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We Got Ready for the Met Gala with Pose’s Dominique Jackson

We Got Ready for the Met Gala with Pose’s Dominique Jackson

dominique jackson met gala

She told us that her look was inspired by Grace Jones, Audrey Hepburn, and Paris Dupree.

At the Met Gala monday night, actress Dominique Jackson took her first turn down the event's red carpet. For the event, Vogue, which coordinates the event, paired her with designer Victor Glemaud, a former CFDA / Vogue Fashion Fund finalist. "I was actually very proud to be dressing Dominique for both of our first Met Gala looks," Glemaud told Out as the pair got ready for the event. "I've loved [Pose] from the first time I saw the posters and actually l paid extra to watch it. When I met Dominique in person I knew it was just perfect. But also with my line I want to continue this idea of doing what I find to be beautiful and that is celebrating women that I grew up with, women that look like my sister or my mother, and having them look great whether that's going to the Met Gala or going out to dinner."

Channeling the likes of Redd Foxx and Moms Mabley and other "great African-American people who enjoy dressing," Glemaud, who is also in the process of planning a second wedding with his husband, now in Luxemburg, created a sculptural asymmetrical black and white dress with an accompanying "halo" that lead down into a full train, all composed of three meters of South African ostrich features and fox fur provided by Saga Furs. Here, Dominique reflects on the look's inspiration, and what attending her first Met Gala meant for the legion of trans women she sees herself representing.

Paris Dupree, an icon in ballroom -- who is credited by many with inventing voguing but also started the Paris is Burning series of balls that Jennie Livingston's documentary was named after -- used to do a performance to a song called "In My Eyes." She would come out and have this white fringe gown on with the feathers and the coats and all this extravagance and would peel it all down to that song, in front of our eyes and take off the lashes and the nails and just transform. When I saw this design by Victor Glemaud in the three sketches he sent over me to possibly wear, I saw that performance. That's why I was very much into the white South African ostrich feathers and the fox fur and things like that.

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But it was also the Dorian Corey extravagance. That sort of hold your head high even though you only have a dollar in your pocket and are eating Vienna sausages. And then it was an ode to this restaurant called Tiffany's on Christopher Street. It closed around 2006, or 2007 but it was kind of an ode toBreakfast at Tiffany's and Audrey Hepburn. When I looked at this outfit it kind of gave me that old school Hollywood, classic, chic, regal kind of effect.

I wanted to pay an homage to all the icons that I grew up with. So Cher was an inspiration, and Audrey Hepburn, and people like Dorian Corey, Octavia Saint Laurent, Danielle Revlon, Mo'Dayvia LaBeija, Pepper Labeija, Avis Pendavis and Paris Dupree. I wanted to incorporate all of these women as well as Grace Jones.

Grace Jones stood out to me because she was bold and unapologetic. When I started to do my research I started to realize that a lot of the people we call camp icons were Caucasian. Not to take away from them, but for me I like to go deeper and I realized that a lot of those people got their inspiration from African-American people like Josephine Baker, and Prince, and Diana Ross. We look at African-American culture and we don't get recognized for a lot of camp icons but Grace Jones was one of the best.

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I aligned myself with her because her father was a minister and she was still able to be herself, and portray herself as she was, and grow into her truth. I always admired that. I admired the fact that she was dark-skinned and didn't have long flowing hair down her back, it was this afro and these fades. And it made me realize I could appreciate myself as a woman of African descent.

Going to the Met Gala brought on a lot of mixed emotions for me: I'm absolutely and totally overwhelmed. I feel like I'm carrying the weight of a million women on my shoulders without them asking me to do it. The difference between getting ready for this and getting ready for a ball is that this is not a competition. Going to a ball, there's a whole lot more that goes into it because it's a competition but this is about being celebrated. In order to get a ticket to the Met Gala someone has to see you, and that's really what this whole world is about: someone has to see you, acknowledge you and that's what Mr. Ryan Murphy did for us and me.

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Now, after ballroom has now been given access to the Met Gala I am thinking about how I can improve this and take my community into being spaces that they never would have been allowed before. I am really focused on trans women at this moment because working on Pose, I also realized how powerful the women that influenced me are and I want to celebrate them at all times. People like Avis Pendavis, Dorian Corey, and Pepper LaBeija who could sew -- before people were really thinking about rhinestones, beads, and features and putting them on the runway, Pepper was bringing it to ballroom.

So when I showed up Monday night, for me it's like I was taking this journey that a lot of them desired to go on. It was my chosen and proven father Hector Xtravaganza who let me realize that I had this journey. Before he passed away, god bless his soul, he was telling me that a lot of us don't know our history we just know "ballroom." But he made sure to give me that history and wanted me to use it to the best of my ability. With the Met Gala being about camp it takes it back to that gay culture that was so expressive that was captured by Caucasians and appropriated. But when you look into ballroom back in the 60s and 70s, it was always about being fabulous, they were always about being extravagant. The beads and features -- I keep mentioning that because I never saw beadwork like that until I saw what Pepper LaBeija and Dorian Corey made. When I look at ballroom today and I see some of the creations, people in this community can take a garbage bag and turn it into couture. We are some of the most camp people around.

*This as told to was condensed and edited by Mikelle Street. The photos were shot by Dylan Thomas.

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