Ariana Rockefeller Says She Felt Like the 'Luckiest Girl' in Grandmother's Gown at the Met Gala

Ariana Rockefeller ever so slightly altered the luxurious 68-year-old evening gown for the Met Ball on Monday

Ariana Rockefeller looked to the past while getting dressed for the Met Gala this year.

The 39-year-old model and philanthropist stylishly arrived at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's annual Costume Institute benefit Monday evening in a gold and cream gown of floral silk brocade that belonged to her grandmother, Peggy Rockefeller. The ladylike Elizabeth Arden design, featuring bows that cinch as straps around the shoulders and waist, was made for the matriarch in 1954, and ever so slightly altered for her granddaughter to wear.

"This year is about celebrating the talents and legacies of American designers and how those talents shaped American style," Rockefeller said in a statement shared with PEOPLE on her interpretation of the "Gilded Glamour" white-tie dress code for the "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" theme this year.

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"In that sense, my gown is a part of this story: an Elizabeth Arden gown designed by Ferdinando Sarmi in 1954 for my grandmother and then reimagined by Christy Rilling for me today in 2022. Reviving this 70 year old garment has been a fun and sustainable way to engage with this year's Met Gala theme," Rockefeller added.

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Taylor Hill/Getty

Elaborating on the style high, the equestrian continued, "I feel like the luckiest girl to have this opportunity to wear this gorgeous piece of my family's history to the Costume Institute Benefit."

After deciding to dust off the vintage heirloom for the biggest night in fashion, Rockefeller contacted designer Christy Rilling to refresh the 68-year-old garment. Rilling, a former costume designer, worked some modernizing magic by cleaning and restoring the fabric, refashioning the bodice and redoing the crinolines, among other adjustments.

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Angela Pham

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"It's always been so fantastic to think a vintage gown will be viewed again in a modern way. For me - the epitome of sustainability," Rilling said in the release. "There were exquisite couture details inside the dress which we wouldn't ever want to change in respect for the original couture design and the look it created."

Rockefeller completed the look with heirloom family jewelry and carried a bag from the 1920's that belonged to her great-grandmother Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. Taking the Cinderella moment full-circle, a pair of the philanthropist's favorite heels were re-covered in the reverse print of the floral brocade fabric left over from tailoring for a sustainable and sophisticated statement.

The 2022 Met Gala theme was "In America: An Anthology of Fashion," with the dress code being gilded glamour and white tie. Channeling the time period between 1870 to 1890, the event asked attendees to "embody the grandeur — and perhaps the dichotomy — of Gilded Age New York," per Vogue.

Serving as a part 2 to last year's "A Lexicon of Fashion" and paying homage to the diversity of American fashion, the official exhibit for this year's "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" will be on display in the storied museum's period-centric rooms from May 7 through Sept. 5.

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