Fredrik Robertsson Was the Met Gala’s Most Mysterious Guest

Andrew M. Santos

At last night’s Met Gala, A-list stars like Kim Kardashian, Billie Eilish, and Blake Lively made waves on the gilded glamour-themed red carpet—but there was one lesser-known attendee who made just as much a commotion. Storming the step-and-repeat in a custom Iris van Herpen creation, Swedish street style star Fredrik Robertsson went instantly viral after several news outlets and red-carpet spectators mistook him for Jared Leto. “At first, I didn’t know about it, then I started seeing it on Page Six and The New York Times,” says Robertsson. “I have heard before that I look like Jared Leto. My favorite part of the night was when I bumped into him, who the press thought I was, and we just laughed at it all. He said he was honored they thought he was me!”

Robertsson is no stranger to causing a fashion commotion wherever he goes. Back in 2019, he caught Vogue’s attention when he showed up to the Valentino Haute Couture show in a black iridescent gown, launching an investigation into just who this fabulous mystery man was. (Turns out he’s the creative director of the Swedish hair-care company Björn Axén.) Seeing how this was Robertsson’s first Met Gala, however, he admits he felt the nerves beforehand and that extra pressure to deliver a particularly strong fashion look. “It has been a dream of mine forever, and of course it is different from any other gala,” says Robertsson. “This is the gala if you enjoy fashion like I do. It is a dream come true.”

Leaving the room and heading to my first-ever Met Gala. I am just feeling so cool and proud to have made it to this day and so honored to wear Iris van Herpen. 

Photo: Ea Czyz

To make his Met Gala fantasy come to life, he worked with his friend Herpen to craft a custom, one-of-a-kind creation. Titled Quantum, the architectural look was inspired by Robertsson’s fearless approach to fashion overall. “It’s inspired by how you express and transform yourself through fashion,” says Herpen of the ensemble. “Fredrik’s genderfluidity in dressing is so inspiring, and the look radiates and plays with combined masculinity and femininity.” Feathery embellishments, made of recycled Mylar, were combined with delicate fabrics like tulle to create that interesting juxtaposition. The duo also thought about the Costume Institute exhibition’s themes around American fashion. “Since neither of us is American, we discussed how liberty is in America’s founding ethos and identity, and Iris embraced this liberty to design freely, instead of sketching within the constraints of this theme,” Robertsson says.

Even better yet, the futuristic design was sustainably crafted. It’s made from upcycled fabric that was first digitally printed then head-bonded to the recycled Mylar. “The panels were laser-cut into springing feathers, carefully balanced, and hand-stitched onto beige tulle,” says Herpen. “The trousers are made of a custom gradient-dyed, sandwiched silk.” The designer estimates the ensemble took more than 700 hours to produce—from balancing the feathers to stitching it all together. “It took a team of myself, my design assistant Christian, one digital artist, one seamstress, two pattern makers, and six handworkers,” Herpen says.

For Robertsson, collaborating with the designer—whom he has collected a few couture pieces from—made for the perfect Met Gala debut. (He attended as her guest.) “I love how she is so innovative,” says Robertsson. “She is always searching for something new—a new technique, silhouette, or design that we have not seen before. She questions what beauty is.” Though he was one of the night’s breakout viral stars in his bold look, Robertsson says his fearless approach to fashion is never about making headlines. “I think the biggest misconception about me is that I dress to get attention or for people to look at me. It could not be further from the truth,” he says. “I just love dressing up. I love extreme and avant-garde fashion.” As for his favorite moment of the night (aside from being mistaken for Leto)? “Getting out of the car and meeting Sarah Jessica Parker,” he says. “She arrived at the same time, so we chatted on the way to the carpet. It felt so NYC, so Met—so right.”

Below, see exclusive getting-ready photos from Robertsson. 

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