Katy Perry brought her A-game when she performed on Wednesday night at the Harper’s Bazaar Icons party at The Plaza. We were curious to learn more about her custom gown, which we discovered is a WHOYOUARE design collaboration between fashion director B. Akerlund and Network WHOYOUARE designer Michael Schmidt. Akerlund, who basically put together the look in a week with 300 hours of labor, fills us in on how she created one of the most memorable looks of New York Fashion Week.
How did you come up with the idea for the dress?
I was inspired by Swedish installation artist Martin Bergström, and Katy Perry wanted something super special so I took it to a new level by working with designer Michael Schmidt and Swarovski who created the dress with 200,000 Swarovski crystals, 3,000 leaves, bark, and berries. The cherry on top was me applying 200 live butterflies to make the dress come alive.
Where was the gown created?
The gown was made in Los Angeles and shipped in a box that was 4-by-6 feet tall.
How much does it weigh?
It was not so much the weight, it was the volume that was a challenge.
Did Katy Perry have any input on the design and creation?
It was a vision she wanted executed and I took her lead on it.
Did you also create the mask?
No, the mask was created by Philip Treacy for Alexander McQueen and was sent from his archive in London.
What was it like working with Katy on this collaboration?
It was a magical moment. I will never forget orchestrating 200 butterflies on her dress five minutes before show time.