Michelle Yeoh: Style Analyses – Met Gala and that Green Gown
This year, at the Metropolitan Museum gala in New York City, Michelle Yeoh dazzled in a green Prabal Gurung gown. Made of upcycled silk, the off-the-shoulder stunner was completed with a hand-draped bodice and a color coordinated long cape. Inspired by the daring spirit and sumptuous rigor of the Gilded Age, the dress embodied some of the most notable characteristics of the Malaysian actress: it was simultaneously energetic and serene, fresh of spirit and traditional in the way it respected the event’s grandiosity.
A cascade of precious stones, in a necklace by Tasaki that Gurung helped design, added the perfect amount of cosmic light to a legendary performer known for her otherworldly athleticism and fine emotional control – she is now playing Guanyin, goddess of mercy, in an adaptation of the graphic novel American Born Chinese for Disney+. Her hair, parted at the center, was sleek and sharp. Falling down her back, it added a boldness that made her look both statuesque and dynamic. The skin was radiant, the lipstick bold red. If you ask her about a preferred exercise routine, she will simply tell you that she loves to walk for miles. Nature and renewal are her constant companions.
Color, Black Leather & Punk
As a former ballet dancer and runway beauty able to keep her balance in front of audiences, Michelle Yeoh is used to the toughest of jobs. She makes it look cheerful when the moment is packed thick with intensity. In Hollywood, the industry that never forgets or forgives, she exhibits the same sense of ease.
Though comfortable in traditional black, her hues are often muted. Ms. Yeoh captures that flowing earthy light, a tonality associated with friendship and royalty. In a room full of frayed nerves and insecurities, she exudes calm in her soft blues.
Her punkish experiments are equally striking. Instead of making them look somber in a way that might intimidate, she polishes an edgy style vocabulary and transforms it – note the clutch adorned with graffiti lettering. She wears the clothes; the clothes do not wear her. Each outfit demonstrates a specific vision. Many truths coexist with endless fun and complexity.
Even though she was discovered by the world in a Hong Kong movie where she played a tough cop who never hesitated before clobbering an opponent, the dominant force is always serenity. At the BAFTA awards, she wore Elie Saab, the Lebanese designer known for a respectful sense of pomp and circumstance. The off-the-shoulder dress, in thundercloud blue, had metallic threads and featured sequins and cape sleeves. A necklace, purse and fur completed the glamour. The hair was full and curled.
For the afterparty, given the colder temperatures in the British capital, she reached for a fur shawl. At the London premiere of Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings, the actress confirmed that she knows what works best. A crisp white shirt contrasting with a long black skirt made with textures of pure softness created the right duality and balance. Around the waist, a light metallic belt embellished with natural motifs. The hair was kept long and sinuous, giving the ensemble a sultry vibe.
For the 2018 Governor’s Ball at the Ray Dolby Theater, Yeoh presented another Elie Saab dress in a steely baby blue. Emphasize at the shoulder that trailed the arm, and an embroidered bodice conveyed the fine intricacy that is a trademark of her talent and enduring fame. The hard-case clutch is also by Elie Saab. Robust medusa hair, fine jewelry and a watch.
Her make up is always subtle, enhancing not overpowering. Hair is varied, (l) side-parted and restrained by a bun. (c) One of the few women to have the confidence to wear glasses on the red carpet. (r) Sometimes she opts for a groomed look pulled off her face and falling straight down the back.
As a gigantic talent in Hollywood and beyond, she too has experienced the lack of inclusion. Perennial questions for all who represent a wider world lens: Would the captains of industry and the city’s artistic community ever offer her the leading role in an accessible film made for the masses? Were Asian actors destined to stay in the background? The world corrections move slowly. With impactful films – The Lady, the Golden Globe nominated Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the blockbuster Shang-Chi and the imperial presence she brought to the romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians, Michelle Yeoh has succeeded in a world skewed against her. In the new and critically acclaimed Everything Everywhere All at Once she demonstrates a character far from the calm exterior of her red-carpet inscrutability.
Her fashion choice remain measured and exact, matching a performance-master who is skillful and meticulous. No matter her on-screen persona, a sense of stability pervades on the carpet.