This Is Nell Diamond's Super Bowl


Dear ITG,

It felt totally surreal to be invited to the Met Gala. I’ve always been somebody who’s very extra, so the idea that I could attend an event like this, where the fashion is so incredible, was a total dream. I think you’re supposed to be a little low key about it—you know, chill—but I have literally never been more excited about anything.

The “Sleeping Beauties” costume exhibit theme and the “Garden of Time” dress code made it the perfect first Met Gala to attend—not just for me, but also on behalf of Hill House, my fashion and home brand. Pretty soon after realizing I was actually invited, I decided to create a dress inspired by Sir Frederic Leighton’s 1895 painting Flaming June. My mom is the one who introduced it to me. She was obsessed with it because she thought the woman in the painting looked like me. She would literally point at the reproductions and be like, ‘That’s my Nellie.’ I have the most amazing memories of being a tiny little person and hearing her say that.

The painting itself also has a fascinating history. It was basically lost from the art world for a very long time. It was sitting in an antique shop and Andrew Lloyd Weber, the real Andrew Lloyd Weber, almost bought it for some insane amount, like $10, but his mom said, ‘No more Victorian paintings.’ It was in Puerto Rico forever because Luis A. Ferré, the former governor of Puerto Rico, loved the painting and won it at an auction for an incredibly low price. It’s kind of had this renaissance and come back into fashion over the past couple of decades. It came to the Tate Modern in London in 2008—I grew up in London, and I saw it there. It’s just such a beautiful, gorgeous painting to look at.

The woman in the painting is totally naked except for some gauze, so the first thing my mind went to for my Met dress was a naked wet look. Then I remembered who I am, so instead, I took the color inspiration and some of the Grecian elements. Michael, who is the dressmaker for Hill House, got a dress form and draped it a million different times to see how the fabric could lay on the body. It was really important to me to have a waist moment because one of the reasons I was into our nap dresses was because the smocking allowed you to have a little bit of a snatched waist but still feel comfortable; personally, I always feel better if I have a waist moment. Then we wanted to connect the florals in some way, and especially after reading about the impermanence of the items in the exhibit, I really wanted to incorporate fresh flowers, which were sewn in by hand, including in the van leading up to the steps of the Met. I loved the idea that the fresh flowers would die by the end of the night, so the dress would look this way for one night only. When I changed last night, the flowers were a little bit stepped on, had petals missing, and the colors of the flowers had stained the dress in a really beautiful way. It will truly never look the way it originally looked again.

Leading up to the Met, I definitely went overboard to prep my skin. I started out with Dr. Dennis Gross, who I’ve been seeing since I was 22. I do Botox with him on my forehead and eyes, and he always has such a light touch and knows exactly what I need. That’s just my usual, but about three to four weeks ahead of the Gala, I came in for a little touch up. I also see Lia Trojansky at Dr. Gross. She does lasers and chemical peels. Last summer, I had acne for the first time—even as a teenager I didn’t have acne—and she kind of saved me. She would always say I should try microneedling, so a couple of months before the Met, I tried it. I had maybe three or four days of a super, super red face, but I definitely noticed a difference in terms of pore size and the general health and tone of my skin. She also had me do one more Laser Genesis, which I’ve been getting from her unrelated to the Met, with a little peel on Friday.

On Sunday afternoon, I saw Elizabeth Grace Hand, the founder of Stallë Studios. First of all, it was the most relaxing facial I’ve ever gotten. It took two hours, which included a CO2 mask, microcurrent, and Lyma Laser, but nothing harsh like extractions. I could not recommend it more before a big event.

For my beauty look, I wanted to incorporate some of the Pre-Raphaelite cornerstones, like rosy cheeks and pale skin, which isn’t hard for me. [Laughs] Honestly, the look wasn’t too dissimilar to my usual makeup look. I had less eyeliner on than I usually do, but I still had a winged eyeliner, which is my signature, because I still wanted to feel like myself. Overall, I just wanted to feel fresh and dewy, truly like I emerged from the riverbank. Isabel Rosado did my makeup using Chanel Beauty. She prepped my skin with the Sublimage La Crème first. For the rosy cheeks, she used the Le Blanc Rosy Light Drops, a mix of two Joues Contraste powder blushesRose Initial and Quintessence, and the Lumière de L’Ocean illuminating powder. We used three products for my lips: Rouge Coco Flash in Ferveur, Rouge Allure Ink in Amoureux, and Le Crayon lip pencil in Rose Poudré. Instead of my usual black liner, we did a softer warm brown with a little gold fleck using Stylo Ombre et Contour eyeshadow liner in Electric Brown and Nude Éclat.

Rosibel Del Jesus did my hair using a mix of R+Co products and T3 tools. I often wear my hair in natural waves, but I wanted to elevate it with more height at the crown for a sleek, effortless look. I had flowers tied by hand in my hair, too. Actually, those flowers, and the ones on my dress, were my perfume for the evening. There were hundreds of them, so you could really smell them.

Ami Vega did my nails the morning of. I’ve worked with her before for Hill House, and she is fabulous. She used Base 02 and 03 from the Kokoist x Nail Thoughts collab. I never wear nail polish on my hands, and I usually keep them super, super short. People are always surprised because everything else I do is so high maintenance, but I have a hard time typing with nails and with my kids it’s just a lot. But I love an excuse to have long nails. I feel like I have a new personality when I have them on.

I did lymphatic drainage at Ricari Studios three times last week—somebody who goes to the Met all the time told me to go. It made me feel so healthy. I’ve had three kids, so I hold a lot of bloat in my stomach and I definitely felt less bloated there. Doing pilates at Forma really helped, too. It’s the hardest class ever, but it’s so good.

One of the coolest things that I didn’t realize beforehand is that you get to spend time in the actual exhibit. I’m such a museum person, and I had a really early call time, which was amazing. Being basically alone in the exhibit in your gown, right after going through the red carpet, was a huge highlight—and it didn’t hurt that Matt Damon was standing right there looking at it, too.

Nell Diamond

—As told to Daise Bedolla

Photographed by Emma Craft at The Mark Hotel on May 6, 2024. Red carpet photos via Getty Images.