The designers of Jared Leto‘s cat outfit from the Met Gala on Monday (May 1) have discussed how they made the much-discussed costume.
This year’s Met Gala theme was the late designer Karl Lagerfeld, who died in 2019 and was best known for his work as the creative director of luxury brand Chanel. Leto’s outfit – a giant cat costume with paws, whiskers and big blue eyes – was a homage to the designer’s beloved white Burmese cat Choupette.
The outfit was made by production studio SCPS, whose clients include Disney, Marvel and Star Wars. According to The Guardian, they had been approached about the project only four weeks before the Met Gala. The outfit’s project manager, Joshua Balster, told the newspaper that its creation was “pretty wild – definitely a rollercoaster”.
The team didn’t find out that the outfit would be for Leto till after they had signed an NDA. “We love what Jared does on the red carpet – he’s always super creative,” Balster said. He also said that his team follow the Met Gala and they “really admire those top-notch costumes.”
The costume was largely kept in one small room as it was constructed, with a smaller team than usual to prevent leaks. “Because that was the big punchline – Jared wanted it to be super secret, and not let anyone know who the cat was until he revealed himself,” Balster said.
Leto pushed for the outfit “to be like a real cat” rather than a caricature, with the team basing its design on photos of Choupette. “I think I’ve seen every single one that’s out there,” Balster remarked. Leto also wanted its face to be “a little more soft and cute”, and in contrast, when the face was based even more on Choupette’s, it looked “a little angry”.
SCPS watched the livestream on Vogue’s website. “Everyone was super nervous,” said Balster. “Your heart’s racing. And then when we saw it we were screaming. It was such a good feeling.”
However, Aubrey Plaza, who was also in attendance, argued in an interview that Leto removed the mask too soon.
“I know about the cat. You know what…” she said to Variety, discussing the outfit. “He took that head off way too soon. He should have kept it on for longer.”
She also said he should have kept his identity secret longer as “it’s what Karl would have done.”
Both Jimmy Fallon and Lizzo also commented on Leto’s choice of outfit for the esteemed fashion event. The former quipped that seeing the 30 Seconds To Mars frontman dressed as a giant cat made him want to go and take an allergy tablet, while the latter told Variety: “I don’t know what the hell drug I took before I got here, but that cat is not real.”
Doja Cat‘s outfit was also themed around Choupette, comprised of a jewelled dress with cat ears, while her face made up to give her a cat’s snout. Lil Nas X attempted a similar theme, covered in full body paint, glitter and diamonds, with his face decked out in diamonds to resemble a cat.
Other musicians at this year’s Met Gala include recent Coachella headliner Bad Bunny, Olivia Rodrigo, BLACKPINK‘s Jennie, Jennifer Lopez, Phoebe Bridgers, Cardi B, Dua Lipa, Ice Spice, Jackson Wang, Billie Eilish, Finneas and more.