“Fashion is my sport of choice,” Christina Ricci told Vanity Fair the weekend before the first Monday in May, the annual date of the Met Gala, the benefit for The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute. 

It’s obvious Ricci enjoys fashion in a real way. One doesn’t have such a singular, consistent style throughout their long and public career without a natural love for the stuff—which is why it’s an especially large boon for The Met and The Met’s fans alike that she’s back at the gala after a roughly decade-long hiatus. 

Hair by Mark Hampton and makeup by Francelle Daly.

The actor worked with Kim Jones, Fendi’s artistic director, to create her look this year. Jones and Ricci are old friends, which can help streamline the process of getting dressed for fashion’s biggest night of the year. (And the stakes are high: This event requires ascending stairs. As Ricci jokes, “I think it’s mean that they make you do the red carpet on the stairs. It’s like they’re just waiting for someone to fall.”). After Fendi sent over a few options, Ricci strongly favored the two-piece shimmering silver option made of trompe l’oeil lurex fabric with jacquard embroidery. Jones gave his full support. 

Photo by Emilio Madrid.

“It’s nice because they’re your friend,” she said, describing the shorthand she has with the designer. “They care about you. It’s more than just some sort of capitalistic endgame.” 

This year’s Met Gala exhibition theme focuses on a single designer with a large footprint, “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty.” Fendi was one of the many fashion houses Lagerfeld helmed during his lifetime, and his last line for the brand, fall 2019, was shown posthumously. Jones was named his successor soon after. It’s good to have friends in Italian places, as the saying goes. 

Ricci was in Milan for Fashion Week this year, and she was able to stop by the city’s atelier for what sounds like a healthy mix of intimidation and glamour. “They took me back into their showroom and I oohed and aahed over stuff, and then Kim gave them to me and I was like, Yeah! Gifts! And then it’s just beautiful and intimidating also. You get all dressed up and they pin it and they take pictures and then you choose accessories and all that kind of stuff.”

Collaborating on the dress is a big part of the joy of the event for Ricci. “One of the Met Galas that I went to before was superhero-themed [“Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy”], so I had a very strong idea of what I wanted done. And in that case, I was supposed to go with one designer and I presented my idea and they ignored it. So I went to Riccardo Tisci, who I knew, and it was when he was first at Givenchy, and he loved the idea,” she said. He ended up making the red bodysuit bustier with gauzy pink fabric wrapped around it for the 2008 gala.

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