The Story Of A Dress: Jessica Alba's Exclusive Met Ball Diary
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When we first got word that Jessica Alba was working with Tory Burch to create a dress for this year’s punk-themed Met Ball, we were eager to get a behind-the-scenes look at the experience. Luckily, the Tory Burch team agreed to capture all of the memorable moments--from the first sketches to the final look-- leading up to the big event. We talked to Burch and Alba about the design process, what they love about punk, and more, so keep reading to see details of Alba's fitting and preperation for the red carpet and our exclusive Q&A with Alba and Burch.
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Q: How did you collaborate on the dress?
"Tory presented some really beautiful options. We chatted about what materials and silhouettes are most flattering on me, and we put the concepts together."--Jessica Alba
"I found a beautiful laser-cut leather and asked Brad [Goreski, Alba's stylist] about whether it would be a good option for Jessica. They liked the idea, and we then came up with several sketches and she picked the graphic cutout fishtail silhouette."--Tory Burch
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Q: What excited you most about working with each other?
"I look up to Tory as a businesswoman and designer. She has exquisite taste, and her pieces reflect that."--Jessica Alba
"Jessica is an incredible person and a good friend. In addition to being an actor, she’s an entrepreneur and a devoted mother, so we always have a lot to talk about."--Tory Burch
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Q: Is the laser-cut pattern based on something, or was it designed by the Tory Burch team?
"The laser-cut pattern is a floral design. I love the idea of using a tough material and making it feminine with a floral element."--Tory Burch
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Q: What about punk culture, music, and fashion inspires you to translate this to your Met Ball gown?
"Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen have always been inspirations of mine (even one of The Honest Company's signature diaper patterns features skulls). My dog is named after Sid Vicious. I love the Sex Pistols and The Pixies. The satirical nature, social commentary, and political issues of the punk movement that are expressed through fashion and music is something that I have always gravitated toward."--Jessica Alba
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Q: What does punk mean to you?
"It’s about the counterculture and a great music scene--my favorite punk bands are The Clash and the Ramones. I love that the music spurred a whole fashion movement that continues to influence designers today."--Tory Burch
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Goreski pulled luxe punk pieces--like these Giuseppe Zanotti Studded Suede Slingback Sandals ($995)--as accessory options for Alba's leather gown.
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Q: How do you work punk into your everyday dressing?
"I wouldn’t describe my personal style as punk. I like to mix patterns, which has an anarchic quality but it’s more bohemian than punk in spirit."--Tory Burch
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Get Alba's beauty look:
Lips: Avon Totally Kissable Lipstick ($8) in Natural Glow.
Body: Charlotte Ronson Body Shimmer Makeup ($13).
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Q: What were your inspirations for hair and makeup for the specific look you're trying to achieve with the dress?
"The dress is very elegant and statuesque, but with and edgy twist. With this year's theme, I felt like I could push the limits and wear a look that is a bit more punk rock."--Jessica Alba
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To create Alba's updo, hairstylist Jen Atkin prepped her hair with Charlotte Ronson's A Perfect Mess Beach Hairspray, drying it with a blowdryer. "I secured the top half of her hair in a textured bun, where I teased the ponytail before securing it into a bun," says Atkin. She then French braided Alba's hair upside down and tied the excess hair into the bun using a Cyndi Band hair tie and finished with a veil of Oribe Superfine Hairspray ($29).
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Q: If we're not mistaken, this is your fifth Met Ball! What are you most looking forward to about the exhibition?
"The exhibitions are always exquisite. There is nothing better than walking through them during off hours. It almost feels sneaky and punk rock in and of itself. I'm looking forward to seeing everything, watching the performance, and, of course, hanging out with Tory as she is one of my favorites in the business."--Jessica Alba
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Q: What are you most looking forward to about the exhibition?
"I love fashion, music, and art. I can’t wait to see how the exhibit brings it all together. I also love the way street fashion and culture influence design."--Tory Burch
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The final touch: a pair of Christian Louboutin platform sandals--perfect for dancing the night away.
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Q: Was there a specific element of punk that you used as a springboard for the gown?
"Leather is a signature punk material and the cut-outs are a nod to punk’s anarchic, deconstructionist spirit. It’s a bold, graphic look that’s softened by the elegant, feminine silhouette and the laser-cut floral design."--Tory Burch
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"With the theme being punk, I was able to collaborate with Jessica and her stylist, Brad Goreski, and makeup artist, Lauren Andersen, on her look in a way that let us "color outside the lines" so to speak."--Jen Atkin, hairstylist
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Q: What inspired this particular silhouette?
"Jessica’s dress embodies two different ideas for a design that’s bold and graphic but also elegant and very feminine."--Tory Burch
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Q: How are you going to pamper yourself the morning after?
"I will be up bright and early celebrating the launch of my enhanced e-book for The Honest Life. Then I get to spend the afternoon hosting an amazing baby shower for a very deserving local NY mom who won Honest's Ultimate Baby Shower contest for her incredible dedication to her community--she created a non-profit that provides much-needed health education and services to Punjabi women."--Jessica Alba