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Why Rihanna’s Iconic Met Gala Dress Was Such A Big Deal

only rihanna could pull this off only someone with rihanna’s unique sense of style and passion for cultural significance could wear a gown this incredible without getting completely lost in all those layers of fabric and fur when the metgala announced its theme in 2015 celebs were challenged with representing another culture in a way that was both beautiful and respectful [Applause] the gorgeous singer and trendsetter from barbados has been wowing the world with her fashion choices since she was only 17 years old from sky-high stilettos to red carpet ball gowns fit for high fashion royalty rihanna is the queen of pushing the limits of trends and styles a fan favorite is still her adam selman sheer

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gown with swarovski crystals and 20s flapper hair talk about bringing her caribbean love for bling to oat couture with her status as a fashion icon of female independence firmly in place it’s no surprise that rihanna continues to amaze media and onlookers at the yearly met gala the star-studded fundraising event takes place every year and each year the organizers provide a different artistically focused theme to attendees to encourage celebs and designers to think about fashion in new and innovative ways in 2019 the guests were given the concept of camp

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notes on fashion prompting kitschy and mismatched prints rihanna sat the year out to work on promotions for her fenty beauty campaigns the year before looked at heavenly bodies fashion and the catholic imagination and examined fashion from a spiritual perspective for this

installation of the gala rihanna was a co-chair for the event alongside human rights champion amal clooney and designer donna karen rihanna played with the heavenly theme in a custom john gagliano gown and hat a look that gave her the title of poprianna by fans her 2017

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com de garcon look was even more artistic the event is in support of the metropolitan museum of arts costume institute in new york city the gala itself however has become so much more than a night for charity it’s a night for art and fashion to come center stage and push the limits

of the imagination 2015 was no different when the met announced the theme titled china through the looking glass which celebrated china’s influence on western and eastern fashion and design the event was in joint collaboration between the department of asian art and the costume institute and the gallery exhibition featured western couture inspired by asian cultures alongside chinese costumes paintings and

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other art many celebs looked amazing on the red carpet in bright red gowns the quintessential shade of chinese culture from a western perspective and endless designs with embroidered florals a striking realization however was that most of the designs gracing the red carpet

were by american and european designers honoring the culture and playing on the met’s chosen theme where were all the chinese designers then comes rihanna as always the talented beauty is not afraid to stand out from the crowd the canary yellow and fur trimmed gown with its

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massive train dazzled the crowds and fellow celebs the design featured a cape with waves of embroidered florals indigenous to ancient chinese culture and fabrics the massive cape is lined with fuchsia fabric matching the bustier that peeks out from the fur sleeves the dress is crafted with a lot of gold thread and fox fur the train was so long that she needed help from the red carpet security as she walked up the steps

to the museum rihanna also later shared that she had struggled to get out of her car when she arrived at the event because of the heavy fabric she told elle that the car exit had to be properly planned out we had to choreograph it she started who sits at the door where does the code go where do i sit not surprising since the weight of the ensemble is over 55 pounds it was a gown fit for an empress in fact rihanna’s gown has an

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imperial name yellow queen and was created by chinese designer gao pai for a show in 2010. how exactly did the incredible gown make its way to the us-based star rihanna told vogue during her red carpet interview it was a miracle how it happened rihanna added that she’d been researching chinese fashion and design online in preparation for the event and stumbled upon it she told vanity fair i’m so in love with this

dress but the train is insane i can’t really walk in it without any help but it’s so worth it i love this dress so much it’s chinese culture and it’s made by beijing based designer gao pai handmade by one chinese woman women it took two years to make pay told the cut the process of the production of the dress it is a transfer of life itself it’s a work by the people of the past who have devoted themselves and their time to the

work although the original look designed by pay included a corset and shoes rihanna decided to add different accessories rihanna rocked a spiral headpiece in gold along with a choker necklace she completed the look with a pair of lace-up strappy pointed stilettos with sparkles and a simple hairstyle that didn’t distract from the luxurious details of the work of art pay later shared that she didn’t mind the star

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reinterpreting the gown in her own way and that she was happy about the attention being brought to chinese culture and culture how brilliant of you to do this thank you over the years rihanna has had an impact not only on the music industry but also on perspectives of other cultures her way of combining the aesthetics of barbados with her style and fashion has allowed a western audience to appreciate and respect

caribbean culture she’s even gone for dreadlocks and rastafarian colors from time to time rihanna’s roots play a big part in her views on the importance of inclusivity the 32 year old entrepreneur grew up in a small middle-class home in barbados with her mother a guyanian immigrant and her father and two brothers her humble upbringing is what allows rihanna to so easily see injustices in society and stand up

for the respect of culture and minorities it’s why the decision to wear a chinese designer to the gala was so obvious to her while the idea eluded so many others rihanna has become an icon and the role model for many caribbean women as a girl whose talent took her from a tiny island to the red carpet of the met she’s not afraid to wear what she wants regardless of trends she makes her own trends just look at the

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exaggerated empire waist puffy gown by giambattista valley that she wore to the 2015 grammy awards with a dress as lavish and ornate as pays design rihanna was the perfect wearer the designer told fashionista only she could wear it not everyone can handle that dress only

women who have the confidence of a queen could wear it rihanna however has moments just like everyone else when nerves and insecurity take over she later revealed to elle magazine that just before stepping onto the red carpet that night she’d suddenly become nervous worried that her outfit was too much she said i remember being so scared to get out of that car because i felt like i’m doing too much she also shared

