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Prabal Gurung X Boll & Branch:
A Conversation About The Making
Of The Met Gala Gown

On fashion’s biggest night, one made for surprise, drama, and intrigue, Boll & Branch arrived on the red carpet in Prabal Gurung’s masterful vision of the Met Gala’s theme, Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion. The Met Gala is considered the most glamorous fashion event and social gathering in the world. The evening of May 6 marked several firsts: the first time Boll & Branch fabric was made into a dress, the first time Prabal Gurung partnered with a bedding brand for the Met Gala, and the first time a bedding brand graced the red carpet. In this short film, designer Prabal Gurung and Boll & Branch’s Chief Product Officer Missy Tannen share how this iconic moment came to be. For an even closer look at this partnership and the fabric Prabal chose for his gown, read the rest of our conversation below.

Watch the short film.

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The Met Gala is one of the highest profile sartorial moments of the year. Prabal, how did you begin designing this year's gown for the Sleeping Beauties theme?

PRABAL: What I love about the Met Gala and the overall exhibition at the Met Museum is that it is such a cultural moment around the world. For me personally, it's always a dream to be a part of it.

When I heard about the Sleeping Beauties theme, I thought, wouldn’t it be iconic to do something metaphorical by partnering with someone in that world who really understands materials?

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Prabal, why did Boll & Branch feel like the perfect partner for your Met Gala gown?

PRABAL: I looked at Boll & Branch and what they've been doing, and they make the finest, most luxurious fabrics out there. Luxury is one thing, but I also have to keep in mind the sustainability aspect. I found that in their organic Supima cotton.

Missy, why did a partnership with Prabal Gurung feel right to you?

MISSY: There's so much between what we stand for at Boll & Branch and what Prabal believes in that’s in sync. Not just in the way he wants someone to feel incredible when they wear his designs. But how he wants to represent his values and bring a positive impact to everyone who experiences his work. Like Prabal, we want our products to look beautiful, but even more important is to make sure our products have a soul. This is what makes our work together on this gown feel almost magical. 

The Sleeping Beauties exhibition at The Costume Institute will be shaped around three main “zones,” Land, Sea, and Sky, to illustrate evolving attitudes to the natural world. Prabal, how did this influence how you approached the design of this gown?

PRABAL: Normally for Met Gala moments, we use silks and duchess satins. Boll & Branch has the most luxurious, finest cotton that I've ever seen and ever touched. I grew up in India, so finding a cotton fabric made in an exceptionally luxurious way felt like the chicest expression of this theme and a beautiful way to tie-in our values.

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Tell us about the fabric—what makes it worthy of the Met Gala?

PRABAL: I know everyone keeps saying, "it's a bed sheet." To me, it isn’t a bed sheet we're going to have to turn into something else. For me, it's a roll of fabric. That's how we work. And it's one of the most luxurious, finest cottons that I've ever seen and touched.

MISSY: Prabal’s gown is made with our newest and most special fabric that we call Summit Supima. Summit Supima fabric uses the finest organic cotton, grown in Texas without the use of harmful pesticides and with incredible consideration: it’s a true labor of love to grow. Then we've taken it to one of the finest weavers in the world to craft this fabric. With this really long staple organic cotton fiber, we were able to spin really, really fine, delicate yarns to make our softest, drapiest fabric with the most luster yet. Prabal could have chosen any of our fabrics, and he chose this one. We were so excited to see what he could do with it.

PRABAL: When I first touched the swatches of Boll & Branch fabric, I thought, "whoa, this is really great,"—and I've looked at a gazillion fabrics in my career. The width of the fabric is also so big and ready to wear, which is rare for us. 

The Boll & Branch team just said, we're giving you this. We're not going to dictate what you need to do. I can't even tell you how rare it is to find someone who trusts your creative vision and your path and process. I really appreciate that.

How did working with Boll & Branch fabric influence your design? 

PRABAL: The silhouette features an off-the-shoulder, plunging neckline and bands of hand-cut bias organic cotton in a degrade of sizes, all hand-sewn onto a base to create a unique textile with the fabric. An off-the-shoulder opera cape, featuring rosette detail and train, completes the look. Approximately 20 yards of fabric and over 300 hours went into the making of the dress.

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How did you land the color for the gown?

PRABAL: I first thought that this would be beautiful to do in white. Then I thought, I come from a land of colors! For us, pinks and blues and yellows and greens are neutrals. So I've always been unafraid of it. I love it. Color, for me, is a symbol of joy and hope and optimism. More than ever, this is the time that we need it.

MISSY: Our color palette is very neutral and natural looking. So when Prabal shared the colors he was dreaming of—the pantone's for the pink, the bold yellow, or what we call “Prabal” blue—we were so excited to see how he could take this and go somewhere totally different than where we've been in our designs. 

