Tyla Makes Her Met Gala Debut In a Dress Made of Sand

Tyla once told W, “I love when clothes look like they’re falling off of me.” The South African singer was referring mostly to the “wet look” styles she has adopted since arriving in the spotlight since her breakthrough on the scene last year. On the occasion of her first Met Gala, however, Tyla brought a whole new high fashion meaning to her “falling off” style aesthetic, when she arrived to fashion’s biggest night with sand dripping down her body.

OK, the sand wasn’t literally dripping down, but it sure looked like it. With some master engineering at the hands of Olivier Rousteing at Balmain, Tyla was able to take on the Met steps looking like a walking hourglass. Of course, it helps that the singer held an hourglass at her side, the sand in the glass slowly slipping away, mimicking her dress. Even without the accessory, however, the inspiration for the gown was obvious. It came from the phrase, “the sands of time,” used to connote the passage of time. This was likely a play on the red carpet’s theme, “The Garden of Time,” based on a 1962 short story of the same title written by J.G. Ballard. While many focused on the “garden” aspect and came covered in florals, Tyla was smart to instead base her look on the idea of time and stand out from the crowd as a result.

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The design featured a sand-covered bodice sculpted to her body, with a similar shading effect showing off a chiseled butt as well. Unfinished edges added to the organic nature of the dress, which slipped down the singer’s legs and pooled on the floor in a short train. Rousteing kept the silhouette of this piece simple and really allowed the artistic details to shine. When standing still, Tyla looked to be emerging from the ground, like a woman molded out of sand, which sparkled under the flashbulbs. Extra sand dusted the singer’s shoulders, adding to the overall effect and turning the singer into a true sand goddess.

When Tyla first stepped out onto the green and white steps, fans of Rousteing may have recognized this sculpted technique, which we have seen from him before. It is fairly reminiscent of a similar dress he made for Zendaya back in 2021 for the Venice Film Festival premiere of Dune. That dress was created from a tan leather, but also looked like it was sculpted directly on the actress’ body.

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Tyla’s debut at the Met Gala is notable, but we see dozens of those every year. It’s her sartorial success that makes this a big night for the singer. Tyla has been toying with high fashion, wearing custom Versace and off-the-runway Area on occasion, but this Met Gala dress proves a sense of innovation and style we have not previously seen from her. Unfortunately, it seems the singer could not walk up the red carpet steps in her ensemble, as there are videos of her getting lifted up and carried—which honestly gives off the effect of unparalleled royalty. But as we know, one must take risks when it comes to fashion, especially on a night like the Met Gala. And while she may barely be able to move (and we will just count out sitting at this point), she can most definitely serve, and serve she did.

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