On Friday, April 29, the actress Maisie Williams attended the Thom Browne fall 2022 runway show sporting bleach blonde and black hair and a gray corset with white piping. To most, the Game of Thrones star appeared to be wearing a completely innocuous—if not terribly chic—outfit. But in reality, Williams was giving a subtle hint toward what she planned to wear to the Met Gala three days later. “It was definitely a precursor,” she says on the morning of May 2 from outside her New York City hotel. She’d planned to give onlookers a taste of the “sculptural, voluminous” Thom Browne gown she’d chosen from the designer’s fall 2021 collection by nodding to its white corseted bodice. Only those truly in the know would have picked up on the sneaky reference, but it gave Williams a little thrill nonetheless. “I wanted to foreshadow what’s to come,” she adds.
The look she chose for the Met Gala—a black floor-length skirt adorned with small buttons and sharp pleats, a matching bolero, and that white corset—was right in line with the Gilded Glamour theme, in addition to Williams’s own personal style, which she describes after much deliberation as “transparent, tailored, and expressive.” The gown, which first appeared on Thom Browne’s runway worn by a male model, received a full custom treatment: the actress wore the cropped jacket off the shoulders and added a pair of the kooky, block toy platforms that debuted at the designer’s fall 2022 show for footwear. “What drew me in when I first saw this look was the contrast between the feminine structure, but also the powerful volume of it,” the actress says, adding that it was “the perfect blend between masc and femme.” The first time she tried it on, the outfit became a source of inspiration. “When I saw it, the ideas that it then inspired for hair and makeup just started tumbling out of my mind. When you have an outfit that’s so strong, but that’s also so versatile, it gets you excited to think about the full look.”
That full look, which Williams donned with bleached eyebrows, smokey winged eyeliner, and a black rhinestoned rococo headpiece, is also something of a departure from her go-to silhouette. “It’s rare for me to wear something like that, being someone of such small stature,” she says. “But it’s incredible seeing how it’s looked on the runway and now, how it looks on me—and the fact that it works on both.”
Williams had every intention of keeping the getting ready process low-key. “I think everyone will get to the hotel around 1 PM, which gives us four hours,” she says, “but I just cannot sit still for four hours.” However, this is the Met Gala—everything’s always over the top, as Williams herself admits. In her hotel room, a fleet of Thom Browne associates dressed in the designer’s signature shorts suits hemmed and made adjustments during the final moments before Williams was due on the red carpet.
Courtesy of Thom Browne.
It was a distinct departure from the first fitting she’d done the prior week at Browne’s atelier. “Thom was not present for the fitting, however he had given a lot of his thoughts and ideas on how it should be styled, the way that the jewelry should be,” Williams recalls. “I felt grateful that there was that trust that we could have this fitting and he didn’t need to oversee it with his eagle eye.” Williams is no stranger to the label—in fact, the most prized possession in her closet is a Thom Browne piece. “It’s a cigarette-colored, camel trench coat, but it’s very fitted,” she says. “It fits me so perfectly that I can get away with wearing something underneath that might not be quite hitting it, but with the coat, it’s elevated.”
But a trench, a staple item in any fashion enthusiast’s closet, doesn’t even come close to what Williams’s Game of Thrones character would wear. When I ask what the actress thinks Arya Stark might choose as a getup for the Met, Williams immediately has an answer on deck. “Arya would wear Loewe, which has recently done the dress with the big metal plate,” she says. “She’d have drawn some inspiration from being tough, and could protect anyone who needs help—or assassinate anyone that got too close.”