When Mayor Eric Adams showed up on the red carpet for his first Met Gala on Monday, it wasn’t only his statement tuxedo that made a splash — it was his elegant date.
Adams — who was reportedly “dying to go” to the ball — escorted longtime girlfriend Tracey Collins, 53, wearing a Grecian-inspired white Oscar de la Renta caftan adorned with rue-leaf sequined details at the shoulders.
For Collins, an author and assistant superintendent at the city’s Department of Education, it was only her second big public event alongside the mayor since his Times Square inauguration on New Year’s Eve.
“I was really surprised to see her there with him,” said one Adams friend. “Nobody knows her. She wasn’t there on primary day, she wasn’t there on election day, she wasn’t there the day he got the Brooklyn borough presidency.”
But Adams, 61, introduced Collins as “my other half” to the glitzy crowd at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Collins, who lives in a two-bedroom apartment in New Jersey, is the author of “Sweet Promptings,” a 2007 inspirational book. She took home $173,710 in 2020 for her work for the Department of Education where she is listed as Executive Director, School Climate and Wellness, according to public records. She volunteered for Adams when he was a state senator advising on education.
“She gets up at dawn to run the largest school system in the United States,” Adams wrote of his girlfriend in his vegan lifestyle book, “Healthy at Last: A Plant-based Approach to Preventing and Reversing Diabetes.” He noted that Collins typically worked “12 hours a day. She never gets a break.”
Collins did not return an email seeking comment Tuesday, and has kept a low profile since Adams’ election. Collins took down her LinkedIn profile after the mayoral election last year and has no visible social media presence.
Collins’ gown was not custom-made for her and is part of Oscar de la Renta’s Spring-Summer 2022 collection, a spokeswoman for the brand told The Post. The gown was a sample, loaned to Collins for the evening, but design duo Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia “advised on a selection to offer Tracey Collins,” the spokeswoman added.
A spokesman for the mayor’s office said that Vogue’s Anna Wintour helped broker an introduction for Collins in the fashion world.
“Tracey was excited to join the mayor for Monday’s Gala. On Thursday, Anna Wintour’s team at Condé Nast reached out with an offer to help dress Tracey for the event if she had not yet picked a dress,” the spokesman told The Post. “On Friday, Tracey and a member of the Condé Nast team spoke on the phone and she said she was looking for something that could be interpreted as ‘elegant glam,’ to go with the evening’s theme, and was hoping for something in white to match the colors the mayor was wearing.
“On Saturday, she was provided a few options, but the first dress she tried on looked incredible and that’s when she knew it was meant to be. She never had to try on another dress.”
The couple walked arm in arm along the red carpet, with Adams in a custom-designed tuxedo jacket — emblazoned with the message “End Gun Violence” — by Brooklyn-based and Nigerian-born artist Laolu Senbanjo. The painter, who is a former human rights lawyer, has been featured at the Brooklyn Museum and the Whitney. For the jacket, he told The Post how he created intricate hand-painted patterns of iconic New York City landmarks at the lapels and down the back.
“He specifically told me how could we show the faces of the people, the faces of injustice,” Senbanjo told The Post about his work sessions with the mayor, adding that he restructured one of Adams’ old jackets to create the anti-gun violence canvas.
Adams is a long-time fan of Senbanjo’s work, and previously wore an overcoat featuring one of his paintings at a Ralph Lauren runway show during New York Fashion Week in March.
Collins’ gown was featured on Oscar de la Renta’s Instagram page alongside photos of Katy Perry and Kris Jenner, who sported the house’s designs at the gala — the theme of which which was “Gilded Glamour.”