The 2021 Met Gala may not be happening until September, but aspiring designer Brendan McCann brought some vaccine-inspired glamour to the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art to celebrate the "first Monday in May."
The striking photos have gone viral, garnering tens of thousands of likes and shares. McCann told TMRW that it also led to an outpouring of support and connections with other designers and creatives.
"It's so flattering and really overwhelmingly kind," McCann said of the response to his post. "Especially at a time like this, when you learn to appreciate others and others' input so much (after) spending so much time by yourself and being isolated like we've all been for a year or so."
McCann told TMRW that the elaborate outfit was made mostly of materials that he already had at home and are simpler than they might appear: The hand-drawn vaccination cards were made with oaktag and poster board, supported by old wire coat hangers, and the clear plastic of the syringe is a table cover glued into place. The needle is actually made of a retractable back scratcher with the end removed. In all, the project took about a week to complete.
"I had, I would say, probably 75% of the things, just from other projects that I've done or other things that I've made in my craft box," he said. "I did go to the dollar store and pick up a few things I just didn't have that I knew I needed ... That's just always something that I've done; it's kind of my style. I don't want to say it's all household items, but it's all stuff that you would just have in your apartment."
This isn't the first time he's made a Met Gala outfit: Last year, while he was isolated in his New York City apartment and heard the gala was cancelled, he made his own dress.
"I had all of this time on my hands, like everybody else," he said. "Last year the theme was 'About Time,' and so I just one day came up with the concept of 'Time is Money.'"
The look also used household items, like a pair of green curtains and a kitchen clock. McCann said it had a "good response," but didn't go nearly as viral as the vaccine dress. He described the support for the science-inspired look as "really crazy."
"It's just so wild to me to be so connected with all of these people, from literally over the world, just paying me these compliments that I never expected to get," McCann said. "Really, it was just something that I was doing for fun. I knew that the people who got a kick out of it last year would be like, 'Oh, god, he's done it again,' and have a good laugh over it, but I mean, this is just kind of wild."
McCann said that he was even getting a big reaction in person when he took the photos at the popular museum.
"I was like 'I don't think it's going to be a huge problem, people see crazy s*** in New York all the time,'" McCann said. "... Across the street (from the museum), I put the outfit on, and as soon as it was on the doorman from the building that (the photographer and I) were in front of whipped out his phone and started talking pictures ... I didn't realize until then that this was crazy, that people haven't seen anything for a year. I was really coming out of the gate strong."
McCann said that the rest of the photo shoot, which lasted only about 10 minutes, was "really fun."
"I just tried to zone it out, but people were definitely getting a kick out of it," he said, noting that because of the nice weather, the steps of the museum had been crowded. "... Everybody was really, really kind."