Ingrid Bergman's Granddaughter to Pay Haute Homage at the Met Ball

05/02/2011 at 01:30 PM ET

Ingrid Bergman Fashion
Courtesy VOGUE

Model Elettra Rossellini Wiedemann’s Costume Instititute Gala gown is more than just a fashion statement: it’s a piece of history. At tonight’s prestigious event, the 27-year-old will be carrying on grandmother Ingrid Bergman’s legacy, sporting a gown the famed actress wore in the 1952 film Europa ’51. However, when she was first presented with the Fernanda Gattinoni gown — one of two she inherited long after Bergman’s death in 1982 — Wiedemann (mom is Isabella Rossellini) initially hid the garment in storage. “It’s interesting how clothes can connect you to a sentimentality that can be very complicated sometimes,” she says in the May issue of Vogue. Only after pursuing her master’s degree at the London School of Economics did the young model find the confidence to wear the intimidating threads. Enter fashion wunderkind Prabal Gurung (right), who helped Wiedemann update the gown’s silhouette without compromising its integrity. “It was a beautiful dress with a Grecian-goddess feel, but there was too much fabric,” Gurung explains, adding that the period details were particularly exciting. “The shirring and the beading and the metal boning — I hadn’t seen that ever.” After a long discussion, the designer changed the neckline, reoriented the embroidery and shortened the front of the dress to flatter Wiedemann’s figure. The result? “It’s still the same dress,” Wiedemann says, “but it feels a little bit sexier, more contemporary, and younger.” Adds Gurung, “The beauty of this dress is its history.” Visit PEOPLE StyleWatch tonight for all the latest from the 2011 Met Ball! Justine Harman

Elletra Rossellini Style
Courtesy VOGUE

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