Image source: Getty / Taylor Hill
We say it takes a lot to get on the Met Gala red carpet. In general, an invitation seems to require some indication of notoriety, fame, and talent. But for certain groups, despite all of the above, invitations are rare, and when they do, they can be an isolating experience. That is the case of Quannah Chasinghorsea model and supporter of Oglala Lakota and Hän Gwich’in who described her The first Met Gala in 2021 as flat “lonely.”
So when Chasinghorse approached Lenise Omeasoo, a Native American beadworker, to create the jewelry for her Met Gala 2022 outfit, she made it clear she wanted to incorporate traditional aspects of Indigenous culture into the design. Omeasoo was inspired to create a literal tipis community to lean on Chasinghorse’s shoulder – a material and symbolic reminder that Chasinghorse won’t be alone.
“Quannah is one of the nicest celebrities I have ever worked with,” Omeasoo told POPSUGAR. “When I sent her the idea, she fell in love with the first idea. She’s from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and I’m the Blackfeet Tribe, so I already knew her idea was ‘traditional’.”
To create each individual Chasinghorse jewelry piece, Omeasoo uses a combination of modern and traditional materials. “I am a reconnecting native, so there is a shift between modern design and culture in my work,” she explains. Jewelry she made for Chasinghorse’s Met Gala included porcupine quills, dental veneers and deerskin, all of which Omeasoo obtained through dealings with other local artists.
After Chasinghorse selected the final design, Omeasoo had a very tight deadline, often working day and night. She admitted that out of the seven days she had to do everything, she probably slept only three full nights. But, she shares, all the effort and sleepless nights are worth it to be a part of Chasinghorse’s Met Gala experience.
Omeasoo said: “It is great and an honor to have my artwork displayed on such a large platform and on such a powerful indigenous activist as Quannah. “She really is our It girl.”
While Met Gala Omeasoo says often considered the biggest night in the fashion industry, there are some limitations when it comes to hosting the event as a Local artist. “When we consider the topic is gilded eraa lot of hard things happened to the natives, [and] During this time, we have lost a lot of land,” said Omeasoo. After discovering this, I needed to add aspects of the land to her plot. “Amid the whirlwind of hashtags, TikToks, and Discover pages, it’s easy to forget that fashion, at its core, is about expression and representation. And it’s practically impossible to have. any organization that claims to be a style authority, especially when entire cultural groups are still excluded from events like the Met Gala.For Omeasoo, the inclusion of native beads Red carpet localization is a significant step in the right direction, but she wants to see more indigenous representation in the future.
“Integrating is a must. Listening to people’s stories is a must.”
“Inclusivity is a must. Listening to people’s stories is a must. Giving opportunities to the cultures you inspire is a must,” she said. “The Indigenous fashion community is all about storytelling and when you listen, you see a fact about this land that you didn’t know.”
Chasinghorse thanked Omeasoo in Gwich’in (a language spoken by indigenous tribes in Alaska, Canada, and the western and southwestern United States) while commenting on the artist’s work Instagram post. your ability / job!” In Her own Instagram post, Chasinghorse expressed gratitude for Omeasoo’s work and talked about the meaning behind her looks in more detail.
“The beads include Tipis and traditional colors, to make me feel less alone and in a way surrounded by my community…. The traditional Lakota dress on display in the exhibition shares the same. The exact earth element is used for jewelry. So yes, on topic,” Chasinghorse wrote.
While invitations to the Met Gala red carpet are still hard to find, especially for the BIPOC community, it’s encouraging to see designers like Omeasoo create spaces for true immersion at the venues. such a famous event.
“This art form is not just a hobby, but a way of life that a lot of indigenous people use to reconnect with their culture,” says Omeasoo. “It’s a beautiful community of artists learning from each other, supporting Indigenous rights together, and now we’re getting the chance to dress up some of our best Indigenous talent. Plus The Indigenous community is growing and healing. I’m honored to be a part of that.”