Elle Fanning wore a sheer, sculptural Balmain dress to the 2024 Met Gala

At tonight’s Met Gala, Great Actress Elle Fanning looked a bit like a frozen flower about to be plucked by songbirds, much like the flowers of time at the heart of JG Ballard’s 1962 short story, “The Garden of Time,” whose the 2024 Met Gala has found its theme.

In the short story, Count Axel gathers these so-called “time flowers” in order to go back in time and avoid the approach of a mob. As Ballard writes:

“The flowers reached a height of about six feet, their slender stems, like stems of glass, bearing a dozen leaves, the once transparent fronds frosted by the fossilized veins. At the top of each stem was the goblet-sized Flower of Time, the opaque outer petals surrounding the crystal core. Their diamond brilliance contained a thousand faces, the crystal seeming to drain the air of its light and movement.

So it’s clear to see where Fanning found the inspiration for her stunning crystalline Balmain dress, which indeed appears to have “transparent fronds” “frosted” with a “diamond sparkle”. The look itself, which features sculptural birds affixed to each shoulder of the bodice, sparkled like water as Fanning walked up the Met Gala steps, her Cartier earrings also catching the light.

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The breathtaking (and perfectly on-theme) look comes as Fanning enters the next iteration of her career, having recently been photographed filming the Bob Dylan biopic, A complete stranger, with co-star Timothée Chalamet in New Jersey. The two fashionable co-stars enjoying photoshoots together during the film’s press tour should be a sight to behold. As the actress told ELLE UK in 2023: “You know, I’ve been going to red carpets for a while, so I think it comes with a feeling of wanting to try new things and experiment with new looks. Sometimes they are bad, but sometimes they are good! I think that’s what’s fun.

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