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that she was driving past the red carpet watching the other beautiful gowns she became self-conscious of her choice people are going to laugh at me this is like too much i thought that rihanna had her car circle the entrance three times before she worked up the courage to step out finally telling herself let’s just go now the star doesn’t regret her decision knowing that her choice made a positive impact more than she

could have expected wearing something so bold always comes with a risk but one that rihanna is aware of and has taken time and time again after the event some unfortunate memes of the star’s gown popped up some compared the yellow couture to an omelet or sesame street’s big bird but rihanna held her head high and remained confident in her decision to showcase the chinese design what rihanna also may not have

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realized when she metaphorically clicked the add to cart button was what wearing the unique gown would mean for the designer at the time pei who’s been called the chanel of china was in the middle of a major brand collaboration with mac cosmetics a 16-piece collection that took three years to complete pay also had two pieces in the mets exhibition although she’d previously worked with high profile asian celebs such

as lee bing bing and zhang ziyi pay had been mostly unheard of to north american stars and fashion enthusiasts luckily all you have to do is get your immaculate designs worn by rihanna and instant fame follows just ask puma after rihanna’s collaboration with the shoe brand puma

saw an increase of 40 percent in u.s sales not to mention the line selling out in mere hours before she reached out to the designer pay admitted that she wasn’t aware of the singer’s massive fan base she told fashionista i didn’t know very much about rihanna paid definitely knows who rihanna is now though and the world knows gao gaupee the yellow gown has become a symbol of pay’s breakthrough into the north american fashion and design market her main goal however was to bring her passion for chinese design into an international

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appreciation pay said to the cut the focus and the attention paid to the dress will make it remembered by the world it’s my responsibility to let the world know china’s tradition and past and to give the splendor of china a new expression i hope that people do know china in this way the designer sees her pieces as expressions of the soul and art pay doesn’t only cater to celebs and red carpets she also believes in everyone

having the chance to wear beautiful garments she stated i see power in the ordinary people and in the desire to own a beautiful dress it brings them a power and energy it isn’t only rihanna’s gown that took years to create pays garments are all labors of love and her piece titled magnificent gold which was featured in the mets exhibition took 50 000 hours while another called blue and porcelain took ten thousand

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hours that’s a true investment into the art a 2019 exhibition at the asian civilizations museum titled galpe chinese art and culture featured many of the designers masterpieces including the yellow queen the exhibition showcased pay’s unique blend of traditional and contemporary

chinese designs juxtaposed with ancient pieces and clothing from china’s past pay’s latest collection from spring 2020 draws inspiration from the himalayan mountains and utilizes antique textiles reworking the designs into modern looks we all know what happens within cancel culture when a celeb makes the mistake of supporting something not so politically correct but with rihanna’s chinese dress the outfit was an act of showcasing another culture’s design in a respectful way and came at a very important time the entertainment industry has a history of

running into issues regarding cultural appropriation and a lack of diversity in people and cultures being represented the century-long oscars were almost canceled when many artists protested the event in 2015 after nominations displayed a lack of by poc actors and directors this movement was one of many over the past few years that have directed the media’s attention towards the inclusion of more diversity and

entertainment at the met gala in 2015 celebs and stars were the history of another country when the theme was first announced some worried that the american-based event would be full of orientalism the negative appropriation of asian culture luckily most stars at the event were able to respectfully represent and interpret chinese history culture and culture without being offensive or insensitive the exhibit’s curator andrew bolton told vogue that the point of the theme is to recast orientalism in a more positive light as an exchange of ideas and an

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honored source of influence bolton claimed that the event was a reinterpretation of previously negative stereotypes of chinese culture and certain design elements such as lotus blossoms and dragons the museum offered a nod to art and artifacts from the past in the exhibit including an emperor’s robe on loan from the beijing’s palace museum the met however failed to celebrate the modern and contemporary designers working in chinese fashion as we speak with gaopei being one of the only asian designers gracing the carpet surely there could have been more work done to include established and up-and-coming chinese co-chairs such as vivienne tam and zhang cuonger or artists like

eiwei wei other than rihanna’s choice of gown it was a missed opportunity by many stars with the help of celebs like rihanna who love to showcase designers of color that’s exactly where the future of fashion is headed now fans and the public are quick to gently call in the politically incorrect actions of those with major influence around the world as a society we move forward and learn as hollywood and the

regular population alike strive for a world that’s more inclusive of cultural diversity there can also be more focus on supporting the black community and other minorities especially in art fashion and entertainment rihanna brought an elegance to wearing a piece of someone else’s culture especially a design like this that holds significance to many people’s history that’s why rihanna was praised for her choice of

gown rihanna’s 2015 carpet look by galpe went down in history as one of the most iconic gowns to ever grace the met gala steps influencing many other stars to look beyond the popular american and european designers on their regular rotations for galas premieres and events for

example beyonce has become a fan of ivorian designer rebecca zoro helping the west african kocherier break out onto the international stage but rihanna’s work in inclusion and diversity in the industry didn’t stop in 2015. rihanna’s line of cosmetics and skin care products fenty beauty tore down barriers when she first released the beauty products in 2017.

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