Zendaya’s Cinderella Met Gala Look: An Iconic Fashion Moment, Explained

The annual gala of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York city, or the Met Gala as it is colloquially known, has produced some of the most interesting fashion looks over the years. Following a theme tied to the ongoing exhibition at the museum, the Met Gala presents a unique opportunity for attendees to dress up and go all out by exploring different aspects of their personalities. Hence, apart from the aesthetics of the clothes and accessories on display, it is the creative and intellectual effort involved in producing them that makes each outfit worn to the Met Gala truly interesting.

Envisioned by Zendaya’s stylist Law Roach, who has always advocated against trend-driven culture, this look was brought to life by designer Tommy Hilfiger in association with a team of eight people that had earlier worked on the iconic Hussein Chalayan robot dress in 2007, which was a nod to tech-infused futurism. As a literal interpretation of the Cinderella Disney princess vibe, Zendaya’s dress had to be almost exactly like the one from the famous 1950 Disney movie of the same name, complete with voluminous skirt and fitted corset, complemented by puff sleeves.

As beautiful as the gown was in and of itself, it was made truly special by the addition of technology. On the red carpet, Roach — performing the role of Zendaya’s “Fairy Godbrother” — waved a smoking wand around her. With a quick “bibbidy-bobbedy-boo,” her gown lit up to reflect a magical blue, of the exact tone from the one seen in the animated film. This spellbinding effect was achieved with luminescent electrical work that included five battery packs to produce half a kilowatt of energy, 40 meters worth of LED lights, and 20 carbon fiber rods. It took nearly three months to complete.

Zendaya’s Cinderella gown was indeed the focal point of this unmatched red carpet look, but one cannot deny the importance of the accessories in helping to recreate the complete fairytale.The dress was perfectly complemented by a pair of see-through pumps with a glass heel, to mimic Cinderella’s glass slippers. Keeping the fantasy alive, Zendaya even left one of them at the Met Gala stairs for Prince Charming to come find her. There may have been no liveried pumpkin coach to bring the maiden to the ball, but the actor’s tiny, embellished Judith Lieber stagecoach clutch did an admirable job of filling in. Cinderella’s signature black glittering choker was also in place.

With a theme as abstract as “Camp,” celebrities had their work cut out for them at the 2019 Met Gala. Based on American writer and critic Susan Sontag’s famed essay titled “Notes on ‘Camp'” published in Partisan Review in 1964, the theme sought to encapsulate Sontag’s words, as shared in Time: “Its love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration … ‘It’s too much,’ ‘It’s fantastic,’ ‘It’s not to be believed,’ are standard phrases of Camp enthusiasm.

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