Behind the Look: How Prabal Gurung Brought Anok Yai’s Mermaid-core Met Gala Moment to Life


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On the first Monday in May, the world’s biggest stars ascended the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the 2023 Met Gala to celebrate “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty.” Appropriately, the dress code read simply “in honor of Karl,” which means designers and stars alike pulled out all the stops for the occasion. Among the best dressed attendees was the model Anok Yai, dressed by Prabal Gurung, in a gold dress with a pannier skirt that seemed to evaporate into thin air. 

“This particular dress I had in my mind for a really long time based on his [Lagerfeld’s] Chanel Haute Couture shows,” shares Gurung. What most did not realize is that Yai’s look was two separate pieces: a short dress with oxidized gold and silver hand-embroidered degrade sequin paillettes and beaded bugle bead fringe, and a sheer silk tulle mermaid skirt hand embroidered with cascading oxidized gold and silver sequin paillettes underneath.  

In the episode Gurung goes on to explain that when he received his CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award in 2010 it was Lagerfeld that presented it to him. “I’ll never forget that exchange and it has remained with me forever. It has made me a better designer,” he recalls. 

Watch the latest installment of Behind the Look for a deep dive on how this Met Gala moment came to life.  

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