Met Gala 2019: Livia Firth Wears Richard Quinn for the Green Carpet Challenge

Image: Livia Firth with Richard Buckley at the Met Ball 2019. Getty Images.

The biggest names from fashion and entertainment descended upon the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York last night for the annual Met Gala, where once again Livia Firth showed that it is possible to blend ethics and aesthetics in her Green Carpet Challenge dress.  Discover more about Livia’s gown by designer Richard Quinn and watch behind the scenes of the fitting.

Camp was the theme of this year’s Met Gala – fashion’s biggest fundraising event – and the biggest names from fashion, film and music were out in force at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art wearing their campest and most flamboyant costumes. Once again, Livia Firth walked the red carpet in an outfit designed with the Green Carpet Challenge principles in mind – a bespoke gown by British designer Richard Quinn with a custom headpiece by Stephen Jones.

“Camp is about the idea of a whim – it can be tongue-in-cheek or a failure to be serious; or simply about the joy of dress up without being scared or holding back,” said vintage fashion guru and founder of William Vintage, William Banks-Blaney on this year’s theme. “It’s about giving in to the whim of dressing differently for its own sake.”

Embracing this theme, Livia wore bright floral print gown embellished with Swarovski crystal stones.  “I couldn’t have thought of a better partnership than with Livia for this year’s Met Gala,” said Richard. “I wanted my designs to visually stay true to the theme, but also to speak volumes in terms of the design’s substance and meaning. The connotations of campness and excess do come hand in hand but this shouldn’t come at a cost to the environment. Working with Livia and the Eco-Age team has been invaluable for my understanding of low impact-textiles, has introduced me to new mills who offer these innovative materials and re-enforced my desire to continue creating a more mindful company”.

Richard sourced two different fabrics from Italy for this special, customised piece. The GOTS-certified organic silk base layer is from Taroni, one of last year’s CNMI Green Carpet Fashion Award winners. The outer, printed layer is made from GRS certified Newlife TM recycled polyester georgette from Boselli, Italy.  NewlifeTM  is engineered from 100% post-consumer bottles sourced, processed and spun into yarn using a mechanical process. The yarn is exclusively made in Italy with a fully traceable supply chain.  

The colourful customised print on the dress was digitally printed in Richard Quinn’s London studio, using an Epson printer, only using the exact amount of fabric to eliminate waste. The Epson printing process also enables printing onto recycled PET polyester and reduces water and ink use compared with traditional print processes, making it the ideal process to create on-demand unique fabrics. The dress is embellished with Swarovski crystal stones. All embroidery was hand sewn in London. 

Livia teamed the dress with a bespoke headpiece made by Stephen Jones, the design of which was inspired by the quote ‘aesthetics with ethics’. Stephen keeps all excess materials from his collections, production, and one-off bespoke pieces. For Livia’s Met Gala piece, he used excess felt from hats, which are blocked in the UK, from archive collection’s production. Stephen was also inspired by the book Mrs Pankhurst’s Purple Feather by Tessa Boase – the story of Etta Lemon’s campaign which led to the setup of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. With this story in mind, Stephen has used feathers that were collected on a walk in the Suffolk countryside.  The colours for the headpiece were selected from the print of Livia’s dress and large loops of the excess felt were used to resemble the drape and flow in the dress.

Livia completed her look for the event with jewellery by Chopard, as part of The Journey To Sustainable Luxury, old Roger Vivier shoes that have walked multiple carpets since 2010, and a Buddhi Batik clutch from the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange.

Read William Banks-Blaney’s take on this year’s Camp theme.

Discover all Green Carpet Challenge looks that have walked the Met Gala’s red carpet here