The actress tells PEOPLE about the time she had to be sewed into her dress minutes before hitting the carpet for fashion's biggest night

By Hanna Flanagan and Julie Jordan
May 31, 2019 04:07 PM
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Lucy Liu
Credit: Gregory Pace/FilmMagic

As its fashion’s biggest night and the glitziest red carpet on the calendar, the Met Gala is probably the worst place on earth to experience a wardrobe malfunction.

But Lucy Liu tells PEOPLE it happened to her in 2004 at the “Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century” themed ball — thanks to a faulty zipper.

“I was wearing Ungaro and Giambattista Valli was the designer at the time,” Liu, 50, tells PEOPLE. “[Valli] met me at the hotel and he was like, ‘Oh my God, the zipper won’t work!’ He had to sew me into the dress, and then I had to cut myself out of it.”

Liu adds, “My stylist was there too, they were both sewing. I could go to the bathroom, it was just that the side zipper didn’t work. That happens when you have a dress that’s very unique, it just starts to fall apart unfortunately.”

Lucy Liu
Liu with her then-boyfriend Zach Helm
| Credit: Evan Agostini/Getty

The flowy boho-inspired gown, which Liu accessorized with simple drop earrings and a glossy pink lip, barely survived the whole ordeal.

“I still have the dress actually, it’s beautiful but you would have to re-make it to wear it again,” the star of CBS’s hit series Elementary tells PEOPLE. “It’s pretty chopped up. I could probably take parts of it and then add to the sides or remake it but the material was very patterned and beautiful. ”

Fifteen years later, the stressful fashion mishap makes for an funny memory: “That’s a real story and I have the evidence. It was great.”

Earlier this month, the Charlie’s Angeles star was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame after over 30 years in the entertainment industry. Much to the delight of fans, fellow angels Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore showed up to support their former cast mate at the Los Angeles event. Demi Moore, who joined the iconic trio for the 2003 sequel Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle also attended.

Liu, who was glowing in a Peter Pilotto silk one-shoulder tie dress, took a moment to thank her longtime friends, “My dear Angels, it’s a 20-year reunion. 20 years ago we were an elite crime-fighting team, and now look at us.”

While Barrymore and Diaz didn’t speak, Moore, 56, took the stage to honor Liu before her star was unveiled.

“Lucy continues to surprise me with her courage and fearless determination, seeing obstacles as mere stepping stones on the path to where you wanna go,” Moore said to her friend. “I am so happy to be here, it really is an absolute pleasure to stand up here. There is no one more deserving of this honor than you.”