Emmy, Grammy and Tony winner Cynthia Erivo attended the 2022 Met Gala in Louis Vuitton. She wore a bright white, tall headwrap decorated with minute pearls and a lace dress with a lengthy train. Erivo was styled by Jason Bolden and her ensemble was a call back to when Creole women in Louisiana were legally required to cover their hair. In response to the racist law (born of insecurity stemming from how Black women adorned their hair), Southern women swept their hair up with stunning headwraps.
The 2022 Met Gala’s theme was “Gilded Glamour,” a reference to America’s Gilded Age which began in 1870 and ended in 1900.
According to Bitch Media, beginning in 1769, Louisiana women could purchase their freedom from slavery. With their new money and autonomy, they began to dress differently, specifically taking pride in their hair. They were also catching the eyes of men who were not Black. Hearing the constant criticism from White women, Governor Miró concluded he could attempt to keep the peace in society and keep free Black women oppressed by demanding they cover up a source of their joy.
The law that forced Louisiana women to hide their hair was called “tignon law.” Tignon is a piece of cloth specifically worn as a turban. The 1786 law was enacted by Louisiana’s governor, Esteban Rodriguez Miró.
As a retort, women began decorating their tignon and transformed it into an accessory of pride.
“In Black culture, what you’ve watched so many people be able to do is to [turn] hardship into something that becomes desirable, fashionable, and iconic,” Bolden said of tignon to Vanity Fair. He confirmed the law was the inspiration behind the outfit.
Though the tignon law ended when the French purchased Louisiana in 1803, it had a lasting impact on the way Black women chose to wear their hair. Women continued to wear the headscarf as an emblem of self-regard.
Check out more photos of Cynthia Erivo’s Met Gala look below.