Cardi opted for a look that accentuated her maternity curves—plunging neckline, bump-hugging waist, and a daring leg reveal.
This year, though, the singer went for something much more reserved. She showed up to the Met Gala red carpet completely covered up, head to toe, in an anatomically accurate, oxblood custom Thom Browne gown that extends outward in concentric circles for about ten feet. Made from tulle and silk organza and filled with down, the hand-embroidered dress is also decorated with 30,000 burned and dyed coque feathers. It took 35 people more than 2,000 hours to create, and it’s finished off with a bugle-bead headpiece that Browne made in collaboration with Stephen Jones.
Browne says he was inspired first and foremost by the female form. “I designed this dress for Cardi specifically because she has the ultimate beauty in a woman’s body, and that is what the dress is about for me: taking advantage of that beauty,” the designer says. In spite of its full coverage, the dress really does emphasize certain areas—there are yonic embellishments, a heart-shaped cutout on the backside, and 44-carat ruby nipples, custom-designed by Stefere Jewerly, which cost a whopping $250,000. Only Cardi could manage to show no skin yet still draw attention to every single body part.