Elle Fanning’s Sculptural Sheer Gown at the 2024 Met Gala Belongs in Its Own Museum Exhibit

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At tonight’s Met Gala, The Great actress Elle Fanning looked a bit like a frozen flower about to be plucked by songbirds—not unlike the time flowers at the heart of J.G. Ballard’s 1962 short story “The Garden of Time,” from which the 2024 Met Gala found its theme.

In the short story, a Count Axel gathers these so-called “time flowers” so as to turn back time and avoid an approaching mob. As Ballard writes:

“The flowers grew to a height of about six feet, their slender stems, like rods of glass, bearing a dozen leaves, the once transparent fronds frosted by the fossilized veins. At the peak of each stem was the time flower, the size of a goblet, the opaque outer petals enclosing the crystal heart. Their diamond brilliance contained a thousand faces, the crystal seeming to drain the air of its light and motion.”

It’s clear to see, then, where Fanning found the inspiration for her gorgeous crystalline Balmain gown, which indeed appears to have “transparent fronds” “frosted” with “diamond brilliance.” The look itself, which features sculptural birds affixed to each shoulder of the bodice, shimmered like water as Fanning side-stepped her way up the Met Gala steps, her Cartier earrings similarly catching the light.

elle fanning at the 2024 met gala

Aliah Anderson//Getty Images
elle fanning at the 2024 met gala

Jamie McCarthy//Getty Images
elle fanning at the 2024 met gala

ANGELA WEISS//Getty Images

The jaw-dropping (and perfectly on-theme) look arrives as Fanning steps into the next iteration of her career, having recently been photographed filming the Bob Dylan biopic, A Complete Unknown, with co-star Timothée Chalamet in New Jersey. The two fashionable co-stars enjoying photo calls together during the film’s press tour should be a sight to behold. As the actress told ELLE UK in 2023, “You know, I’ve been going on red carpets for for a while so I think with that comes a sense of wanting to try new things and experiment with new looks. Sometimes they go wrong, but sometimes they go right! I think that’s the fun of it.”

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