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Zayn Malik Designed His Own Met Gala Outfit, Took Inspiration From Mortal Kombat and Prince


Remember Zayn Malik’s incredible outfit at the 2016 Met Gala? The theme of the gala was “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology,” and Zayn Malik’s design met the theme to a tea. Of course, many of the other designs were also worth a look, including the dress worn above by Malik’s girlfriend, Gigi Hadid—but Malik’s metal arms caused quite a love-it-or-hate-it stir on social media. Now we finally know what inspired the design!

Malik told Dazed and Confused Magazine that Donatella Versace asked him to design the outfit himself, which he was thrilled to do: “It was cool. I had seen a few people hitting me online, saying negative things about it. But I enjoyed it because they were saying I looked like a dude from Mortal Kombat, and it was actually based on a character (from the video game series), called Jax. He had metal arms, and the theme was technology, so I just took it from him… It’s a bit easy to just dress up in a suit. I like to do things that are a bit outside of that.”

So, if you were one of those social media snarksters making jokes about Zayn Malik wearing a cosplay of Jackson “Jax” Briggs from Mortal Kombat … well, you were right! But that’s not the only inspiration that Malik chose when designing the outfit. He also took inspiration from the late great Prince, fashion icon and mega-talented musician.

In Malik’s own words: “A lot of starting references for me are technology and Prince. I’m conscious in the back of my head, of how he was sort of bold and fearless in the way he decided to dress. He created another world with the clothes he wore, and it gave him an otherworldly feel, which is all part of his legend, I guess. I was really upset with the fact that he passed away. But it’s nice that we can use things now to portray what inspired us about him. That was kind of what I was doing at the Met Ball… being fearless. But I was just having fun.”

The results are pretty damn cool. If you think so, too, then here’s an exciting rumor for you: Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid are allegedly at work together on designing their very own fashion line. If that turns out to be real, I can’t wait for metal arms and glittery robot-dresses to sweep the nation this year!

(via FGT News, images via Twitter and YouTube)

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Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (, and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (