If a fashion obsessive were to close their eyes and dream up a fantasy Met Gala experience, it would probably look a lot like Wendy Yu’s. The founder and CEO of Yu Holdings—a platformed designed to strengthen ties between China, where Yu is from, and the rest of the world through investments, technology, philanthropy, and the arts—Yu splits her time between Hong Kong, Shanghai, and London. Her interest in fashion led her to dedicate a sector of her business to the industry, aptly titled Yu Fashion, and her most recent power play was gifting The Metropolitan Museum of Art an endowment for the position of Curator in Charge of the Costume Institute; that role belongs to longtime Met curator Andrew Bolton.
When you wield this much influence, you don’t just walk into a boutique and buy your Met Gala dress off the rack. You don’t even dial a stylist who can get you one straight off the runway. Instead, you have a chat with Anna Wintour, decide that you *must* wear Oscar de la Renta, then watch Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim sketch you a gown that their team will spend weeks making by hand. Of course, you’ll need to document this, so you invite Coveteur to your fitting. (Great decision!)
Ahead, Yu walks us through the making of her custom Oscar de la Renta gown, and what goes through her head when she hits the red carpet.
“I’m wearing Anna Hu Haute Joaillerie. Anna is a very talented friend of mine who has been commissioned and worn by the likes of Madonna to the Met Gala previously. Inspired by this year’s Met Gala theme, Anna designed [some pieces for me] and hand-selected the best quality rubellite, a gemstone that has the deepest connection to both Eastern and Western royalty, emperors and empresses, who are also religious leaders in their countries. In Chinese history, Empress Dowager Cixi is known to be extremely fond of rubellite, which represents power and authority. While in Russian history, the famous Empress of Russia—the longest-ruling female leader, Catherine the Great—also owned jewels in rubellite as a token of peace offered by other countries.”