The dress code for this year’s fashion bonanza has been unveiled as “gilded glamour”, so in anticipation we’re revisiting some of the best Met Gala looks of all time.
The first Monday in May belongs to one of the certified highlights of the fashion calendar: the Met Gala, and this year’s theme is set to offer all of the fashion exposition our hearts could ever desire.
The theme for this year’s Oscars of the fashion world is “gilded glamour”, specifically “white tie”, referencing the decadent era of American fashion in the final decades of the 19th century, which means only one thing: we can expect some serious glamour.
Continuing from last year’s In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion exhibition, this year will see Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Regina King and Lin-Manuel Miranda assume the roles of co-hosts for the glamorous affair, which will be music to fan’s ears after the Met Galas of both 2020 and 2021 were postponed.
Over the years we have witnessed some of fashion’s most revered outfits at the event: Sarah Jessica Parker and Lee McQueen in head-to-toe tartan punk, Rihanna’s ode to Rei Kawakubo’s Comme des Garçons and Kim Kardashian’s dress that spun a thousand Mrs Doubtfire memes, to name just a few.
In anticipation of this year’s inevitable high-fashion, gilded glamour bonanza, Stylist has rounded up the best Met Gala red carpet looks of all time.
Sarah Jessica Parker and Lee McQueen
In celebration of his Scottish roots, designer Alexander McQueen dressed Sarah Jessica Parker in swathes of tartan for the 2006 Met Gala.
There is no one that commits to the Met Gala themes like Rihanna, and no one that executes them with such levels of drama.
If you can’t make a political statement with your choice of clothes at the Met Gala, then when can you?
Lady Gaga’s entrance to the 2019 Met Gala was almost as dramatic as her Brandon Maxwell dress. Almost. Her 16-minute red-carpet performance involved four different iterations of her outfit: the shocking pink cape was removed to reveal a black strapless bustier gown, which was then unfastened to show off a pink fitted gown. When this was shed, an embellished bra and knickers was revealed as the final look.
Bringing a whole new meaning to the ‘naked’ dress, Beyoncé’s Givenchy creation was a glittering Met Gala moment. And we haven’t even started on the hair.
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
Forever the most stylish twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley took on vintage John Galliano for Dior as their 2015 Met Gala look.
In a sea of gowns, there is the occasional red carpet rebel. In 2018, Bella Hadid stood out from the crowd wearing an Alexander Wang bodysuit.
2018’s Heavenly Bodies theme was one of the Met’s best in terms of dedication to the theme, as Ariana Grande demonstrates here in her ethereal Vera Wang gown.
The supermodel used the 2017 Met Gala as her platform to debut her now-famous shaved head and this epic Chanel metallic trouser suit.
Taking centre stage in a sparkling Versace column gown, Naomi Campbell proves she is totally timeless when it comes to red carpet style.
Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik
The icon in this image actually isn’t Gigi Hadid’s custom Tommy Hilfiger dress, but Zayn’s bionic metal arms.
Long before Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé were stealing the show at the Met Gala, Diana Ross led the way in layers of tiered feathers.
Perhaps the most unexpected show-stealer came in the form of Frances McDormand’s incredible Valentino outfit from 2018’s Met Gala. The headpiece alone deserves a moment in the red carpet hall of fame.
Speaking of incredible headwear, Cardi B’s Moschino number proved you can never have enough embellishment in one look.
In 1996 Princess Diana made a surprise appearance at the Met Gala in John Galliano for Dior (a mere few weeks after she debuted his collection for the brand). We are still on the hunt for a slip dress this good.
Coming in at a staggering 600 hours to make, Blake Lively’s Versace gown has a little Game Of Thrones vibe to it, don’t you think?
Leave it to supermodel Kate Moss to win the red carpet in a draped piece of lamé (granted it’s Marc Jacobs) and a matching turban. No wonder she took a long hiatus after this look.
Even with no trousers, Lady Gaga still takes on ‘icon’ status.
Katy Perry goes hell for leather with the Heavenly Bodies theme (but we do feel sorry for whoever had to sit next to her at dinner).
Head-to-toe florals courtesy of Givenchy made Kim Kardashian the most talked-about attendee at the 2013 Met Gala.
This is what a real-life mermaid looks like. Fact.
Before JLo, Miley Cyrus and Kim Kardashian embraced the sheer, barely-there dress on the Met Gala steps, Cher was stepping out in this Bob Mackie creation.
Much like Rihanna, Solange really commits to her Met Gala looks – like rocking a halo behind a durag while wearing latex Iris Van Herpen.
Actor Zendaya ensured all eyes remembered her magical look from the 2017 Met Gala, opting for a Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda floral gown and blown-out natural hair.
One more Rihanna, because she really is the reigning Met Gala queen.
Images: Getty Images