Lily Aldridge’s Met Gala Gown Has a Secret Message of Peace

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Hint: It’s under the collar of her Ralph Lauren shirt dress says stylist Elizabeth Saltzman.

When Lily Aldridge hit the Met Gala red carpet Monday night, stylist Elizabeth Saltzman made sure the model’s vibrant yellow Ralph Lauren look gave a few subtle nods to the evening’s theme, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.”

“I think this is a really elegant night and it should be treated like that, with a hint of whimsy,” says Saltzman, who worked with the Ralph Lauren team to dream up a dress that honored the evening’s dress code, while staying true to the label's all-American heritage. The result: a riff on a classic men’s shirt with rolled-up sleeves, paired with an unbuttoned skirt to reveal a flash of skin. She paired the look with layers of diamond and emerald necklaces by Bulgari, and Jimmy Choo shoes.

“It’s very Ralph, very Lily, very Met,” says Saltzman, who came up with the idea to make the dress yellow to represent one of the colors of the Vatican (it shows up in a vertical band in the flag of the Holy See). The bronze-colored rope belt around Aldridge's waist is a riff on the traditional cincture worn with liturgical vestments.

But Saltzman’s real ode to the theme shows up in an embroidered message hidden under Aldridge’s collar, which uses symbols representing different religions and ideologies to spell out the word “Coexist.” (The stylist's first inclination was to have the word embroidered on the waistband, but nobody else liked the idea of prominent religious symbols on the dress, she says.)

“Maybe nobody will see it, or maybe everyone will see it if she flashes it,” says Saltzman. What's most important is the meaning behind it. "Lily is one of the nicest people I have ever met. She is filled with love, she is filled with life, and she is all about keeping it real. And I just thought this was so cool," she says. "It's all about peace."