With new music rumored to be on the way this Friday, Taylor Swift has spent the past several weeks teasing her fans with a slew of pastel-hued social media posts and countdown clocks.
And on Tuesday night, she offered a glimpse at what her so-called “TS7”-era style will look like, hitting the red carpet at the Time 100 Gala at NYC’s Lincoln Center clad in a pale pink and yellow gown from J. Mendel that fit right in with her recent snaps of rose-colored ruffles and Easter egg-hued bicycles.
“Taylor always has a very strong point of view; she’s really extraordinary in how she transforms herself constantly,” J. Mendel’s creative director Gilles Mendel told Page Six Style of working with the pop star.
“She always comes to me with an idea; in this case, the theme was pastel colors and soft tones. Luckily, my recent spring collection was very much about those tones, these beautiful pale citrus colors. So we started with my spring palette, and from there, we built up the dress. Taylor wanted a really ethereal, hand-pleated moment, which is something we’ve always done so well.”
The primary challenge of creating Swift’s outfit? Since she was set to perform an acoustic set at the gala, she needed a way to ensure her arms would be free to strum her guitar and play the piano without being encumbered by extra fabric. And as it turns out, it was Swift herself who came up with the solution.
“That bolero didn’t come from me — it was her,” Mendel revealed. “She had the vision of having some sort of cover that would give it a different volume than just a basic dress. So we developed, with our Gilles Mendel touch, this little hand-pleated, silk- sleeved bolero cover that I thought came out really stunning.”
Best of all, the billowy-sleeved piece made Swift’s look convertible, so she could make a dramatic entrance on the red carpet and then shed it before she took the stage later in the evening.
“I love to design for people who perform,” the designer, who has created costumes for the New York City Ballet, explained. “It’s always a challenge, and it’s fun, to give someone the freedom of movement that’s so important for their art. The concept she brought to me — creating volume out of a super-soft, drape-y material — is a very complicated task, but it’s great to work with Taylor because she always pushes us, as designers, to bring out our best.”
And there’s good news for fans eager to shop Swift’s Time 100 ensemble for themselves. “I’ve never duplicated any of the dresses I’ve done for her,” Mendel said. “I’ve been with her twice to the Met Gala, and those two gowns are still in my archives. But after this experience … I think definitely, in the next collection, [there will be] some modification of what I’ve done for Taylor.”
As for whether Swift and Mendel might make their third appearance together on the Met Gala red carpet next month? “Unfortunately, it’s so hard to give you an answer, because we never know until the very last minute,” the designer said with a laugh. “And it’s maybe bad luck to say, because you never know!”
By Elana Fishman