Hillary Clinton returns to the Met Gala red carpet after 21 years wearing gown embroidered with the names of 60 women who ‘inspire’ her including Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt and her own mother

  • Hillary Clinton on Monday night attended the Met Gala for the first time since 2001, when she was a newly-elected senator for New York
  • Clinton, 74, wore a burgundy Joseph Altuzarra dress designed to honor women who she said had inspired her
  • The strapless gown had names of women including Harriet Tubman, Sacagawea, Eleanor Roosevelt and her mother, Dorothy Rodham, sewn into the seams
  • She was accompanied by her longtime aide, Huma Abedin, who wore a strapless bright yellow outfit

Hillary Clinton on Monday attended her first Met Gala in 21 years, wearing a dress designed to send a powerful message to those who came near her.

Clinton, 74, worked with designer Joseph Altuzarra to pay tribute to celebrated women of the past, with 60 of their names sewn into her burgundy strapless gown.

Asked for the inspiration, she said she was discussing ideas with the French-American designer and came up with the concept. 

‘I said, ‘What about American women in the past who have inspired me?” she explained to red carpet interviewers Vanessa Hudgens and Hamish Bowles, Vogue Editor at Large.

Clinton said the initial list was excessive, so they limited it to women who were dead, and whittled it down to 60 names.

The names of Harriet Tubman, Sacagawea, Eleanor Roosevelt and her mother, Dorothy Rodham, were among those sewn into the hem and neckline – along with Madeleine Albright.

Hillary Clinton is pictured on Monday arriving at the Met Gala in her custom-made Altuzarra

Hillary Clinton is pictured on Monday arriving at the Met Gala in her custom-made Altuzarra

The gown featured names of women Clinton admired sewn into the neckline - among them Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to get a medical degree in the US; Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross; and Harriet Tubman, the abolitionist

The gown featured names of women Clinton admired sewn into the neckline – among them Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to get a medical degree in the US; Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross; and Harriet Tubman, the abolitionist

Clinton said that she was discussing with Altuzarra how best to interpret the theme, 'Gilded Glamor'

Clinton said that she was discussing with Altuzarra how best to interpret the theme, ‘Gilded Glamor’

The former secretary of state waves as she arrives at the New York museum

The former secretary of state waves as she arrives at the New York museum

Clinton is seen on Monday enthusiastically greeting a friend on the red carpet

Clinton is seen on Monday enthusiastically greeting a friend on the red carpet

Monday marked the first time that Clinton has attended the Met Gala since 2001

Monday marked the first time that Clinton has attended the Met Gala since 2001

She also chose Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to get a medical degree in the US, and Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross. 

Clinton was accompanied by her longtime aide Huma Abedin, in a strapless yellow gown. 

Clinton’s gown featured a nod to the exhibition accompanying the gala, as it drew inspiration from a piece featured in the exhibit.

Huma Abedin, Clinton's longtime aide, attended the event with her

Huma Abedin, Clinton’s longtime aide, attended the event with her

‘It reflected Joseph’s interest in what were called friendship quilts, that women used to embroider sayings, or phrases or the names of families and friends,’ Clinton said.

Altuzarra told Vogue.com: ‘The quilt was an opportunity for women to get together and have this social interaction. 

‘They were often a kind of memory for women of their community and families, especially if they didn’t stay in one place all their life.’ 

The 39-year-old added: ‘I do think America has a very rich and long history of folk craftsmanship, which I thought was a really nice story to allude to. 

‘People who aren’t famous but who would quilt at home and create things for their families.’ 

Altuzarra, who has previously dressed stars such as Salma Hayek and Evan Rachel Wood for the Met Gala, said he knew that Clinton would draw attention.

‘For better or worse, whatever she wears is dissected and analyzed so thoroughly that you have to be very thoughtful about the choices that you make,’ Altuzarra said. 

‘Obviously I was thinking about making her look great, but I was also thinking about the story she’s going to be telling through this dress, and how she would actually vocalize that when people ask her about it. 

‘I wanted that story to be something she felt a personal connection to.’ 

List of names sewn onto Hillary Clinton’s dress 

Abigail Adams

Shirley Chisolm

Madeleine Albright

Sacajawea

Harriet Tubman 

Eleanor Roosevelt

Rosa Parks 

Lady Bird Johnson 

Dorothy Rodham

Elizabeth Blackwell

Clara Barton

Rebecca Lee Crumpler

Mary Edwards Walker

Grace Hopper

Dorothy Irene Height

Alice Stokes Paul

Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Margaret Madeline Chase Smith 

Sally Kristen Ride

Ellen Tauscher

Florence Griffith Joyner 

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