Jared Leto's plus-one to the Met Gala tonight was his own severed head. Well, at least a very detailed reproduction of it. Though it might have seemed like a random choice to some, fashion folks knew instantly what he was referencing: Gucci's fall 2018 collection.
Leto is not only a personal friend and muse to Gucci's dynamo creative director Alessandro Michele, but is also, alongside Lana Del Rey, the current face of the brand's Gucci Guilty scent. Michele is not only among Monday night's Camp-themed Met Gala's official cohosts (with some of his creations on display in the actual exhibit), but Gucci is also the main sponsor of this year's event. So the stars were certainly aligned for Leto to make a big, red carpet scene-stealing Gucci reference, and that he did.
For the brand's fall 2018 collection, Michele concocted an instant runway classic moment by having flaxen-haired model Unia Pakhomova open the show carrying an exact replica of her own cranium. About 70 looks later, male model Dwight Hoogendijk also appeared with his own head. That show in particular was inspired by Donna Haraway's 1984 essay "A Cyborg Manifesto," though some critics also drew comparisons to the Christian art trope of Cephalophores, or statues of saints who carry their own head to represent that they were martyred through beheading.
The heads became such a spectacle among fashion types that it even spawned its own meme: the #GucciChallenge. A who's who of fashion posed with their friends' heads in hand and posted the results on Instagram.
According to British Vogue, those props were concocted by Italian special effects house Makinarium. The models had to have their heads both digitally scanned and physically molded, with the reproductions made out of silicone and polyurethane resins. Even the eyes were painstakingly crafted to resemble the model's own. It's likely that Jared Leto had to go through a similar process in order to construct his untraditional plus-one. No word on whether the head had to purchase its own ticket to the event.
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