Exclusive: Prabal Gurung and Maria Sharapova on Her "Fairytale" Met Gala Dress

Exclusive: Prabal Gurung and Maria Sharapova on Her "Fairytale" Met Gala Dress
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For Maria Sharapova's Met Gala dress, designer Prabal Gurung found inspiration in both this year's Costume Institute exhibit and the evening's dress code.

"I wanted to blend the ideas of sleeping beauty and the garden of time, combining the delicateness and floral elements into a couture gown," Gurung tells Town & Country, revealing that he teamed up with luxury bedding brand Boll & Branch for the look. "The design was inspired by the brightness and softness of flowers blooming and bringing new life, while leaning into that delicate nature and using natural organic cotton from Boll & Branch to really tie into the theme of reawakening fashion. Deconstructing the cotton into strips was almost like pulling the petals off of a flower and reassembling them to create something new."

For her fourth appearance at the Met, Sharapova was thrilled to work with Gurung. "Prabal has designed such beautiful pieces for the Met Gala in previous years, so it felt like a very natural choice and very much in theme with this year’s Met Gala, which is all about reawakening and flowers and the forest," she tells Town & Country. She also accessorized with Chopard jewelry:

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Sharapova at the Met Gala.Jamie McCarthy - Getty Images
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The sketch of SharapovaCourtesy Boll & Branch

This year's Met Gala marks the first time Gurung has used an organic cotton fabric in designing for the red carpet.

"Working with cotton wasn’t something I had done before in the Atelier collection, and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to really be unconventional incorporating a natural fabric for the red carpet," he says. Sharapova adds, "While the theme has a fairytale like aspect to it, it is also about gardens, florals, and our earth."

Gurung also notes that he was "pleasantly surprised" by the experience of working with cotton, specifically calling out the fabric's softness, movement, and texture. "We thought about adding volume, hardness, or letting it fall into its natural drape. But ultimately the idea of piecing it all together won, since this is something that I can’t so easily do with delicate fabrics, like chiffon for example."

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Gurung working on the designs for Sharapova’s gown.Courtesy Boll & Branch

The silhouette of the dress is different than what Sharapova typically wears, "the perfect dress for an occasion like the Met Gala, where you can do a little bit more and it’s the ultimate place to play dress-up." She adds, "It’s somewhat of a fairytale, especially if you’re leaning into the theme of the occasion. So I feel like with the color and the shape of the dress—and there’s a lot of it, which I rarely do—it’ll be really fun to play with."

The two yellow shades incorporated in the gown, too, are out of her comfort zone—despite being a former tennis player. "I usually prefer neutral tones in my everyday life, so it’s nice to explore different colors and wear something that’s unusual and things that you don’t expect from yourself," she says.

Tenniscore was not on her mind as she thought about her dress for the Met Gala, though it's having a moment right now thanks to Challengers. (To be clear, the dress is inspired by flowers in a garden, not tennis balls.) Still, Sharapova is excited about her sport having its moment. "Anything that brings more excitement and attention to tennis makes me incredibly happy," she says. "To see it weave through art and entertainment and culture is wonderful."

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The dress is made from Boll & Branch’s organic cotton fabric.Courtesy Boll & Branch

Speaking to T&C ahead of the evening, both Gurung and Sharpova expressed their excitement for fashion's big night. But Gurung's favorite part of the evening isn't at the museum itself—but rather right before everyone hits the carpet. "I love is hosting all our incredible, inspiring guests together in a suite for a moment of calm and camaraderie before we drive off," Gurung says. "This year, we have a gorgeous suite at the Plaza, and we’re toasting the Garden of Time theme with my favorite fresh and floral Sake Ono cocktails. I feel so lucky to be able to celebrate my favorite nights of the year with such accomplished, creative, and beautiful women of substance."

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