Jourdan Dunn Helped Design Her Met Gala Dress

It’s covered in bows and inspired by menswear.

By: Laurel Pantin
Photography: Jake Rosenberg

In the last three years, supermodel Jourdan Dunn has worn Balmain, Burberry, and Topshop to the Met Gala. If anyone embraces the high-low mix, proving that *drama* and *glamour* don’t have to come at exorbitant costs, it’s Jourdan. This year, she’s driving that point home, wearing H&M for the night that has been called “the Super Bowl of fashion.”

This season presented a bit of an extra challenge—the exhibition is honoring Rei Kawakubo, the legendary Comme des Garçons visionary whose creations are….editorial, to say the least. But Pernilla Wohlfahrt, head of design and creative director for H&M, was excited by the idea of creating an original design inspired by her work.

Lucky for us, we were invited to be a fly on the wall for Dunn’s final fitting the day before the big event. Here’s what she had to say about the look and how it all came together.


On her dream MET Costume Institute Exhibition:

“Omg! I honestly don’t know. I wouldn’t even know how to start the process of research to answer that question. Simply because every year I am impressed with the curation of the Gala. What I would think wouldn’t interest me ends up being the exhibit I love the most!” —Jourdan Dunn

“I have so much respect for the H&M brand. I have been shopping and working for them since I was a teenager. I love what they stand for, what they create, and how they operate from a business perspective. I knew they would have fun with the theme of the Met this year and create something beautiful.” —JD

“My dress truly embodies the Comme des style. The H&M team took time to create something that celebrates [Rei Kawakubo’s] unique vision and style.” —JD

“I sent some inspiration images from Comme des Garçons collections, which they used to create this dress. The H&M team did a great job designing a dress that was very much my style but also a vision of Comme! It didn’t require a lot of comments or changes. They were spot-on!” —JD

“I always love seeing the dress for the first time when the sketch comes to life. It’s a reminder that design really is an art form!” —JD

“Rei Kawakubo is one of the most innovative and influential contemporary designers and also a great inspiration. For this unique look, our design pays homage to two of Kawakubo’s design signatures: her love for bows in all various shapes, and her ways of turning the inside out by showing the process of garment making. Our design is a body-skimming dress that plays with the theme of deconstructing and subverting traditional garments, an off-white top made of silk taffeta shirting appearing as if falling off a calico bodice, and with a skirt of deconstructed navy pinstripe suiting that was cut asymmetrically and into bows.” —Pernilla Wohlfahrt

“This dress is a symphony of draped bows, one of Kawakubo’s signature elements. Tying a bow may seem simple, almost a childlike task, but to find the right angle, shape, and drape for a bow takes time. We have been working on this design for quite some time and finally we are able to present this lovely tribute to menswear tailoring as well as red carpet elegance.” —PW

“Making the look has been such a fantastic experience! There’s a tremendous treasure in Rei Kawakubo’s work, almost an overwhelming richness. The most challenging and exciting part of the design process was finding creative ways to emerge the avant-garde with the glamour of a red carpet. All our designs are made to honor Rei Kawakubo’s work while giving them a hint of glimmer but still staying to true to Kawakubo’s rich aesthetics.” —PW

“We always love working with Jourdan Dunn, as she is such an inspiring and great ambassador for H&M. We feel very honored that she wanted to join us this year.” —PW