The black and white floor-length gown is being auctioned on the luxury fashion label’s resale site, Encore, until Friday 29 September. The dress, made custom for the Sex and the City star, features a black velvet bodice with a v-neckline and petal-like pattern at the bottom. The gown’s ivory skirt also includes a trellis embroidery, complete with Oscar de la Renta’s signature at the train.
“When Sarah Jessica came to the office for our first design meeting, she had a binder full of references to share with Oscar. It was a truly special collaboration,” said co-creative director Fernando Garcia in a statement. “And for me, who didn’t ever go to design school, it was the biggest fashion lesson I could have gotten - on the floor of Oscar’s office.”
The commissioned piece took 224 hours to make. Nine years later, it was returned to the atelier where it was made to be restored to its original condition. Thirty per cent of proceeds from the sale of the dress will benefit the Jefferson Market at the New York Public Library.
In 2014, the And Just Like That star recounted the gown’s design process in an interview with Vanity Fair. “I said to Mr de la Renta, please let me use scarlet embroidery thread, and splash your name across the back. It was my idea. He would never in a million years have it done, he’s far too modest,” Parker said at the time.
The theme for the 2014 Met Gala was in honour of legendary designer Charles James, called “Charles James: Beyond Fashion”. The dress code called for “White Tie and Decorations” - full evening dress of white bow ties for men and evening gowns for women. Parker, along with actor Bradley Cooper and de la Renta, served as co-chairs for the annual fashion event.
Parker’s black and white gown was one of the last designs de la Renta showcased on the red carpet before he passed away in October 2014, five months after the Met Gala.
The Hollywood star and fashion icon has been a mainstay on the Met Gala red carpet - which is rolled out every May at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City - for many years. Parker recently looked back on some of her many memorable fashion moments, including the time she attended the charity event with late designer Alexander McQueen in 2006.
Speaking to Vogue in 2022, Parker explained that she “immediately” wanted to work with McQueen to design their matching tartan ensembles for the Met Gala’s “AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion” theme. However, she felt that she “didn’t really know him well enough to be so presumptuous” to assume he would want to attend with her.
“Like everybody else, I was in love with him,” she told Vogue. “I have every pin he dropped from his mouth in my possession still. I have everything he cut off in my possession still. I have things that seem like nothing, from every fitting I ever did with him in my possession.”
The groundbreaking designer died in 2010 at the age of 40, and was later commemorated by the Met Gala in 2011 with the theme “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty”.
For last year’s Met Gala, Parker paid homage to the first Black female designer in the White House - Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley - in a black and white gown designed by Christopher John Rogers.
However, the style icon has maintained that preparing for fashion’s biggest night of the year should be “labour intensive”.
“All I ever think about is the theme and influence,” she told Vogue in April 2022. “Whenever I go to the Met, I don’t understand how everyone else doesn’t spend seven to ten months working on it. Like how do you not arrive exhausted by the details of getting it right?”
“It would be so easy to find a beautiful dress to wear that night,” Parker added. “Like that would be a great relief and like going on vacation. But that is not the assignment, the assignment is the theme.”