Archival Looks, Recycled Materials and Lab Grown Jewels Puts Spotlight on Sustainability at Met Gala

Fashion’s biggest night is star-studded event all around — usually with a focus on new clothes — but this year a less talked-about topic joined the conversation at the Met Gala in a big way: sustainability.

Monday night’s event kicked off with La La Anthony, a red carpet co-host for Vogue‘s livestream, proudly declaring that she was wearing “pre-loved vintage accessories” from eBay. The announcement set the stage for some of the celebrities who Anthony and her co-hosts, Gwendoline Christie and Ashley Graham, interviewed throughout the night who also showcased their sustainable red-carpet choices.

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Designer Stella McCartney was joined by actress and model Cara Delevingne, singer FKA Twigs and singer Ed Sheeran on the Met Gala red carpet. The British designer created custom looks for each of her guests, all made from 100 percent sustainable materials.

The designer’s brand collaborated with sustainable jewelry company VRAI for Delevingne’s and Sheeran’s looks. Delevingne wore a hooded, backless diamond bodice, created using more than 500 carats of VRAI diamonds. The bodice was paired with a skirt from McCartney constructed from forest-friendly viscose and bio-acetate cady.

VRAI’s diamonds are “gently grown” in the world’s first carbon-neutral certified foundry by crystalizing greenhouse gasses over roughly four weeks. The brand boasted that the model-turned-actress had the “most sustainable look” at the Met Gala in a release.

Pop star Charli XCX was just one of the stars who opted to use recycled material in her Met Gala look. The 31-year-old singer wore a white, distressed Marni dress crafted out of t-shirts from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. She told Vogue on the red carpet she wanted to wear a look made from a “staple piece” like the white T-shirt.

Demi Moore on the Met Gala red carpet.
Demi Moore attends the 2024 Met Gala celebrating “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2024 in New York City.

Demi Moore arrived in a jaw-dropping custom dress by British-American designer Harris Reed. The sculptural gown was not only a standout, but also used recycled materials. On the Vogue livestream, Harris explained that the dress was created out of vintage archival wallpaper: “We repurposed it. It’s all 11,000 hours of silk embroidery and then we repurposed it into this Victorian idea of basically her blooming on the carpet and covered in these thorns … this gorgeous flower in the perfect moment of bloom.”

The Dropout star Amanda Seyfried specifically asked her stylist Elizabeth Stewart for a sustainable dress, according to the New York Times. The actress wore a Prada dress created from leftover deadstock fabric to Monday’s gala. Seyfried stressed how important sustainability was to her.

Amanda Seyfried on the Met Gala red carpet.
Amanda Seyfried attends the 2024 Met Gala celebrating “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2024 in New York City.

“If I’m going to go to the Met ball there has to be solar panels on my head, or I’m not going,” she joked to the New York Times.

Tennis star Maria Sharapova wore a bright yellow gown made in collaboration between fashion designer Prabal Gurung and luxury bedding brand Boll & Branch. Both the designer and the brand share “strong guiding principles centered on sustainability,” according to a release. The dress was made with Boll & Branch’s 100 percent organic cotton ethically sourced from family-owned farms in India.

This year’s Costume Institute exhibition theme was “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.” The dress code for the gala was “The Garden of Time,” inspired by a J.G. Ballard short story. Vogue’s Anna Wintour communicated to attendees that ensembles should convey the idea of “fleeting beauty.”

Considering the year’s theme, vintage looks were also a popular option for some stars. The most talked-about archival look was — unsurprisingly — worn by Zendaya. Fresh off a fashion-filled press tour, the Challengers star surprised everyone when she made a second appearance on the Met Gala red carpet in a different ensemble. The look was an archival look from John Galliano’s first haute-couture collection for Givenchy in January 1996.

Zendaya with a flower hat on the Met Gala red carpet stairs.
Zendaya attends the 2024 Met Gala celebrating “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2024 in New York City.

And Anthony wasn’t the only one who opted for “pre-loved” accessories. Outer Banks star Madelyn Cline attended fashion’s biggest night with Tommy Hilfiger and K-Pop supergroup Stray Kids. The 26-year-old actress opted to accessorize with a mini Tommy Hilfiger clutch from eBay that the designer upcycled with fabric from her dress. Cline’s two tennis necklaces and dainty drop earrings were also from eBay.

While there is certainly plenty more work to be done on the sustainability front, the small touches throughout the night undoubtedly sparked conversation on the topic.

This year’s dress code takes its cue from the 1962 short story of the same name by J.G. Ballard, which dovetails nicely with the latest Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute exhibition, Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion, which opens to the public Friday, May 10. The Andrew Bolton-curated show spotlights fragile pieces from the institute’s archives, all viewed through a lens of nature. The exhibit’s coffee table book will be released June 18.

Read more of The Hollywood Reporter’s Met Gala coverage here.

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