Cara Delevingne is not known to be shy on a red carpet. For the 2021 Met Gala, the model and actor wore a Dior fencing vest that read “Peg the Patriarchy” (a message more acute after last night’s Supreme Court leak). Meanwhile, for the 2022 Met Gala, her move was a different kind of bold, more painterly than sloganeering: Beneath her red tailcoat was little more than her gilded torso, gleaming from cane-clutching fingertip to ear.
“It’s obviously very pretty and very glamorous—but there’s a toughness to it because that’s very Cara,” says makeup artist Romy Soleimani, who blended metallic pigments with a liquid mixing medium for the transfer-proof body paint. “It almost feels a little Ziggy Stardust-y,” she adds of the glam-rock effect, alluding to Bowie’s androgynous appeal. “Cara always plays with masculine and feminine.”
Dior provided more than Delevingne’s suit and makeup for the evening: One of the house’s past fragrance campaigns also planted a seed of inspiration. “An old J’Adore perfume ad had Charlize [Theron] painted in gold, so that was a starting point,” Soleimani says, describing a group chat with Delevingne that unfolded over the past few weeks, complete with fabric swatches. If the uncloaked moment had a kind of macro appeal for attention, it was also an opportunity for zeroed-in detail, evidenced by the looped rhinestone chain affixed to each of the model’s bare shoulders—“so it almost looked like epaulettes,” Solemani says.
Splashes of gold—a literal interpretation of the evening’s “Gilded Glamour” theme—also migrated to the face. Over top a layer of Forever Skin Glow foundation and a swirl of coral blush, Soleimani put the Dior Backstage face palette to ethereal use, applying a rose-gold highlight along the cheekbone and upper temple. A longwear gold pencil brightened the creases of Delevingne’s eyes, while gold crystals stood in for winged liner. And on the mouth, a base of nude lip pencil came topped with a shimmery gloss.