Inside the MET gala with Swedish LGBTQIA+ activist Fredrik Robertsson
”I find it so amazing to live in a time where someone like me, that dresses like me, is celebrated and not hated — that we have come very far in some parts of the world and in society where a boy can dress in what was socially not accepted just a few decades ago,” he says.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON
May 03, 2022
Robertsson has a background in PR and has written a book, worked with TV, and founded a fashion magazine. He’s now on the board of an LGBTQIA+ organisation, called Regnbågsfonden (The Rainbow Foundation), and is the creative director of Swedish haircare brand Björn Axén. And, if you don’t know him, you might at least have seen him.
— I am one of the few men in the world who buy and collect haute couture which is why I am semi-known in the fashion world, he explains.
Last night, you attended the MET gala. What does that gala mean for you?
— Well, it’s not only an annual fundraising gala — held for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City — but also ’Fashion’s Biggest Night’ and ’Celebrities’ Biggest Night’. Everyone invited all have to be personally accepted by editor in chief Anna Wintour. And I have of course always wanted to attend but never thought it would happen. This whole journey started because of my job at Björn Axén where we have a collaboration with Dutch designer and artist Iris van Herpen. We do hair for her show and we were asked to do hair for some of the guests attending the MET. We then discussed creating an entire look, from hair to outfit and having our two different craftsmanship meet. And we decided I would be the one to wear it.
— It has been inspired by our conversations with Fredrik and how he transforms himself through fashion, hair, and beauty. His gender fluidity in dressing is inspiring and we love how he is an example for others to create that freedom and represents the values that both our brands stand for, Iris van Herpen explains.
And tell us about the creation and the process of making it.
— It’s a jumpsuit created by Iris van Herpen, known for her innovative work in fashion. The look is made from upcycled fabric that was first digitally printed and then heat-bonded to recycled mylar. The panels were then laser cut into springing feathers carefully balanced and hand-stitched onto beige tulle. The trousers are made of a custom gradient dyed sandwiched silk. The entire outfit took about 750 hours to make, which is incredible. The team that worked on it was, except for Iris and her design assistant Christian, one digital artist, two pattern makers, one seamstress, and six hand workers, Robertsson explains. He continues:
— The fitting was first digital, sending toile back and forth from Amsterdam since covid made travel difficult. By the time when we had a good base, I went to Amsterdam for three days of fittings. It has been an incredible journey. And it is not just about the fashion. Iris and my partner Johan, who’s the owner of Björn Axén, have been very involved in what the hair and beauty should be. This is a full look and collaboration between the two. And I find it so amazing to live in a time where someone like me, that dresses like me, is celebrated and not hated. That we have come very far in some parts of the world and in society where a boy can dress in what was socially not accepted just a few decades ago. I just hope that the rest of the world will follow and except everyone for who they are.
And how was the gala?
— Incredible. I arrived at the same time as Sarah Jessica Parker who came walking in her gown. It felt so epic, so New York, so MET. She was very sweet and we walked onto the carpet at the same time which just felt so special. The food was great and people looked amazing. I got a lot of attention for my look which was fun. Alicia Keyes, Glenn Close, and so many people came up to compliment me on my look. I felt amazing and sneaked back to the hotel just as Lenny Kravitz finished his last song after dinner. An epic night.
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