But the gown didn’t end up white, pink or blue…

PRABAL: It came down to who would be wearing the dress. When we confirmed Maria Sharapova, she and I connected. She recently turned brunette, and she has yellow-green eyes. She said to me, I haven't worn this yellow in a while, do you think it's possible? I told her I had my mind set on pink or blue. But that's the thing about the Met Gala: as much as it is my vision, and how I want someone to look, Maria has to wear it and she has to feel comfortable and beautiful. So we decided to go for it.

When I reached out to the Boll & Branch team—this was just days before the gala—and I said, there's a change of color, they replied, what do you need from us? [Laughter] I'm very fortunate that I got to partner with someone who is as calm as I am.

Was the last-minute change worth it for you, Prabal?

PRABAL: Listening to women is so important. I'm glad I did because it turned out to be so beautiful. It's a shade of yellow called Daffodil, which is the perfect expression of The Garden of Time dress code. Maria is such a stunning woman, and I knew, in these colors, she would stand out. Oftentimes what happens for the Met Gala are these big design statements. I think this particular dress is a quiet, assured whisper. It’s a design that's going to last for a long time. That's what I was trying to achieve with this.

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Prabal, Missy, what do you both want Maria to feel as she’s walking the red carpet?

PRABAL: As a fashion designer, it’s my responsibility to make sure people who wear my designs feel good. When you feel good, when you feel confident, you feel seen. When you feel seen, that's when you become yourself.

MISSY: Similarly, I want Maria to feel comfort—the most extraordinary comfort. Luxury like she’s never felt before: a softness that defies comparison, that’s made in a way that everyone can feel good about.

How do you keep the things your customers can feel good about—your values—at the heart of what you do, in a way that’s “luxury?” 

PRABAL: The biggest luxury we have is storytelling. One of the things that's always been very important for me whenever I'm working with someone or by myself—I always ask not only what it is, but “why?” “Why” becomes a very, very important thing in everything that I do. Whenever I’m  collaborating with a brand, I always look at whether the values are aligned. 

Prabal, what is your “why?”

PRABAL: When you talk about sustainability, the environment, and impact, it's not just about one thing. Overall, how are you giving back? All that stuff matters. And one of the biggest joys for me has been creating a foundation with my siblings and friends—Shikshya Foundation Nepal—more than ten years ago. We started by helping 12 girls. Now we’re helping more than 300, 400 young children.

And the reason why I do what I'm able to do with fashion and clothes, is because I know my passion. My love for what I do here has not only been to create an impact within the, let's say, the garment industry or the environment. It is more than that. It is about, can I quantify it. Can I see the lives that I've changed. So then to find someone like Boll & Branch—every step of the way, they're so thoughtful. That kind of intention, that kind of care, that level of not just about yourself, but about everyone, the environment, the community, it's a rare find and that rarity becomes the luxury. I would hope it would be the norm, but right now it's the luxury.

Missy, what do Boll & Branch’s values have to offer the red carpet?

MISSY: In so many ways, we've been inspired by fashion over the years at Boll & Branch. You can see it in the way we tailor our designs, from a hem stitch all the way to couture details like French seams. But to see the luxury of our organic cotton fabric take center stage on the most iconic red carpet of all is the collective dream of the Boll & Branch team and hundreds of our partners who have believed in organic cotton when so many people said, you know, this won't work, the customer doesn't want it and they're not ready for it. That organic cotton bedding had been tried in the nineties and no one wanted it. This moment is a celebration of our fabrics for the luxury they are. And it’s a dream come true. 

Prabal, you mentioned Boll & Branch fabric signals luxury to you. They’re good enough for a couture gown. What does this fabric represent for you in its original form: sheets? 

PRABAL: I’m someone who deeply values my solitude and rest. My mom used to say that the best love you can give is love for yourself. To take care of yourself. And the best way to start is to have the best sheets ever.

Experience the world’s most luxurious sheets: discover the Summit Supima difference.

For your chance to compare Boll & Branch fabrics side-by-side, order a complimentary swatch today. 

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More about this special collaboration:

The Prabal Gurung X Boll & Branch collaboration is a creative interpretation of the Met Gala dress code, The Garden of Time, which is inspired by J.G Ballard’s story exploring the cycle of creation and destruction, and the natural world. Through the partnership, Prabal explored the lifecycle of organic cotton from seed to sheet to gown. He worked with 100% organic cotton, one of the finest materials crafted by nature.

Both brands prioritize philanthropy, differentiating themselves in their industries. Prabal Gurung launched his own foundation, the Shikshya Foundation Nepal, which through contributions in education, addresses the financial, social, and emotional needs of local children. Boll & Branch launched Helping from Home which sends bedding to those in need, in response to one-off life events, natural disasters, and more. Both Prabal Gurung and Boll & Branch support local communities close to the heart of each brand whenever possible.