How a Met Gala Dress Is Made
The first Sies Marjan show took place on the top floor of a strange and random building in downtown New York; not in the epicenter of where most other shows take place. I remember getting chills as asymmetrical dresses, skirts, and overly textured coats walked the runway, and I very dramatically grabbed the PR person afterward and said, “THIS was magic.”
Full disclosure: I’m a huge Sander Lak fan. I love wearing his clothes, I love seeing his clothes, and I love talking about his clothes. So when I found out that he’d be attending this year's Met Gala, I was thrilled. Of course, you can never see one too many old-school designers on that red carpet, but seeing someone as bold and talented as Lak, makes the night all the more exciting.
Lak took an Angel to the religiously-themed event; Doutzen Kroes. “It's a nice thing we're from the same country,” Lak told me in his showroom days before the Gala about his decision to bring her as his guest. “She’s an incredibly easy person to work with. That’s very helpful, Especially for the first time. She completely trusted me to do whatever I thought was right. That’s not always the case.”
VIDEO: See All the High-Fashion Red Carpet Looks from the 2018 Met Gala
Here, Lak takes us through the making of Kroes’s Met Gala dress:
"Reds and purple are two very Catholic colors," Lak says. "There’s a lot of costumes with red and purple for the people that are kind of in charge of Christianity. There’s a lot of imagery of Maria and the angels and purple colors that come from that area. It made a lot of sense to put that all together. The degrade we did last season, which is nice because, in the end, it needs to be a Sies Marjan dress. It’s for the Met, and it’s a one-off, and it's within a theme, but it also needs to be within our collection. Otherwise, what’s the point?"
“I didn't think about the controversies,” Lak says regarding this year’s theme. “This dress, we already did a version of this dress in the show, which was completely not in a religious theme, but we could see it if we extend it and we make that a scarf and we make that a train, it could become that kind of dress. I think that was also very important for me. To make sure that it links to what we have done and what we are doing or what we stand for because to just do a costume like, you know, like we're enough costume designers, we are a fashion house and we make clothes and it needs to still stay within that world.
On the inspiration
Across from where I interview Lak rests a mood board with images of everything from illustrations of Mary Magdalene to Kylie Minogue, and of course, Lak's own Spring 2018 ready to wear collection.
"The starting point was definitely the Spring collection," he says "We just looked at everything and said what dress or what item that we did, can we make fits within a theme? This dress, which was from the last collection made the most sense."
"Once we knew that Doutzen wanted to do it, we kept thinking about her being a Victoria's Secret Angel," the designer says, "She has a very angelic face. We wanted to see what would she be like if she was a Sies Marjan Angel. What would that be like? We look at a lot of pictures of Maria and of angels and of this kind of holy very virgin-esque imagery. But that combined with this amazing sex appeal. Because we also wanted to make sure she didn’t look like, well, a virgin, because she isn’t! She has two kids! That’s why opened up the back."
On His Date
"She's just an amazing ambassador for what the new version of a supermodel is. She's just the woman that you want to be."
On Designing for Red Carpet vs. Customers
"The biggest differences is that there is no limitation," Lak says. "You can paste anything on, or just tape it on the body. That's why I never really like red carpet because it's not real. It's a fantasy, but just a very unreal fantasy. But yeah, there's a lot of pasting and molding it to the body, which obviously for actual customers and actual clothes in stores doesn't work at all"