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The Met Gala details: Maison Margiela by John Galliano for Zendaya

For her appearance, John Galliano specially created an haute couture look for co-chair Zendaya composed of a sage lamé and organza bias-cut dress worn over a duchess satin corset. The dress features bands of hand-painted metallic crin, a drape and bow layered from aluminum material and iridescent organza, and a corsage hand-embroidered with natural motifs hand-painted in electric blue and emerald, green.

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Zendaya’s hand-painted plume-like veil and hat wrapped in stockings wascreated by Stephen Jones for Maison Margiela. And her custom-made Tabi pumps by Christian Louboutin for Maison Margiela.

A sage lamé bias-cut ‘siren dress’ overlaid with iridescent electric blue organza with ‘retrograding’ in undulating bands of hand-painted metallic crin, swathed in an aluminium material and iridescent organza drape and bow, with a corsage hand-embroidered in a bacchanal of hand-painted impasto in the grammar of the electric blues and emerald greens of scarab amulets, with formations of birds, flowers, vines, grapes and nuts, worn over a boudoir-coloured duchess satin corset.

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A silver metal-wire ‘reverse swatching’ hat and a black hand-painted voile crafted in the memory of plume and enveloped in matching coloured stockings by Stephen Jones for Maison Margiela, and Eau de Nil velour and faux lizard Tabi interlaced ankle-strap pumps by Christian Louboutin for Maison Margiela.

Created for Zendaya by John Galliano for Maison Margiela, the haute couture silhouette was inspired by the 1930s mythological works of the photographer Madame Yevonde and imbued with the memory of the orgiastic sceneries of the bacchanals of Ancient Greece. In a dance between painterly cutting and draping techniques – unique to each layer of the construction – and the superposition of fabric textures such as tin foil with transparent iridescent organza overlay, the composition conjures the staccato brushstrokes of Giovanni Boldini.

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The bias-cut ‘siren dress’ is a key expression in the creative practice of John Galliano, which first appeared at Maison Margiela in the Spring-Summer 2020 Artisanal Collection. Infused with a certain ‘snobisme’, the look is given the epithet of ‘86 and Lexington’, a nod to the subway station near The Met.

The dress was crafted with ‘retrograding’, a technique through which variations of thread-work, appliqué or encrustation degrade from the bottom to the top of a garment like the linear base drawing of a painting that hasn’t yet been finished. The ‘reverse swatching’ technique employed in the hat exchanges the fabrics traditionally used for certain parts of dressmaking with materials of a contrasting value.

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