The actor has a knack for crafting gowns out of household items

By Emily Kirkpatrick
Updated May 20, 2016 06:53 PM

When you’re a celebrity, dressing for the red carpet is no laughing matter. Stars can take days, if not weeks, prepping for a big awards show, from sourcing the perfect gown to getting their bodies in peak physical condition, to finalizing their beauty plan. But one man by the name of Tom Lenk is putting them all to shame, crafting their black tie ensembles out of household items to create a series of lewks that can only be described by one word: #FASHUN.

Tom Lenk/Instagram

When he’s not beating celebs at their own red carpet game, you might recognize Lenk as the actor from
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
and its much-beloved spin-off show Angel. But what you probably didn’t realize is the actor has developed a whole side hustle on his Instagram account, recreating looks from the Met Gala and Cannes for a series he calls the “#LenkLewkForLess.”

It all started innocently enough, with Lenk mocking the endless sea of glittery silver model robots that paraded down the Met Gala’s Manus x Machina red carpet, wrapping himself in a chicly draped emergency blanket. But after his photo started getting shared around Instagram, the actor began recreating more of his favorite outfits with found objects and things purchased from his local supermarket.

Lenk says he was inspired to start after filming an episode of Transparent: “I was blown away by creator Jill Soloway’s approach to filming the series. She creates an atmosphere of creative, artistic freedom and about being your authentic self without apology,” he says in an email. “It was so inspiring and made me think, ‘Hey. How about you do you, Tom?! Do what you think is funny.’ ”

He was putting together a look from The Huntsman: Winter’s War when the Met Gala red carpet starting rolling out: “I’m going to put a pin in this, literally,” he says he thought, “Then I immediately started throwing together as many Met Gala lewks as I could. Then friends started sending me other fashion pics I hadn’t seen. Sarah Michelle Gellar reposted my lewks in a collage on Instagram and at the same time ‘The Huntsman: Wynter’s Wore’ with Eliza [Dushku] started spreading like wildfire. What’s hilarious to me is that I’ve been using hot glue guns to achieve the ‘Lenk Lewk for Less’ since my days as a UCLA theater major. (I didn’t know how to sew but who was going to make my Scooby-Doo Costume I needed for our underground production of Scooby-Doo Live! at midnight/before the sprinklers came on in the sculpture garden?)”

Like this spot-on Solange Knowles:

Or contouring his face into oblivion and swaddling himself in a comforter to achieve the Olsen sisters‘ perfectly chiseled cheekbones and love of an oversize dress coat:

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He even started DIY-ing his own spot-on wigs, creating an edible version of Sarah Jessica Parker‘s Hamilton-inspired outfit and stacking a few rolls of duck tape on his head in the name of nailing Katy Perry’s eyebrow-less goth glam:

The actor has since moved on to reimagining the gowns and over-the-top jewels at Cannes, starting with perennial red carpet favorite, Julianne Moore, though Lenk’s version of her custom Givenchy gown is decidedly more useful:

And while Kristen Stewart knows how to pull off a Chanel haute couture look with ease, she may have just met her match in the form of Lenk’s #hausholdhifashun “early 2000s rave meets #madmaxfuryroad warrior bride meets @robynknoichiwa ‘call your girlfriend’ REALNESS”:

Lenk is surprised by the positive reactions too: “I just never thought, to put it all up on Instagram,” he says. “I was primarily using Instagram for the usual — gym selfies, fake mustaches, dogs wearing wigs … But don’t worry, I have incorporated those same mustaches and wigs into some Lenk Lews for Less because I’m all about sustainable FASHUN.” Next up: Let’s get this man a spot on RuPaul’s Drag Race STAT. As for the haters, in the immortal words of RuPaul:

Which of Tom’s looks is your favorite? Which red carpet outfit would you like to see him recreate next?

–Emily Kirkpatrick