The Outfits the AnOther Team Want to See at the Met Gala

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Christian Dior Spring/Summer 1998 couture
Christian Dior Spring/Summer 1998 couturePhoto by Giovanni Giannoni/WWD/Penske Media via Getty Images

Ahead of Monday’s garden-themed Met Gala, the AnOther team shares what we hope to see on the red carpet

We’re a few days away from the first Monday in May, and fashion fans are exercising their thumbs ready to scroll the lengthy photo listicles of the event’s arrivals. The Met Gala is arguably the biggest fashion event of the year, and for 2024, the star-studded list of guests have been encouraged to dress according to the theme ‘The Garden of Time’. The event celebrates the opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new exhibition, Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion, which will showcase approximately 250 rare items of clothing that are too fragile to ever be worn again. 

The Gala’s theme takes inspiration from the 1962 short story by JG Ballard of the same name, which explores the futile human desire to control or reverse the passage of time, underscoring the transience of beauty, and ultimately highlighting that all efforts to maintain them are fleeting in the face of entropy and decay. It’s a thought-provoking concept bound to excite celebs and their stylists alike, but they’re not the only ones. 

Below, we asked the AnOther team what they hope to see on this year’s Met Gala red carpet. 

Susannah Frankel, Editor-in-Chief

The flower dress was the finale of Sarabande, Lee Alexander McQueen’s Spring/Summer 2007 Paris show. The flowers were all real and they dropped as Tanya Dziahileva, the model wearing the dress, walked. No one expected that to happen. It was spontaneous and beautiful. 

Lee gave us this quote for the collections report, first published in the magazine that same season: “There was a fragility to this collection, the idea that nothing is permanent, that beauty disappears. I was inspired by Marc Quinn’s ice garden, the flowers were frozen, they break when they melt and fall to the floor. I was also thinking about Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon and the Spanish Revolution, a very romantic period but one characterised by an underlying evil. There was a sadness to it, almost like a bullfight, where there’s a certain beauty in the act but savagery in the death. I looked at Picasso, Goya, all the Spanish artists, and at their personal relationships in particular. That’s a romantic place but there’s a sinister side to it that gives it an edge.”

Elodie Saint-Louis, Contributing Writer,

It’s the same choice for me. The dress is made from hundreds of flowers plucked and preserved at their peak, sumptuous hydrangeas and roses over a silk organza bodice. It encapsulates the mad fervour of spring, that season when the dance between life and death is most apparent. McQueen knew this dance well; his collections played with fecundity and decay, generation and destruction. Regarding the dress, he said, “I used flowers because they die.” 

Alexander Fury, Fashion Features Director

Florals, for a garden? Groundbreaking, I know, but this dress from John Galliano’s Autumn/Winter 1995 collection is one I adore and the flower motif connects perfectly with the garden of time. In a sense, it is a sleeping beauty too as it’s archival, held in the Metropolitan Museum’s own collection, and was worn by Anna Wintour to the Met Gala back in 1995. Only five were ever made – and it’s a technical tour de force, all seams hidden inside the form of the flower scrolling around the body. Blah blah blah. But really, I’m choosing it because it’s my favourite dress ever, and seeing a picture of it in a magazine is the reason I fell in love with fashion in the first place.

Katie Shillingford, Fashion Director

I would love to see Prada Spring/Summer 2008. I think this was the first Prada show I ever attended and it’s probably one of my all-time favourite Prada collections and shows. I bought two pairs of the shoes and wore one pair so much they broke.

I love the flower fairy nymphs. At the show, there was a projection of illustrations by James Jean all over the walls so the flowers and vines were growing all over and behind the catwalk, and an accompanying animated film, Trembled Blossoms. The collection had a lot of pyjama suits covered with the same illustrations but also big full skirts, and the heels of the shoes were like stalks with flowers and sort of vines for straps. It was an amazing mix of printed chiffon but gold leather and knits too, chunky tights and strappy shoes. It was both ethereal as well as psychedelic with nods to late 60s/70s Ossie Clark. It would be fantastic if someone wore that pyjama suit worn by Sasha Pivovarova in the show.

