May 01, 2017 11:54 PM
Kevin Mazur/WireImage; Jamie McCarthy/FilmMagic

Do call it a comeback! Gwyneth Paltrow graced the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Annual Costume Institute Gala red carpet tonight, ending a three-year hiatus. The star, wearing a pale pink sequin Calvin Klein By Appointment dress, complemented the one-shoulder design with a “classic” ponytail, and her hairstylist Blake Erik is sharing the exclusive details of her super-sleek hair exclusively with PeopleStyle.

Leading up to the big night, the actress posted a throwback photo on Instagram hinting at her 2017 Met Gala fashion choice. “My first ever Met Ball in 1995. #calvinklein #fullcirclemomentcomingup,” she captioned a shot of the sleek, scoop-neck dress and signature straight hairstyle she wore to the event 22 years ago.

Ron Galella/WireImage

“Tonight’s look was a really classic Gwyneth. She looks incredible with sleek hair, so we did a smooth ponytail,” explains Erik, who adds that though the the has worked together for about six years, this was their first time time collaborating on a Met Gala look.

While Erik prepped by concepting a ton of ideas, he admits, “the moment I saw the dress completely changed everything! Physically seeing it made me realize a simple and chic hair style would add a lot more to the overall look.”

“This look is all about the blow dry,” says Erik, who posted a sneak peek of the essential products and tools he needed to create the look. He blow-dried Paltrow’s soaking wet hair with a round brush, then used a fine tooth comb to gather her hair into a ponytail. Then misted another brush with Alterna Haircare Caviar Omega+ Anti-Frizz Dry Oil Mist and used that smooth over her hair and leave a glossy finish. Lastly, after wrapping a piece of hair around her ponytail, he secured the that using Alterna Haircare Extra Hold Hairspray, and gave the finished look another spritz of the dry oil mist. “Had we done this look with a hairspray it would’ve been a much stiffer look,” the pro explains.

Meanwhile, makeup artist Emma Lovell was inspired by “iconic 1990’s black and white images of Christy Turlington in the Calvin Klein campaigns” to create a “boyish beauty” look that complemented the simple silhouette of her dress. For Paltrow’s subtle contour, the pro applied the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow palette to highlight and sculpt her cheekbones, nose, jawline and temples. Then she swept Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Cheek blush in First Love on her cheek bones for a soft, natural glow.

Paltrow offered up a glimpse of her prep session – which took all of 4o minutes – with the pro and makeup artist Emma Lovell. “Bit of spackle and paint with my Dream Team,” she said.

Erik reveals that despite the buzz around Paltrow’s Met Gala return, their glam session was “very calm!” He adds: “She hasn’t been to the MET in a while, so she was excited to go! It’s more of a fun event versus the pressure of awards shows.”

RELATED PHOTOS: Everything You Need to Know About the Met Gala, Right Here!

With her look complete, Paltrow headed to the main event – but not before posting her very first Instagram Live, in which she shouted out fans from around the world. 

“I’m on my way to the met ball … it’s been a minute,” she told a growing number of followers. Revealing that she was “excited” for her return, Paltrow admitted, “I don’t know, getting a little old for these tight dresses guys.”

Rabbani and Solimene Photography/WireImage

Paltrow also wore a ponytail in 2013, her last visit to the Met Gala, then balancing her structured gown with a more laid-back version of the updo.

Prior to her conscious uncoupling with the Met Gala, Paltrow had appeared a total of five times, including in 1999, 2001, 2011 and 2012. In 2015, Paltrow revealed the star-studded event wasn’t exactly her cup of tea, telling USA Today, “I’m never going again. It was so un-fun. It was boiling. It was too crowded. I did not enjoy it at all.”

Robin Platzer/Online USA/Newsmakers; George De Sota/Newsmakers; Dimitrios Kambouris/FilmMagic; Kevin Mazur/WireImage

The following year, as pals like Beyoncé ascended the grand staircase, the mother of two spent her evening with daughter Apple, who put on a show of her own. 

“This was the red carpet at my house last night,” she wrote at the time.

The star’s return comes on the heels of news she and Anna Wintour are joining forces to produce a new magazine

What do you think of Gwyneth’s sleek ponytail?

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