Amanda Gorman Makes Her Met Gala Debut in a Symbolic Look Inspired by the Statue of Liberty

The 23-year-old author and activist serves as a 2021 Met Gala co-chair alongside Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish and Naomi Osaka

American poet Amanda Gorman was the breakout star of President Joe Biden's Inauguration — and she just cemented herself as a style star at the 2021 Met Gala.

Gorman, who is serving as co-chair of the evening, sparkled in a strapless embellished royal blue Vera Wang dress with a sheer train and cut-out details on the back. She accessorized with matching, custom Stuart Weitzman heels, a custom Edie Parker book-shaped clutch and a crystal Jennifer Behr headpiece. The star added tiny jewels around her eyes to complete her beauty look.

"I really wanted to lean into the spirit of the Statue of Liberty," Gorman told Keke Palmer on the red carpet. "We thought super carefully about my outfit. So for example, the crown and laurel is where the word poet laureate comes from, which I've been honored to be given that title. Just trying to think of ways that my own identity can kind of intersect [with the Statue of Liberty]."

Speaking about the monumental events of past year, Gorman said, "I think it just really undercuts to my duty as a poet which is to try to use words to heal, to question, to interrogate."

Be sure to check out all of PEOPLE's Met Gala coverage to get the latest news on fashion's biggest night.

Co-chair Amanda Gorman attends The 2021 Met Gala Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13, 2021
John Shearer/WireImage

As for her symbolic clutch, the star explained, "The Statue of Liberty, as you may know, holds a book, which is very on brand for me because I love reading. At the base of the Statue of Liberty, there's actually a poem. I wanted to kind of repurpose that for tonight. I wanted the energy and the spirit of my outfit to be about America welcoming people."

Gorman teamed with her stylist Jason Bolden on the look, and the duo made sure to pay close attention to detail when it came to accessories. They collaborated with designer Jennifer Behr on the symbolic headpiece, which features hundreds of hand-set Swarovski crystals

"Working with Amanda was a dream come true for me, and it was my absolute goal to bring her vision to life," Behr shared in a release. "I wanted her to have access to our full breadth of work - from archived classics to never-before-seen custom crowns. She beautifully landed on one of my favorite signature pieces, worn in a style all her own, of course."

Leading up to the event, Gorman told Vogue that her role as co-chair is something she never imagined. "The closest analogy is feeling like Cinderella going to the ball," she said. "Anna Wintour took the time to ask me over Zoom; I was not expecting that at all."

Gorman, who skyrocketed to fame when she read her poem "The Hill We Climb" at Joe Biden's presidential inauguration, will be co-chairing alongside Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish and Naomi Osaka. She said taking on the co-chair role "feels like being a freshman at a party with seniors. You know? Like I just arrived here. My life has changed quite recently and they are all at the top of their game, and so I'm just absorbing what it means to be able to stand beside their greatness."

"There is something unifying in us being young and fresh-faced but, at the same time, we have become somewhat emblematic of our industries," she added. "We are the new generation — and you'd better watch out."

Gorman made waves again when she landed the May 2021 cover of Vogue, shot by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz.

"The first poet ever on the cover of @voguemagazine," Gorman wrote on Instagram. "I am eternally grateful & do not expect to be the last—for what is poetry if not beauty?"

The style icon in the making exudes power and strength as she posed for the cover shot wearing a vibrant, orange and green printed one-shoulder Louis Vuitton dress with a chunky gold statement belt cinched at the waist. According to Vogue, the design, created by Louis Vuitton's men's artistic director Virgil Abloh, celebrates his own African heritage.

Throughout the editorial, the poet models other looks, including a yellow and black printed Studio 189 dress and skirt, a pink tulle tiered Alexander McQueen confection and a silky wind-swept Aliétte gown in her signature color — yellow.

The 23-year-old told Vogue that while she loves creating her personal image through fashion (her yellow Prada coat at the inauguration made a powerful impact), she doesn't want it to completely define her.

The 2021 Met Gala will kick off a two-part exhibition. Part one, titled In America: A Lexicon of Fashion, will debut on September 18, 2021, and run through September 5, 2022, to "celebrate The Costume Institute's 75th anniversary and explore a modern vocabulary of American fashion," according to Vogue and exhibit organizers.

Part two, In America: An Anthology of Fashion, will open on May 5, 2022, and "will explore the development of American fashion by presenting narratives that relate to the complex and layered histories of those spaces." It will also close on September 5, 2022.

Met Gala event organizers have issued a vaccination mandate and mask requirement for all attending this year's benefit.

"Currently, all attendees at The Met Gala on September 13 must provide proof of full vaccination and will also be expected to wear masks indoors except when eating or drinking," a spokesperson for The Met confirmed to PEOPLE. "We will update these guidelines as needed."

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