Spotlight: Letitia Wright

Fashion

This year’s theme, focussing specifically on “catholic imagination”, did not allow for significant leeway when it came to its interpretations — almost automatically, one thinks of the Vatican and Europe when one thinks of Catholicism. Indeed, the response of most attendees of the Gala seemed to be rather eurocentric — even Rihanna was dressed (albeit splendidly) as the Pope. Some others took the angels/demons approach with their all-white or all-black garments, often with the inclusion of lace, feathers, mesh. All worthy and valid interpretations, but perhaps somewhat expected, dare I say almost like something one would wear to a costume party — which, of course, the Met Gala is, however with most of the attendees budget, one would hope for something more extravagant and daring in its take on the theme. Especially when said theme relates to religion.

Her gown, inspired by Ethiopian pastors and more generally Ethiopian christian tradition, has stood out among masses of blacks and whites, lace skirts and ‘religious’ headpieces.

It is surprising, that only one person took a more inventive and personal approach to dressing for the event — the result, however, is extraordinary. Letitia Wright wore a dress by Coach, inspired both by their fall collection and, more notably, by Ethiopian Christianity. Her gown, inspired by Ethiopian pastors and more generally Ethiopian christian tradition, has stood out among masses of blacks and whites, lace skirts and ‘religious’ headpieces. Ethiopian crosses are embroidered on the bodice and the hem of the dress — more than a nod to her heritage. Moreover, the actress requested her favourite bible scripture, “you are the light of the world”, to be embroidered on the back of the dress. The golden cloth and embroidered details are typical of Ethiopian pastors’ dress, and Wright’s hair is done up in a traditional Ethiopian hairstyle.

Hers has been called a “refreshing take on the theme” and the actress herself admitted that she “wanted to be a bit of a rebel and take the Met theme for this year and explore it a bit differently” — indeed, she has done just that. However, this more personal interpretation has not been paid as much attention on social media and the like (perhaps due to Wright’s popularity relative to other attendees with greater social media followings), though it should, in the writer’s opinion, be more celebrated as an innovative take on the theme. On the other hand, it is equally shocking that this non-eurocentric interpretation came as a surprise at all. Perhaps, this will serve not only as inspiration to future Met Gala goers to tackle a theme in a more personal and imaginative way; but also as a reminder to the rest of us of the eurocentricity of the event and of the takes on its theme, another reminder of the fact that there is still a long way to go in diversity in the fashion industry and its followers.