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The story behind A$AP Rocky's outfit at the Met Gala 2021

The quilt-cape was designed by ERL and is inspired by American 'memory quilts'

The story behind A$AP Rocky's outfit at the Met Gala 2021 The quilt-cape was designed by ERL and is inspired by American 'memory quilts'

Yesterday, among the couture outfits of Balenciaga and Valentino, and in the middle of the Thom Browne waterfall that invaded the red carpet of the Met Gala, the outfit of A$AP Rocky attracted a lot of attention: a simple tuxedo around which the New York rapper wore, wrapped as in a cocoon, a giant multicolored quilt signed ERL,  the brand founded by the multidisciplinary creative Eli Russell Linnetz, a designer considered together with Emily Bode one of the greatest exponents of young American fashion. Linnetz is a peculiar creative, very attached to his native Venice Beach, whose style he was able to condense and sublimate, who was not only contacted by A$AP Rocky to create this look inspired by the brand's SS22 collection, but who also earned a showcase in the prestigious exhibition In America:  A Lexicon of Fashion of the Met Costume Institute with a look that is the reconstruction of an ancient baseball uniform. 

To create the quilt worn by A$AP Rocky, which is very similar to that of ERL's SS22 lookbook but not the same, Linnetz stitched together fabric scraps, remnants of vintage quilts, and even his father's bathrobe — an ancient American technique called memory quilting that was used to commemorate events by incorporating remnants of fabrics and old clothes sewn together to create a blanket that would be used for many years to come. The clothes of missing relatives, the old t-shirts of adolescence, the covers used in the cradle: all these objects that are neither thrown away nor used could become part of a quilt – and with the advance of time the quilts began to evolve incorporating the colors and patterns of the clothes of the era in which they were created. One of the main projects in this sense is The AIDS Memorial Quilt, a mosaic of tapestries, each of which commemorates a death of AIDS, started in 1987 and which today is the largest work of folk art in the world, with over 48,000 panels and a total weight of 54 tons. As Suzanne Paquette writes in her reconstruction of the history of memory quilting published on the Modern Quilt Guild website:

«By the 1830's inexpensive printed cotton fabrics were readily available due to the Industrial Revolution. It was only at this time that American women began making patchwork quilts. Quilt makers have rarely made quilts solely for utility. However, impoverished individuals who liked handwork would be more inclined to quilt with "make-do" fabrics, as many during the Great Depression did, to soothe souls as well as cover beds».

In an interview with The New York Times, Linnetz said that more than one celebrity asked him to design an outfit for the Met Gala but he wanted to focus on A$AP Rocky because it's «someone that I actually am like friends with, and believe in, and is just a nice person». The designer also said he was reluctant to create an outfit for the gala saying: «I created ERL to get away from all this music industry celebrity kind of stuff».