The thought of slipping into a gown or bikini made from metal might make you cringe — but designer Natalia Fedner’s slinky, sexy mesh creations fit like a second skin.
“I invented this material about six years ago. It’s 100% metal and it has six-way stretch,” the Parsons School of Design grad told Page Six Style of her recently patented signature textile.
“So it has this ability, no matter what you put it on top of, to take on its shape.”
While Fedner’s chainmail-style garments come in an array of shades including silver and both yellow and rose gold, they’re all constructed with copper — and for good reason.
“It takes on the temperature of the body in about 15 seconds,” she explained of the highly conductive metal. “So it’s quite comfortable, and helps it conform to the body even more.”
As a result, many of her “very fluid” pieces, which range from about $1,300 to $3,500 in price, can expand and contract to fit sizes 0 though 16 — and even work as menswear, too.
Just ask Lenny Kravitz, who wore one of Fedner’s gold dresses as a tank top to perform during the 2015 Super Bowl, after his stylist spied a similar design on Jennifer Lopez.
Those two A-list placements started a chain reaction; in the years since, Fedner’s “frozen” a metal mesh corset in resin for Alicia Keys, designed a sultry high-slit gown for Megan Thee Stallion, dreamt up a dramatic headpiece for Beyoncé and, most recently, outfitted Amelia Hamlin in a sheer two-piece set for London Fashion Week.
She’s even launched a line of highly Instagrammable metal swimwear, as seen on Cardi B, Kylie Jenner, Doja Cat and Normani.
“I think the first celebrity to ask for a bikini was Miley Cyrus, and that was at least four years ago,” Fedner recalled. “We made some pieces, and they didn’t work out, but it forced me to develop the pattern for the bikini. There’s a lot of math in all these pieces.”
Just don’t try wearing her shimmering two-pieces into the ocean or pool: “I say it’s ‘swimwear you shouldn’t swim in,’” she joked.
While the LA-based creative can’t give away all the tricks of her trademark technique, she told us that her design process “incorporates weaving and knitting,” and that it’s incredibly time-intensive: A single gown, for instance, typically takes several weeks to complete.
But once one of her made-to-measure creations hits the red carpet on a superstar like Megan or Keke Palmer, it makes all that effort — not to mention the long hours those stars have logged at the gym — well worth it.
“This material helps you show off why you’ve been working out,” Fedner said. “It is that ‘I want to show off my body’ clothing for sure.”
Below, Fedner reflects on some of her greatest celebrity hits so far.
Jennifer Lopez in her “Booty” music video (2014)
“That’s a dress that I had designed for my collection, and I believe Rob and Mariel [Lopez’s stylists] borrowed it and it just got used!
That dress is pretty special to me, because not only is it the reason I got to work with J.Lo on such a special video — it’s pretty sexy — but it’s also the reason that I got to work with Lenny Kravitz. His stylist actually took that piece and saw how it stretched, and was like, ‘I bet you this could work on a man.’ And that’s how I got to do Lenny’s tour.”
Keke Palmer at the American Music Awards (2016)
“This was the time period when Keke was sort of getting rid of her ‘child star’ façade. She was a young woman, and she was ready to show [that] off. She wanted to be very sexy, she wanted to wear something see-through, she wanted to be noticed on the red carpet. And that look did it for her!
That look was on best-dressed lists and it was on worst-dressed lists. For some people, it was too see-through. And for other people, it was really cool and avant-garde. You want people to either love it or hate it!”
Beyoncé in “Black Is King” (2020)
“Zerina [Akers, the film’s costume designer] reached out, and she knew she wanted a headpiece. So she came to my office in New York, and we did some sketching and we came up with an idea.
Once Zerina had the headpiece, she actually went and got a bunch of these really cool gold earrings, and attached them herself to the headpiece. So it was very much a collaboration.”
Cardi B in Tulum (2021)
“Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of requests from stylists for vacation pulls. Celebrities need a lot of content, and when go on these trips, they’re bringing a photographer, they’re bringing a stylist, it’s a whole to-do.
[Cardi’s team] told me they wanted [something] see-through and sexy, so she wore a silver dress with a silver bikini underneath. There’s a lot of very sexy videos of her dancing in it; you’re welcome, Offset!”
Megan Thee Stallion at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit party (2021)
“I think I made that whole dress in three days. We used about 1,800 feet of chain for it, and I actually sewed Megan’s own bra into the dress so she would have the lift and the comfort that she needs, and feel confident.
I got to meet Megan in the process of working on this dress for her, and she’s so cool. She’s exactly who you want her to be: so down to earth, so chill. And when I work with celebrities that are so cool, I just want to go above and beyond for them.”
Kylie Jenner (2021)
“No, that was not real 24-karat gold! Kylie is a really great example of someone whose family I’ve been working with for years; I’ve dressed Kim Kardashian and Khloé and Kourtney before. But I think Kylie had pulled pieces of mine in the past with different stylists, and it hadn’t worked out.
We actually shot [this] in December, which makes sense now that everyone knows she’s pregnant; we couldn’t possibly have shot that in the last couple of months. And they had to make the packaging, which is really cool. My designs are on the packaging!”