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SoulCycle, Green Juice, and Tommy Hilfiger: The Met Gala Game Plan According to Karolina Kurkova

If you’re supermodel Karolina Kurkova, your Met Gala timeline looks something like this:

Two months out: Create an East-meets-West gown with an icon of American sportswear celebrating 30 years in the biz: Tommy Hilfiger. “Tommy isn’t a couture eveningwear designer, so that’s where it was fun—we didn’t have to live up to something. He really gave me the freedom and space to create,” said Kurkova. After looking at mood boards covered in images of geishas, Chinese empresses, samurais, and ancient jewelry, the catwalker decided to go short. “Last year I went big, bold, and kind of long, so I wanted to do something different,” she said. “It has to be the perfect marriage of something that people at home will understand, but of course have that fashion-forward touch. This is the Met ball, when you can create something spectacular and wear anything and everything.” But anything and everything in the world of Kurkova can’t land you under the headline “What was she thinking?” the next morning. “With all the bloggers and social media, everyone is a critic—it’s not just the fashion people who really understand design,” she explained. After vacillating between hot fuchsia pink and classic crimson, both the model and designer decided on scarlet. “Tommy said, ‘I really think you should do red—red on a blond is such a powerful statement,’” said Kurkova of their conversation. Every detail down to the interior of the sleeves was considered: “If I lift my arms up, there’s a completely different fabric inside,” she said.

Photo: Courtesy of Alatheia Bowling

Photo: Courtesy of Alatheia Bowling

After nailing down the dress, you ring another fashionable friend, Giuseppe Zanotti, for your footwear. (Mind you, it doesn’t hurt that you just shot his latest campaign in Paris.) “The great thing about Giuseppe having his own factory is that he can produce very quickly,” she said. “He produced six pairs for me to choose from—when it comes to the Met ball, everyone likes to have options.”


Photo: Courtesy of Alatheia Bowling

Three days out: “I flew in on Friday from Europe,” she said. “When you travel and you’re jet-lagged and you have your son and you’re working day and night, it’s not like you have time to work out.” Since landing in New York, the super hit SoulCycle every morning to sculpt a butt and legs worthy of a thigh-grazing gown.

One day out: Visit Manhattan-based skin guru Georgia Louise for a circulation-boosting and de-puffing facial. “The muscles in your face are just like those in your body—you have to work them out. I can feel the difference right away when she works with her hands,” she said of the pro’s intense massage technique. Then secure the “best pedicurist in town,” Kurkova’s 5-year-old son, Tobin. “He’s curious and likes to watch what people do for his mommy,” she said.

Day of: Down a green juice, walk through Central Park to absorb some vitamin D, and order a burger patty with avocado at the Carlyle Hotel. “Eating a salad is not enough—that burns really quickly,” said Kurkova. “Today I really feel like having red meat because I want to feel like a warrior and have strength in my body and muscles.”

After indulging in a gilded mask created by Mary Schook, hand yourself over to the glam squad. “The day of the Met ball, everyone wants the best, everyone wants the same people, but I wanted to have one person that I can start and finish with,” she said of working with fellow Czech and member of Eugene Souleiman’s backstage hair team, Mirka Hajdova. “It’s China, so you can get really creative and technical, so I didn’t want to share!” A soft samurai look accented by a gold leather loop was on the agenda, along with a dramatic lip and dewy skin, care of face painter Stefanie Willmann and her arsenal of Und Gretel Berlin products. “Tommy is going to see [the dress] for the first time tonight,” said Kurkova. “He’s been traveling, so he’s only seen pictures and bits here and there.” We imagine the designer was blown away when he saw the super ascend those crimson-covered stairs.

—Amber Kallor,

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