Vanessa Hudgens's Met Gala Hair Was Inspired by a "Galactic Ballerina"

Her hairstylist gives us the exclusive details.

Vanessa Hudgens 2023 Met Gala look


Vanessa Hudgens has been on a moody kick with her style lately, and you’ll be hard-pressed to see her in an outfit that doesn’t include a bit of black strewn throughout. Case in point: she recently wore a vintage black and white Chanel dress to the Oscars, and her Instagram has been full of gothy outfits accessorized with tiny black framed sunnies and platform boots. The theme for tonight’s Met Gala is “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty”, and she hit the nail on the head with a gorgeous black and white ballerina gown. 

Hudgens wore a Michael Kors gown that’s equal parts chic and sexy, with a black tulle cut-out top, a black train, and a white skirt that nods to Karl Lagerfeld’s iconic black-and-white color block designs. The dress features hand-stitched camellia flowers, and she paired it with black leather platform sandals, black stud earrings, and her engagement ring. 

vanessa hudgens

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Her hairstylist, Daniella Priano, created a futuristic ballerina bun using T3 hot tools. “Our inspiration was a galactic ballerina—as an homage to Karl tonight, we modeled the structure of Vanessa’s hair on the iconic Chanel camellia flower," she exclusively tells Byrdie.

Creating a flower ballerina bun is almost too perfect for an event honoring Lagerfeld, and it takes a person with a certain knack for fun looks to pull it off. Priano says of Hudgens, “Vanessa is always a dream to work with because she loves exploring different references and pushing things creatively. It’s so fun to work with her on huge nights like this because she’s always game to do intricate styles.”

Priano first prepped Hudgens’s hair by applying the SexyHair Big Altitude Bodifying Blow Dry Mousse ($21) from the midshaft to her ends and then blew her hair out with T3’s Featherweight StyleMax Hair Dryer ($200) to lock in a sleek look.

daniella priano finishing vanessa hudgens's hair

Daniella Priano

“We wanted her final style to resemble a full flower with many petals, so I used Great Lengths hair extensions to add more length, body and hair to shape,” says Priano. “We went with 22” length, tape-ins and blended two shades: 1B (Espresso) and 02 (Cocoa Rich), for dimension. I first sectioned off very clean, 1/8” sections of her hair. Section by section, I placed one tape-in extension adhesive side up and pulled 1/8" of natural hair on top of the adhesive and pressed down. Then, I took another tape-in piece and secured the hair by placing it on top of this joined unit.” Priano continued applying extensions until she had enough volume to construct the camellia flower bun.

Danielle priano finishing vanessa hudgens's hair

Danielle Priano

“What better spring trend than to shape the hair like a flower? This look puts a fun twist on a classic slicked-back bun,” says Priano about the hairstyle. With Hudgens’s extensions ready, Priano first pulled all the strands into a ponytail and then split the hair into two sections. “I braided each section and started wrapping each braid around itself, pinning as I went,” Priano tells Byrdie. “I delicately pulled a little bit of hair from the braids to create the look of flower petals, applying SexyHair Powder Play Lite Texture Powder ($20) gently into each petal.” Then, Priano pinned the remaining ends to the side of Hudgens’s head and fanned them out for an otherworldly geometric look. To ensure that her hair stayed put throughout the night, Priano generously sprayed the star's hair with the SexyHair Spray & Play Harder Firm Volumizing Hairspray ($21).

“As a final step, I used T3’s SinglePass StyleMax Flat Iron ($150) to press the ends of her hair into a glassy leaf structure to resemble the leaves of a flower.”

Hudgens’s makeup artist, Tonya Brewer, used all MAC products to create a black graphic wing and accentuated Hudgens’s complexion with a rosy blush and a nude lip. Her nail artist topped off the couture goth vibes with a black almond-shaped manicure with a single silver line of polish that travels down the center o the nailbed.

Hudgens reveals in an Instagram post, “Michael Kors wanted galactic ballerina glam—so that’s exactly what we did.” We can confirm: no one did galactic ballerina like Hudgens did tonight.

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