The 23-year-old singer attended the prestigious annual event in May (16) with girlfriend Gigi Hadid, wearing a black suit with plate armour sleeves and a white shirt.

His look caused quite a stir, but in a new interview with Dazed magazine, Zayn reveals he not only designed the look himself, but it was inspired by the Purple Rain musician, who had passed away just weeks before the event in April (16), aged 57.

"A lot of starting references for me are technology and Prince," he explained. "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. That was kind of what I was doing at the Met Ball... being fearless. But I was just having fun.”

Zayn admits he wasn't sure what to expect at the fashion gala, which is hosted by U.S. Vogue editor Anna Wintour every year and carried the theme, Manus x MAChina: Fashion in an Age of Technology - but he was honoured to be invited.

“I was asked to design my own costume by Donatella Versace!” he added with a laugh. “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.”