From Tems’ monochrome mermaid-like corset dress to Imaan Hammam standing tall in Standing Ground, here’s a rundown of how African stars slayed in style at the 2023 Met Gala.
By Hope Ibiale
The Met Gala, one of the most anticipated fashion events of the year, is known for its over-the-top themes and eye-catching celebrity outfits. From intricate gowns to daring suits, the Met Gala showcases the best and most creative in the fashion world. This year, the annual affair celebrated the exhibition, “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty.” The Gala honoured the legacy of Karl Lagerfeld—the late designer who helmed fashion houses such as Chanel, Fendi, and his eponymous line. He also raised funds for The Met’s Costume Institute. The famous fashion event, often dubbed the “Super Bowl of fashion,” has created some of the past decade’s most memorable celebrity red carpet-looks.
In its latest edition, we witnessed some of our favourite African stars and celebrities of African descent bring their unique flair to the red carpet. From Tems’ monochrome mermaid-like corset dress to Imaan Hammam standing tall in Standing Ground, here’s a rundown of how African stars slayed in style at the Gala.
Grammy-award winning singer, music producer, and songwriter, Temilade Openiyi, popularly known as Tems, made her debut at the Met Gala in a custom Robert Wun dress which she complemented with Melissa Kaye jewellery, an avantgarde feathered headpiece, and elbow-length gloves. The design, brought to life by Tems’ stylist, Dunsin Wright, and Archivist, Kim Russell, showcased Tems’ unique fashion style and placed her as one of the fashion stars to watch out for.
Another African star who debuted his Met Gala is the Grammy-award-winning Afrofusion artiste, Burna Boy. Burna made a stylish appearance in a matching black and blue, slightly checkered Burberry ensemble for his first Met Gala look. The cape attached to the outfit gave Burna a regal look.
Nigerian-British rapper Skepta also debuted at the 2023 Met Gala in one of Daniel Lee’s Burberry collection outfits. The rapper, DJ, and fashion brand founder also paired the outfit with a custom Burberry duck print tweed blanket and black studded shoes.
Sudanese-Egyptian model Imaan Hammam also debuted her Met Gala in a stunning Michael Stewart-designed Standing Ground body-skimming white gown. The outfit, which pays homage to Karl Lagerfeld’s signature designs, had a pearl-like waistline that accentuated Hammam’s figure.
After making her debut Met Gala in 2018, Sudanese-Australian model, Adut Akech, has once again made a fashion statement in a stunning tiered tulle monochromatic gown by Carolina Herrera. The fitted strapless bodice was detailed with dazzling pearl and diamond embellishments, while her hair was styled in a short bob. Like most outfits at the 2023 Met Gala, Akech collaborated with Carolina Herrera’s creative director, Wes Gordon, to pay tribute to Karl Lagerfeld.
For his second appearance at the Met Gala, British-Ghanaian rapper, Stormzy made heads turn with a rose print jacquard suit from Burberry. The look, which matched the outfits worn by Burna Boy and Skepta, has caused the artistes to be nicknamed the “West African Brotherhood” by excited fans.
This year’s Met Gala has been called the year of embellishments. The name is not far-fetched as celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Lizzo, Doja Cat, and Africa’s own Michaela Coel made fashion statements with embellished outfits. For the Ghanaian-British filmmaker, she dazzled in a gilded semi-sheer Schiaparelli gown styled by Georgia Medley. The long-sleeved dress featured 130,000 crystals embroidered onto a dark brown silhouette and star-shaped pearl and gold leaf adornments across the chest, abs, and arms. Coel paired the look with a diamond-and-gold necklace, chunky gold earrings and rings, and an Emefa Cole’s coral branch headpiece.
Sierra Leone-Ghanaian actor and musician, Idris Elba hit the Met Gala red carpet in a custom Gucci look that featured a long white blazer and patent leather dress shoes. The actor complemented the suit with a matching waistcoat and a button-down shirt.
In some fashion magazines that documented the 2023 Met Gala, most of them named South Sudanese model, Anok Yai, one of the best-dressed attendees at the fashion event. This is no surprise as the popular model stunned in her Prabal Gurung silver strapless sequined dress. Anok paired the mini dress with a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, a pair of sunglasses, and sheer elbow-length gloves.
South African comedian Trevor Noah, a regular attendee of the Met Gala, made a statement with his Thom Browne-designed suit. The American designer, known for challenging and modernising today’s uniform, also styled stars like Jenna Ortega, Teyana Taylor, Pusha T, and many others. Noah’s look was elevated with a fresh set of cornrows.
Hope Ibiale is a writer and a book lover. She is currently a student of Communication and Language Arts at the University of Ibadan.