s complicated history. While some guests are spotlighting American designers both established and emerging through costume, others are paying homage to iconic figures in the nation’s history. And honestly, aside from Amanda Gorman this evening, no one is hitting the cream carpet brief quite like Yara Shahidi.
The stunning 21-year-old Harvard student and Grown-ish actress arrived at the foot of the Met steps in a long, embroidered, custom-designed Christian Dior gown. Cinched at the waist with a thin, cinnamon-hued belt, the strapless creation was fashioned with a gauzy veil and train so long, it sent a number of masked men into a tizzy. Shahidi’s long-time stylist Jason Bolden teamed the gown with delicate chestnut gloves – which were finished with matching beading – and a head band.
The look honoured trailblazing actress, dancer and activist Josephine Baker. Born in St. Louis in Missouri in 1921, Baker was the first Black woman to star in a major motion picture before marrying a Frenchman and aiding the French resistance movement during the Second World War. She refused to perform to segregated audiences in her home country and was a person of note in the Civil Rights Movement.
Digging deep into the Baker archives, Shahidi and Bolden really put heart and thought into the look tonight.