Last night's Met Gala was full of glitz, glamour and more gold than the federal reserve but amid all of the elegant gowns and couture looks, it was Riz Ahmed's decidedly toned down attire that stood out from the crowd.
Sporting an oversized work shirt, double-knee pants, a white tank top, black knee-high boots and a Cartier chain all tied together with a white shoelace repurposed as a belt, Riz Ahmed's Met Gala look was an ode to the working class man. The work of NYC-based label 4SDESIGNS and stylist Julia Ragolia, Ahmed's outfit took an alternative approach to the night's Gilded Age theme bucking the trend of top hats, canes and ornate embellishments in favor of highlighting the often overlooked side of that era.
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“This is about celebrating and canonizing and glorifying those people behind the scenes, those people that gilded the Gilded Age,” Ahmed told GQ ahead of last night's red carpet. “Part of what I really value about this place are the waves of immigrants and workers that have kind of kept this city running, whether it was before in the Gilded Age or now in its new Gilded Age, or during the pandemic, and so this is in many ways a bit of a love letter to those blue collar workers.”
Given the many pointed critiques of this year's Met Gala of "Gilded Glamour" as being "tone deaf" in the face of the current ongoing economic crisis, Ahmed's nod to the nation's proletariat was a refreshing break from the night's celebration of unfettered wealth. "Riz and I have been working together for a few years, and we have a similar viewpoint about fashion and culture,” Ragolia said. “I wanted to do something respectful of the theme but unexpected ... As a stylist I want to tell stories that go beyond the surface and speak about those that are not usually given a voice.”
Photo via Getty/ Mike Coppola
Ahmed and Ragolia eventually settled on the fledgling label 4SDESIGNS, which was founded in 2020 by former Engineered Garments designer Angelo Urrutia, to elevate a traditional workwear silhouette for one of fashion's biggest stages. While at first glance the outfit might strike as a standard Carhartt ensemble, Urrutia manages to bridge the gap between blue collar and high fashion with some thoughtful tailoring. Judging by the near universal approbation on Twitter, the look was a success.
“Taking a kind of workwear look onto the red carpet for the Met makes a lot of sense given the through-line of all the work we’ve been doing together, taking things out of context and making them right," Ahmed says. "It’s very much about being an outsider and being out of place, and yet when you own that look and bring it into the room when you may not be expected to, it actually stretches the room.”
Photo via Getty/Taylor Hill