Leylah Fernandez’s Met Gala 2021 Dress Pays Homage to Venus & Serena Williams

Leylah Fernandez’s 2021 Met Gala look paid homage to an unexpected side of American history.

The Canadian tennis star, who made headlines this weekend for her run to the finals at the 2021 US Open, made a surprise appearance as well at the biggest night in fashion. Taking place last night at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the 19-year-old arrived in an elevated twist on revitalized early aughts trends. The striped black and white design comes courtesy of Carolina Herrera, delivered fresh off the runway from Wes Gordon’s spring ’22 show, which debuted during New York Fashion Week as part of the brand’s 40th anniversary celebration.

While on the surface the silhouette of the dress gives off a simply modern appeal, the design contains a deeper meaning beyond what meets the eye. As explained by the label on Instagram, Fernandez’s dress actually was inspired by a vintage spring ’98 Herrera look famously modeled by Serena and Venus Williams for Vogue in 1998.

With the theme of last night’s opening event being “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” Fernandez’s choice of attire is remarkably on-theme, honoring two of American tennis’ most legendary athletes in a sartorial twist.

leylah fernandez, dress, carolina herrera, serena williams, met gala, heels, 2021
Leylah Fernandez arrives at the 2021 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Sept. 13.

To complement the meaningful look, the Gen-Z star tapped Roger Vivier for an elevated sandal moment. The platform Broche sandals clock in at close to 5 inches in height and feature the French designer’s signature embellished buckle across a peep-toe. Rounded out with sleek satin uppers, similar sandals from the brand retail for over $2,100 at Harrods.

leylah fernandez, dress, carolina herrera, serena williams, met gala, heels, 2021
A closer view of Leylah Fernandez’s Roger Vivier heels.

Fernandez hails herself from Quebec, Canada, and was ranked 73rd in the world before her US Open tournament — now she holds a place at 23rd in the rankings. The 19-year-old athlete already has one career WTA Tour singles title under her belt from the 2021 Monterrey Open. In her junior’s career, Fernandez made it to both the Australian and French Open finals, earning a Junior Grand Slam win at the 2019 French Open. As for sponsorships, the professional athlete is backed by Asics and also has sponsorships from Birchbox, Babolat and Telcel.

Click through the gallery to find even more celebrity arrivals at the 2021 Met Gala.

Access exclusive content