As the annual 2024 Met Gala unfolded last night, paying homage to the Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion exhibition, which aims to bring historical garments back to life, anticipation ran high for celebrities to resurrect iconic pieces from designer archives for the green carpet. But expectations were somewhat dashed as few actually followed through on the concept.

Instead, attendees seemed to take the whimsical dress code, “The Garden of Time,” based on J.G. Ballard’s dystopian short story, quite literally, with some sartorial themes becoming clear. Among them: Floral prints and embellishments (groundbreaking?), towering headpieces and barely-there outfits suitable for the Garden of Eden – all of which felt more cosplay than high fashion chic.

Yet, Nicole Kidman stood out amongst the noise for her interpretation of the theme. She graced the green carpet in a (carbon copy) recreation of Cristobal Balenciaga’s iconic Flamenco-Inspired couture gown from the 1950s, a timeless piece, immortalised by Richard Avedon in the April 1951 issue of Harper’s Bazaar. According to Vogue, “The recreation involved an astonishing 800 hours of hand embroidery, with the meticulous application of 3,000 feathers using 150 metres of silk organza” – Nicole understood the assignment!

No one quite does archive John Galliano better than John Galliano. After his landmark couture show back in January, for the 2024 Met Gala, the designer referenced his past collections to create red carpet-ready looks. Inspired by a Dior haute couture spring/summer 1999 Yevonde cellophane gown, Galliano dressed Zendaya in a bravado peacock blue and emerald green organza ballgown, decorated with fruits and leaves. Under the red carpet lights, the dress looked a little cheaply made but the sentiment was still there.

Kim K channelled granny chic, with silver locks to complement her cinched silver corset and sheer lace dress, draped with a cashmere cardi for extra comfort. Upon closer inspection, this look referenced Galliano’s autumn/winter 1997 Dior haute couture “Mata Hari” show, which featured a series of garments made by the jeweller Goossens. Fragments of lace were plated with silver and then connected with fine chain links, some further embellished with crystals or semi-precious gemstones.

For Lana del Rey’s grand return to the green carpet, her first time attending since 2018, Seán McGirr was inspired by a McQueen look from nearly two decades ago, albeit nowhere near as well executed as the masterstroke of the late Lee McQueen, the natural hawthorn branch headdress was an interesting touch. Following Seán’s poorly received debut, it's positive to see celebrities endorsing the young designer reimagined McQueen – hopefully this will stand him in good stead for the Spring/Summer 2025 shows in a few months.