How Gabrielle Union's Water-Inspired 2024 Met Gala Look Came Together

<p>Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images</p>

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

If you're searching for a floral reference in Gabrielle Union's 2024 Met Gala dress by Michael Kors, you'll find yourself playing a losing game of Where's Waldo. She and stylist Thomas Christos Kikis "wanted to go a little bit deeper, beyond just the floral elements" for the "Garden of Time" theme.

"Ultimately, I was inspired by the idea that beauty and creativity, in many ways, can protect us, even if it's temporarily from the worst parts of our human experience and what we're dealing with," he tells Fashionista. "It was kind of this esoteric concept that we delved into and I was like, 'Okay, there are a lot of floral elements, and I know a lot of people are going to go in that direction.'"

This guided them to instead interpret another element crucial to gardens: water.

"Every year, we like to interpret the theme in a way that feels close to not only the designer — which is always our primary approach and concern, that we're doing justice to the designer's vision," Kikis says. "But also, that it mirrors what Gabrielle stands for, what she's feeling and what her year has felt like."

The gown — dripping with hand-embroidered sequins meticulously placed in an ombré effect — took 9,500 hours and 12 artisans to complete, and, to Kikis, "embodies water, fluidity and ongoing progress and change." Sparkling Tiffany & Co. jewelry adds extra glamour to the ensemble.

<p>Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images</p>

Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

The process began as early as last December. Union and Kikis referenced the intricate embroideries, beadwork and floral embellishments of previous Michael Kors collections, but ultimately scrapped it in favor of taking the elemental approach. Union decided on the water theme, and then handed the reins to the rest of the team.

"She's such a great collaborator and doesn't really overanalyze — as long as the fit is there and it's flattering and she [can point out] certain things that she's more comfortable wearing," Kikis says of Union. "But we've been wearing Michael Kors for so many years, and she just adores him. She knows, in terms of fit and all that, she's in good hands."

<p>Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images</p>

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Despite the intricate handiwork that went into the look, the Michael Kors gown still has a feeling of ease, which is a core component of Union's personal style.

"She's not that girl to fuss," Kikis says of Union, noting that she enjoys wearing dramatic outfits that she can also have fun in and "don't constrain her." Balancing drama and comfort is something Kors navigates easily, especially as a brand that "shows off a woman's figure in such a chic way and in a classic form."

At the end of the night, Kikis hopes Union has fun, is "comfortable" and "loves it as much as [he] and Michael [do]." But Kikis' ultimate goal for the evening? That "Dwyane [Wade] loves it."

"If I get Dwyane's stamp of approval… If she walks out of the room and he has some very reactive comment, then I know I'm doing a good job," he says.

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