Sarah Jessica Parker’s Met Gala Look Paid Tribute to Black Designer
- Sarah Jessica Parker is known for her Met Gala fashion.
- This year, Parker worked with designer Christopher John Rogers on her look.
- The gown honored the first Black female fashion designer in the White House, Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley.
Sarah Jessica Parker has built up a reputation for her Met Gala red carpet fashion. For this year’s event, which took place on May 2 in New York City, Parker once again was on-theme for gilded glamour.
This time, the “And Just Like That …” star worked with designer Christopher John Rogers to create a look that paid homage to Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, the first Black female fashion designer to work at the White House, according to Vogue.
“She was a smaller designer, and someone that people don’t really talk about,” Rogers told Vogue. “The idea was to highlight the dichotomy between the extravagant, over-the-top proportions of the time period, and the disparity that was happening in America at the time.”
First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln hired Keckley — a former slave who bought back her freedom for $1,200, according to Smithsonian Magazine — in 1861 to be her dressmaker, personal dresser, and confidante. At the time, the designer was building up her dress-making business and a network of clients in Washington DC, Smithsonian reported.
Rogers and Parker used a multi-piece dress of Keckley’s creation, found in the Chicago History Museum’s collection, as a jumping-off point for this year’s Met Gala design. The outfit was made up of a gingham-plaid cape and gown, which served as the inspiration for this 2022 look.
“We took the idea of a small gingham and really blew it up,” Rogers told Vogue. “We also exaggerated the silhouette.”
He used the design to create a fitted top and a ballgown skirt. The look was made with silk faille, moire, and taffeta, and featured Swarovski-crystal buttons, Vogue reported.
Rogers told Vogue that he loved collaborating with Parker because of how creative and adaptable she is. He said his favorite part of the design process is when things come together and shift organically, which Parker was on board with.
“She allowed me to lean into those happy accidents,” he said, which included adding ” a sliver of skin” on the sleeve and a lower-than-anticipated neckline.
In a video for Vogue shared on April 25, Parker talked about how dressing for this Costume Institute benefit is so time-consuming and joyfully exhausting.
“All these people came together and worked really really hard to put together an extraordinary exhibit,” she said of those who help create the actual exhibit inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “It all is like academic and historical and it’s fashion … It is an assignment and you should interpret it and it should be labor-intensive and it should be challenging.”
This year’s theme celebrated the Gilded Age, a time in American history infamous for enormous wealth inequality among Americans and for harsh working conditions in industrial workplaces occupied by newly emancipated Black people and millions of immigrants, Insider previously reported. Parker and Rogers weren’t the only ones to pay tribute to some of the marginalized communities who weren’t part of the glamorous society during that era — celebrities including Gabrielle Union, Questlove, and Riz Ahmed all made mention of their outfit tributes in Vogue red-carpet interviews.
Along with the gown, Parker wore a custom headpiece by Phillip Treacy that was “inspired by the opulence and decadence of the Gilded Age,” the milliner told Vogue. The actress also wore shoes by her own namesake label SJP Collection, according to Footwear News.