Even if you’re not following the Maelstrom of the Met Gala, you’ve probably picked one or two of the best (or worst) looks of the night. A $ AP Rocky was unmistakably the crème de la crème in bespoke ERL, topped with a colorful shroud.
But the story of how Rocky settled into the quilt didn’t really become well-known until last weekend.
You see, a woman named Sarah posted about the quilt on Instagram on September 21, almost a week after the Met Gala ended. I contacted Sarah via Instagram but did not get a response until the press.
She recognized some similarities between Rocky’s puffy cocoon and an original design handmade by Sarah’s grandmother, which Sarah and her family donated to a thrift store in the San Pedro area, and believed the two were one.
“So my great-grandmother’s quilt was donated to an antique / second-hand store some time ago,” Sarah said on Instagram. “When I saw the Met Gala photo, I immediately realized it had to be the same quilt.”
According to Zak Foster, who personally remodeled the quilt, Sarah was right about the money.
“I think it’s probably the [same] quilt, ”Foster told me.“ Sarah was able to describe the parts of the quilt in detail. [so] that’s enough for me. And I like it.”
“Generations of quilters never signed their work and as a result the designer and his story were easily separated from the work itself. It is so rare to find the original designer, but given the high visibility of this particular piece, it was a real joy to witness. “
But how did the quilt made by Sarah’s grandmother end up on Rocky’s back? Pretty simple: Eli Russell Linnetz found it in the thrift store that Sarah’s family had donated it to.
“Rene Lou Padora contacted me on behalf of ERL,” Foster continued. “Rene found me on IG and asked if I would be interested in collaborating on this project. Once I knew it was for the Met Gala, I was into it.”
Foster got to work puffing up the quilt Sarah gave with a custom sewn blanket, which he woven in the original pattern using naturally dyed wool yarn.
“The intention was to remake this vintage bouffant quilt that Eli found at a thrift store in LA. Over time, the project shifted from recreating the original quilt to adding a red side… It was a smart call from Eli. “
Everything from shirts and bandanas to random pieces of red ended up with Foster’s hand-stitched red side, which added extra visual pop and a lot of weight to the original piece.
“I worked closely with Eli and Rene, swapping images of the process until we felt like we had hit the right level of layers and chaos (the two words Eli kept coming back to) “, Foster recalls.
“On the day of the final fitting with A $ AP Rocky, Eli and Rene came to Brooklyn to pick up the quilt and we had 10 minutes of IRL whirlpool together before we had to take a cab back to Manhattan.”
All in all a pretty huge company. But that was well worth the stress and effort of the self-made quilt, who never imagined his work would show up in a place like the Met.
“I grew up in rural North Carolina, but never met a real quilter until I met my partner’s grandmother in eastern Tennessee,” Foster said. “My work is largely intuitive and improvised. I don’t often have a plan when I start making a quilt. I just start cutting some fabric and see where it takes me.
“Quilts have a magic inherent in them and tapping into that magic is what brings me back and forth to the art form.”
Magic is a good word to sum up the path this quilt took from Sarah’s grandmother’s hands to the back of A $ AP Rocky.
“I found it amazing that something my great-grandmother did out of love for my mother, was used to keep her warm, and was given so that he could keep someone else warm. , ended up being used for an amazing work of art by incredibly talented people who took it to the next level, ”Sarah said.
Indeed, quilts do not only represent literal comfort, but emotional warmth as well. They embody the theme of American independence from the Met Gala and perhaps no more than the piece Sarah’s grandmother put together.
“My hunch about quilts as a fad is that a few streams have converged here,” Foster said. “First, humanity needs a lot of comfort right now. It also taps into the increased awareness of sustainability.”
“In a world of mass production, quilts are homemade, sometimes hand-sewn, and often speak to a single maker, usually someone’s mother or grandmother. This means that quilts have a deep well of energy that you just can’t buy off the shelf. “