Supermodel Amber Valletta has been to plenty of Met Galas throughout her enduring modeling career, often wearing some of the biggest designer names in the fashion industry. So it may have come as a surprise when Valletta appeared at Monday night's "Manus x Machina" event wearing a custom dress from high street brand H&M — but perhaps it shouldn't have.
"It's cool to be in conscious couture!" Valletta told Fashionista over the phone as she got prepped in her hotel room. "It was such a great fit because they wanted to make something that was responsibly made. To me, that is where fashion and technology are meeting, and it's also modern, the way all businesses are going to be moving now."
Her dress certainly fit the bill of blending fashion with technology, combining handmade elements with techy fabrics and eco-friendly techniques. Paired with high-flash jewels and strappy black sandals, Valletta owned the look on the red carpet. But her favorite accessory? Her date and "partner-in crime" Teddy Charles.
"I've been alone at the Met so many times before," she says. "Of course you're with your friends, and you're with the designer, but it's even more special when you're with someone you love."
We got Valletta to spill about her dress, how the Met Gala has changed since she started attending, and which theme she found trickiest to dress for (and it wasn't punk). Read on for her insider take on the event.
What do you like most about your look for this year's Met Gala?
I'm super excited that H&M asked me to go and that they wanted to do a dress that was sustainably made and conscious. They used recycled paillettes, sequins, and there are over 1,000 hand-cut petals. There's laser cutting, and this really cool, reflectant material that they heat-pressed to bring a lot of light and shine to the dress.
Did you feel it was a tricky theme?
No, not at all actually! I just think what H&M designed and the kind of materials they're using, it speaks directly to the theme. This is where technology is going to take us; it's going to make the fashion industry a much more sustainable and conscientious industry.
Which do you think has been the trickiest theme?
I haven't really found any of them that tricky, because before the theme was less important for how you dressed, whereas now it's kind of all driven by that. Last year's was a little harder, I think. It was about the influence of China, so unless you were using a designer from that region, it was a little bit trickier, but I wouldn't say it was difficult.
How have you seen the Met Gala change?
It was very small; it was a niche event within the fashion industry, and it slowly started to grow. The way celebrity influence has changed, that affected it a lot because it was mostly just industry people before. I'd say when they did Marie Antoinette, that was one of the pivotal points where the theme became so important, and that seemed to really change everything. And then obviously, with the influx of social media in fashion, it became such a big event.
Have you ever been starstruck?
Yea of course! I've sat next to Jeff Koons at one event, and I thought that was cool. I chitchatted with Rihanna, that was fun. Beyonce... it's just fun being with so many incredible people from so many different industries. Even tonight, to meet the chief designer of Apple, that's so cool.
What is the most fun aspect of attending the Met Gala?
I love that we can go all out in the most outrageous and fabulous dresses to one of the most beautiful spaces in America. It's kind of like Cinderella. Of course it's completely lavish and luxurious, but it's just a once-in-a-lifetime kind of event, and the fact that I've gotten to go multiple years has been amazing.
Do you have a favorite memory?
The one that was so special for me in a different kind of way was "Model as Muse," because that was honoring us. To come in and be part of the exhibit, to actually see my pictures and my influence in fashion was being commemorated within the museum was pretty awesome; you can't beat that. I was like, "Wow, I'm part of this."
What's the most complicated look you've ever worn?
Definitely Marie Antoinette. [laughs] The dress and the corset and the hair, everything. It wasn't that it took us that long, it's just that the skirt was pretty heavy, and it just took a little bit more research and thought of how to get that right.