A Look Back at Last Year’s Met Ball with Lily Aldridge

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There are two kinds of guests who attend the Met Ball: those who address the topic of the exhibit with their outfits, and those who completely ignore it. “We always like to have fun and do a nod to the theme,” said Lily Aldridge, who paid tribute to this year’s honoree, Rei Kawakubo, in a custom white Ralph Lauren gown paired with thigh high red Balenciaga boots. “The optic white and red are such classic Comme [des Garçons] colors. And I love how unexpected the striking boot feels underneath a beautiful gown,” she said while getting ready for the annual Costume Institute gala (it’s her seventh or eighth time attending—she lost track).

For the past four years, the supermodel-mom and Victoria’s Secret angel has collaborated on her Met look with the same core team: stylists Meredith Melling Burke and Valerie Boster (founders of Lamarque NYC), plus her go-to hair-makeup duo, Bryce Scarlett and Quinn Murphy. After chatting about ideas over the past few weeks in a group text, Aldridge and her team went into the big day with her outfit, accessories, and Bulgari jewels planned.

“But we’re still trying to figure out the beauty,” she said, perched in a director’s chair at the Carlyle Hotel. “Is it a piece of fabric wrapped around my face? Is it a glittery red lip? We’re trying to nail down that ‘thing’ that will make a statement.” They decided on a swath of tulle knotted around her neck like a bandana. After trying a white mesh option, Aldridge and co. dismissed it as too “bridal,” opting for a more dramatic shade of fuchsia instead.

With the touch of tulle as her primary beauty statement, Aldridge’s crew kept her hair simple (thick, straight, pulled out of the way), and gave her natural, dewy skin using Giorgio Armani cosmetics. They created extra bold brows by filling them in with the darkest pencil in Murphy’s kit, then adding a swipe of liquid liner for a strong, sculptural effect.

Aldridge said no to mascara, but asked Murphy to leave her some for the afterparty. “At first I wasn’t going to go out this year, and then I was like, ‘Can you move my flight?’ FOMO started kicking in,” said Aldridge, whose favorite Met Ball tradition is “meeting up in the girls’ bathroom. It’s kind of where you run into everyone and take selfies and bring your cocktail in there. It just becomes the greatest hang,” she says.

Another favorite Met Ball tradition? “I always have a pre-Met pasta, a really big pasta dish beforehand because once everything gets started, you get swept away in it,” she says. Aldridge also listens to rock ’n’ roll to get in the mood (her current playlist includes LCD Soundsystem, the Eagles, and Disney’s Moana soundtrack, a favorite of her daughter’s). This year she was a little nervous about hitting the red carpet solo. “I have no date tonight. I am dateless. But Ralph Lauren did send me a bus to take me there because my gown has a long train,” she laughed. “It will be quite an entrance. I’m going to be taking down tables left and right.”

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