Ashley Graham has covered Vogue, but she’s never been a guest at the Met Gala — until this year. The model and body activist hit the Met steps in a head-turning, curve-flaunting gown that definitely left some jaws on the red carpet. And she made sure to honor this year’s theme by paying close attention to the aesthetic of Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo.
Graham wore a custom H&M corset dress “influenced by Kawakubo’s interest in revealing the inner workings of garments,” the brand said in a release. “An off-white corset was subtly deconstructed, while a long red silk skirt was boned and fastened by hook-and-eyes, both decorated with exuberant ruffles of dark red silk organza.”
She added a red lip and sleek updo to complete her look.
H&M also dressed Nicki Minaj, Future, Joe Jonas, Jourdan Dunn, Sasha Lane and Stella Maxwell for the event.
“It has been our honor at H&M to create these looks inspired by Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons, one of fashion’s most important and influential designers,” H&M’s Head of Design and Creative Director Pernilla Wohlfahrt said in a statement. “Each H&M look has been entirely custom-made, with both Kawakubo’s creative world and the style of our guests in mind.”
For Graham, attending the Met Gala marks what she sees as an important shift in the fashion industry.
“It’s incredible. I’m still pinching myself that I’m attending with H&M,” she said. “For me, this symbolizes change and another important moment in the body positivity movement.”
See what else the model told PeopleStyle about her first Met below.
Why did you want to collaborate with H&M on your first gown?
I’ve been working with the brand for years, including walking in their Fall 2017 Paris Fashion Week show and being the face of their studio collection. I knew the brand would create a dress that was exactly what I wanted to wear.
How would you describe the dress in three words?
Timeless, feminine and romantic.
What makes it an “Ashley” dress?
The accentuated waist.
Why about the dress fits the Met theme?
We wanted to highlight Kawakubo’s love of a garment’s construction, so we incorporated a subtlety deconstructed off-white corset.
What’s your favorite aspect of the gown?
That it really shows off my figure and curves.
What’s something surprising about the gown?
Fashion has given a lot of “rules” to curvy women, so we’re often told to play it safe. I love that we played with volume and shapes.
What’s your favorite Met Gala fashion moment of all time?
Cher at the 1985 Met Gala.
What time did you start getting ready?
Who are you most excited to see on the red carpet?
Who still makes your starstruck?
All of H&M’s custom red carpet looks will be auctioned to benefit Girl Up, a campaign of the United Nations Foundation that empowers girls to transform the world. The auction will be held on Charitybuzz, from Tuesday, May 2 to Friday, May 12, at 2pm est.
What do you think of Graham’s look? Share below.