Gabrielle Union Pays Tribute to Cicely Tyson and Other American Icons with 2021 Met Gala Monday Looks

"My tribute to an American Icon," Gabrielle Union wrote on Instagram, channeling Cicely Tyson's 1974 Emmy Awards look with a floral print poncho-style minidress

Gabrielle Union is taking the theme of this year's Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to heart.

The L.A.'s Finest actress, 48, paid tribute to some of her favorite American icons on Met Gala Monday, including the late Cicely Tyson, who died in January at age 96.

Union channeled her favorite red carpet look of Tyson's for a press appearance ahead of the highly-anticipated event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art — the floral gown worn at the 1974 Emmy Awards, when Tyson won two awards for her performance in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.

Union had designer Samantha Black recreate the look as a sheer poncho-style mini dress in the same print. The retro homage was accessorized with matching chunky platform heels and show-stopping emerald earrings by Muzo, which she showed off with a high topknot. The Muisca Earrings from the Heritage Collection feature 74.09 carats of emeralds and .65 carats of diamonds, and retail for $44,800.

"My tribute to an American Icon. I wanted to honor Ms. Cicely Tyson and the dress she wore to the 1974 Emmys (one of my favorite red carpet looks of all time) by asking one of my favorite designers to create this dress as an homage to Ms Tyson," Union wrote in the caption. "@samanthablacknyc took the challenge and ran with it. Here is the piece she created. THANK YOU!!! Give @samanthablacknyc a follow & some love. #MetMonday #BlackDesigner."

The Bring It On star previously posted a photo of Tyson in the look in January, honoring the Academy Award winner after her death. "We have lost a visionary, a leader, a lover, an author, an ICON, and one of the most talented actresses the world has ever seen," Union wrote on Twitter at the time. "A life, a career, a fire to celebrated forevermore! #RIPCicelyTyson."

This year's Met Gala kicks off a two-part exhibition with the September 13 benefit. Part one, titled In America: A Lexicon of Fashion, will debut on September 18, 2021, running until September 5, 2022. The exhibit will "celebrate The Costume Institute's 75th anniversary and explore a modern vocabulary of American fashion," according to Vogue and exhibit organizers.

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

Union also included Isaac Mizrahi in her tribute to American icons, previously sharing photos of a Spring 1991 archive piece by the designer, which she wore to her Good Morning America appearance on Monday.

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"Kicking off #MetMonday with an homage to American fashion with this archive Isaac Mizrahi from Spring 1991," Union captioned the photos.

The look featured a green mini dress layered with a shimmering emerald long-sleeve cape and a sheer sea foam panel draped around the shoulders. She finished the look with a gold bangle choker and metallic taupe strappy heels.

Union later stepped out for the iconic red carpet, sporting a structured white strapless gown by Iris van Herpen. The piece was comprised of 10,000 iridescent circles, her stylist Thomas Christos Kikis tells PEOPLE.

"She just really wanted to, not necessarily pull from the past and what's been happening and what has been in the past how many hundreds of years, but she wanted to really focus on the future and change. Because that is really Gabrielle," Kikis says of the look. "It truly represents how much she just wants to keep seeing change and forward momentum in fashion."

"This work of art changes with every step. It's what this dress embodies. For me, what's needed in fashion and in life is change and evolution," Union wrote on Instagram.

The 2021 Met Gala Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion

She kicked off the whole week with a pre-Met Gala facial by Joanna Czech of 111Skin. "Really?!?!?! Nawwwwwwww but for real tho... #FreshFaceStaysLaced," she wrote on Sunday, posting selfies of her fresh face.

The Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was delayed from its usual scheduled date on the first Monday in May, after last year's was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Guests are required to provide proof of vaccination and wear masks at all times, except for when drinking and eating.

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