Rita Ora has range when it comes to singing and style, but at the 2017 Met Gala, only one note would do. “I knew it had to be red,” Ora told Vogue. “That’s my signature color, and the way Rei Kawakubo uses that color is so epic.” Her Marchesa couture dress was a spectacle in and of itself: With all-over bias-cut ribbons and a cascading fishtail skirt, the look made a strong statement both coming and going. Created by Marchesa’s Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig with input from Ora’s stylist, Jason Rembert, the look was two months in the making, including multiple conference calls and meetings to iron out every detail. “They are so amazing to collaborate with and made this whole process seamless and fun!” Ora said of the trio. “I knew that they could really execute this theme so well, but, at the same time, make it a team effort.”
That effort brought an additional benefit in the form of a new friendship. “Me and the Marchesa ladies have such good chemistry,” Ora said. “We are like family. I like how comfortable they make me feel.” This closeness led to a look that matched the Comme des Garçons dress code while still staying true to Ora’s sartorial roots as well as her red carpet icons: Kate Moss and Bianca Jagger. “Both women are the epitome of comfortable, chic, and fearless,” she says. “I just love when women own everything they wear. I really try and channel that vibe.”
That daring approach to dressing is what defines Ora’s singular sense of style—and the message she hoped to send on the red carpet. “I believe it says ‘risk taker,’ which is what I usually go for at the Met Gala,” explained Ora. A quick gander at her past turns at the party of the year reveals that the common thread all comes down to color—like the Tom Ford dress she chose in 2015. “Of course it was red!” Ora said with a laugh. Her signature color palette still left plenty of room for imagination this year—see the oversize sculpted bows at the shoulder and the fitted illusion tulle corset. “The construction of a Marchesa dress is so beautiful,” Ora said. “Georgina really knows a woman’s body and how to capture a moment.”
For further insight into how it all came together, Ora shares candid photos from the first Monday in May, as seen in the slideshow above.
“People tend to feel intimidated by a woman that’s comfortable in her own skin”, Rita Ora is sitting opposite me at the Sanderson Hotel in London, discussing the resurgence of women on top in music. “And that comes to my whole point of supporting feminism; I’m a real believer in Pussy Power. I love my girls, like Charli XCX and Iggy, I love what Arianna did with her open letter, I love Miley and Katy Perry, and B is always on the next fucking level. Women are finally sticking up for each other. It’s been a long time coming.”
Rita is gearing up to release her second album later this month, and that too has been a long time coming. Her debut, ORA, hit the shelves way back in 2012 and landed her at number one. Three number one singles and a slew of award nominations later, Rita’s reputation as one of the UK’s biggest female music stars was cemented. A fourth number one came in the form of the Calvin Harris penned “I Will Never Let You Down”, but then, following a very public breakup with Harris, news of Rita’s impending second album went a little quiet.