“I manifested this, and I dreamed of this,” Imaan Hammam enthuses. It’s moments before the Met Gala, and she’s gathered her longtime glam team to prep for her first red carpet as Estée Lauder’s new global brand ambassador. “As a Moroccan Egyptian Muslim woman, I’m honored to take on this role and represent women like me and inspire others to follow their dreams and really, truly be themselves,” she tells Vogue of the “full circle” experience.
“I remember looking at campaigns, and Liya Kebede’s story was so inspiring to me—my first-ever job with Vogue US was with her,” says Hammam. “She was the first Black model to have a contract with Estée Lauder, so she’s a huge inspiration to me and a good friend.” And on a night honoring the Costume Institute exhibition “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty,” Hammam is paying tribute to supers and scrolling photos of Chanel shows.
For a nod to the past that felt ultramodern, makeup artist Nadia Tayeh pulled inspiration from the icons. “We wanted Imaan’s beauty look to reflect the iconic glamour of the classic ’90s supermodels, like Yasmeen Ghauri and Cindy Crawford,” says Tayeh, who started her work with Hammam backstage during Fashion Week and counts this as their first Met Gala beauty moment together. “I wanted my eyes to pop,” says Hammam of collaborating with Tayeh on a pale wash of Estée Lauder’s Pure Color Envy Luxe Eye Shadow Quad in Desert Dunes set against Sumptuous Extreme Mascara “to achieve the sexy sculpted-eye look that really defined the girls on the ’90s runways.” Tayeh created a “soft matte” finish and healthy color on skin with Pure Color Envy Sculpting Blush in Sensuous Rose and Bronze Goddess Powder Bronzer in Deep before sweeping on a “frosted, metallic lip” with the new Pure Color Hi-Lustre Lipstick in Tiger Eye.
For the hair, high, gravity-defying drama was key. “Imaan is more like a best friend and a sister to me, so working with her always feels like an organic collaboration,” says Hammam’s longtime hairstylist Hos Hounkpatin, who worked with her natural texture and prepped with Andrew Fitzsimons Fantasy Curls Curl Crème before diffusing “to make her curls more defined and finally brushed it out to achieve a vintage look.” Stylist Alex White connected Hammam with Standing Ground designer Michael Stewart for a body-skimming white gown that Stewart says “reanimates the classic motif of the pearl—an ever-present detail in Karl Lagerfeld’s designs for Chanel.” Before heading out for the red carpet, Hammam admitted to having “a little bit of good nerves” and channeled her peers. “The supers had and still have this elegance and this confidence. They would walk into a room, and everyone would just melt,” says Hammam. “That’s what I’m trying to embody with my look tonight.”
Originally published in Vogue.com