Claire Marie Healy, Contributing Editor,

Rodarte makes sense to me. There are more obvious floral references in the Kate and Laura Mulleavy archive – like the 2012 Van Gogh Sunflower mash-up dresses. But I think the theme would especially suit their weirdo early collections, with dresses-as-organic matter: something gothic and fungal that grows on the body, like a dress from Spring 2010.

Madeleine Rothery, Contributing Editor,

I’d love to see a piece from Comme des Garçons’s Autumn/Winter 2023 collection A Return to Source – ideally either the pink or red bulbous flower-padded dresses, complete with the Valeriane Venance-designed headpieces. Kawakubo’s flowers are an obvious reference to the theme, but the collection as a whole hits at the ghoulish heart of JG Ballard’s original short story. Just as Ballard was concerned with history’s never-ending cycles of destruction and construction, Kawakubo said of the collection that it was about going to back to the beginning, our original source, and starting again. 

Orla Brennan, Contributing Editor,

I have to confess I have not read JG Ballard’s The Garden in Time, but I have brushed up on its psychological themes with the help of trusty Google. Reading about it reminded me of Alexander McQueen’s Spring/Summer 2001 show, titled Voss after a small Norwegian district known for its wild natural beauty. I was only six when it took place, but it’s the stuff of fashion lore that attendees were crammed around a huge mirrored box and forced to look at their own reflections for almost two hours before the show started. After the wait, the glass magically became see-through, and models dressed in bird-inspired creations enacted a tormented performance that would become one of McQueen’s most memorable spectacles. 

Beyond its themes of mental health, nature, and the dark side of beauty, the clothes are just really amazing. It’s McQueen drama at its best; warrior-like shapes, plumes of intense feathers and moody colours (plus I love the cute little skull caps). I’m always most interested in designs that have little darkness to them, and I would just love to see someone slay a look from this collection among the sparkles and ruffles on the red carpet.

George Pistachio, Social Media Editor,

There’s so much gorgeous lore surrounding Italian heiress Marchesa Luisa Casati, it’s hard to tell what’s true and false. What is clear though is she was probably one of the most fabulously dressed women to ever exist – so fabulous that her extravagant wardrobe and lifestyle eventually led to her financial ruin. Did somebody say, iconique?

She walked around with lions on a leash and wore live snakes as jewellery before Britney was even a twinkle in her father’s eye. At this point she’s been an inspiration to a dizzying amount of brilliant designers – from Karl Lagerfeld, Alexander McQueen to Dries Van Noten – so there’s a wealth of potential looks to pull inspired by this fabulous woman. My personal favourite is the Christian Dior Spring/Summer 1998 couture collection at the Palais Garnier, designed by John Galliano, with those fab tulle hats and hoop skirt gowns. Failing that, I’m hoping an archive rummage will unearth her real wardrobe. Bring the silks, velvets, headdresses and furs! And bring the theatrics, I beg!  

Elise By Olsen, Contributing Editor,

I’m not big on flowers, but I’m currently intrigued by paper as textiles and natural fibre. Issey Miyake once said that he believed paper would be the only fibre still available in 50 years time. I recently got to try on Hussein Chalayan’s airmail dress from 1999 at the Atopos cvc archive in Athens. It’s truly a masterpiece: a beautiful paper garment, sleeping inside its envelope pouch, foldable into a dress. The envelope is attached to the dress. One can write or draw on the dress, and customise it with scissors for a perfect fit. 

The story goes that a young Chalayan sent lots of letters to his beloved mom back in Cyprus when he went to school to study fashion design in London. One day he made this piece; part love letter, part dress. It moves interestingly when worn, it has a distinct sound from the paper creasing, and smell. For me, it speaks to the idea of preservation, disposability, decay. A lot of fashion is found in the trash. And fashion and gardening have an obvious parallel: endless cycles of creation and destruction. I’d like to see the airmail dress worn at the 2024 Met Gala, maybe with his saucer light hat from the Airborne collection in 2007, as a gardening hat … 

Sophie Bew, Editor

For the A-listers who like to flash a bit of bod (you may be able to think of a few) – I would like to see this blousey bridal finale look from the Spring 1999 couture collection by Yves Saint Laurent, the man himself. Though it will take quite the personality to beat Laetetia Casta in this one.