NEW YORK NEW YORK  MAY 01  Yung Miami and Sean ‘Diddy‘ Combs depart The 2023 Met Gala Celebrating Karl Lagerfeld A...
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 01: (L-R) Yung Miami and Sean ‘Diddy‘ Combs depart The 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Preparing for the Met Gala With Diddy and Yung Miami

The night before 2023’s Met Gala, the penthouse of a tony midtown hotel spun with heated energy. 

On one side of the room, Sean “Diddy” Combs and his team examined a custom Sean Jean nylon taffeta, A-line puffer cape, all black and adorned with noir camellia flowers growing, as if from fractures in a sidewalk, along the seams. On the other, Caresha “Yung Miami” Brownlee, of the City Girls, underwent a makeup test as nearby trays of “CG” jewelry (in the style of Chanel’s double-c logo, “CG” for City Girls) glinted in the glow. These bijoux were made by Brownlee’s stylist for the night, Marni Senofonte. As the evening wore on, both stars’ fits would be styled, destyled, restyled, accessorized, hemmed, fitted, pinned, darted and deconstructed. It takes an army. Times two if you’re one of the highest profile duos in entertainment. 

The next night Combs and Brownlee attended the Met Gala together. But, to clarify up front: the two do not put a label on their relationship. Both are strong personalities, and each brought a distinct flair to the Met’s famed steps. 

Brownlee (better known as Yung Miami) rose to fame as one half of the City Girls, the other being Jatavia “JT” Johnson. The Florida-born rap duo that have stormed the industry in recent years with viral hits like “Act Up,” “Twerk,” and “Good Love.” They even inspired (and co-produced) an Issa Rae-made show on HBO called Rap Sh!t, which loosely follows the City Girls’ story. 

Lagerfeld’s Chanel–especially his penchant for black and white, with a spritz of pearl beading–informed Brownlee’s debut Met Gala dress. It was designed by Luca Lin of ACT N°1, with a high, open, standing tulle bust, a sheer waist-hugging and seam-taped silhouette, and a dramatic cloud of dense black tulle on the train. Pearl cords accentuate the hips. “I had them scallop it a bit more, for more of a nod to the camelia,” says Senofonte. “We were practicing, when Caresha turned over her shoulder, it’s a beautiful reveal.”

Processed with VSCO with m2 preset@brandonalmengo 

“Lagerfeld had such strong attention to detail,” says Brownlee. “I wanted to make sure my look included homages to his approach. And, like him, it needed to be innovative and unique.” She has become more and more interested in fashion as her career has ascended. Her dream industry guest on Caresha Please would be another catwalk showman: Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing. “He’s young and fun and would be a vibe on the show.” 

As for Combs, his accomplishments in music and business are immense. He’s a Grammy winner. A liquor industry titan. A record label owner. And his place in fashion is equally as impressive. With Sean John, the label he founded in 1998, Combs became the first Black man to win a CFDA Award in 2004. He pioneered the emergence of hip hop-aesthetics and luxury streetwear on the runway. “Who’s the original luxury street brand?” Combs asks. “It’s Sean John.” After selling and then buying back the business, Combs used the Met Gala’s red carpet as a preview of the energy of what’s to come from the label. 

Courtesy of Sean Combs. 

Combs wore head-to-toe Sean John, that aforementioned outerwear included. His motorcycle-jacketed suit featured hundreds of embroidered black pearls, and a cut that his collaborator—the creative director and costume designer June Ambrose—says moves the silhouette ahead. Sean John’s baggy velour trousers back in the day to something a bit more gender-neutral and fitted in 2023. Think: Higher in the waist, more fitted in the leg.

Courtesy of Sean Combs. 

“We were thinking about redefining the silhouette of a man, and I think Karl did that so well in what he wore,” says Ambrose. “Puff [Combs] paid very close attention to how things fit. How the pants were going to shape his waistline. How it was going to accentuate his male body. Men are being more conscious of their silhouette.”

“Karl was just really cool,” adds Combs. “He recognized what was up with hip hop before a lot of people did. He invited me over to his crib, we were doing a photoshoot, drinking champagne. Everything you can imagine about being a rockstar, he was.” (Combs mentions fond memories of Vogue’s “Puff Takes Paris” editorial, an Annie Liebovitz shoot from the October 1999 issue in which Lagerfeld made a cameo). 

Courtesy of Sean Combs. 

Combs takes a step back and looks at everything again. The team stands still in his orbit. “You know the bone I got to pick with y’all?” He says. “It’s that y’all killed this shit!” Across the room, Brownlee flashes a smile back through the mirror. 

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