With the 2023 Met Gala coming up sooner than anyone expected, we’re itching to see more of the showstopping looks celebrities rock on the prestigious red carpet. From the insanely elaborate looks from the fan-favorite 2018 Met Gala theme of “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination” to the stunning and colorful looks everyone forgot about from the 2007 theme “Poiret: King Of Fashion,” there’s a reason why the Met Gala is the biggest night in fashion.
Almost every look that hits the red carpet is something special, but something magical happens when a celebrity arrives in a look that everyone will associate with that theme for years to come.
Now, here’s the thing: so many celebrities come in gorgeous looks every year. It’s easy to have a gorgeous look, but a stunning look that matches the theme? Those have become a bit of a rarity. As many saw with the 2022 Met Gala, many looked incredible but didn’t hit the theme given, and it angered quite a few people. So instead of looking at all of the ever-so-sparkling looks since the 1970s, why don’t we look at the best looks that perfectly matched the themes?
Check out the very best red carpet fashion moments on the Met Gala red carpet since its inception below:
Billie Eilish (2022)
For the Gilded Age theme, Billie Eilish donned this upcycled, custom Gucci gown that perfectly fit the timeframe of honoring the late 1800s to early 1900s
Blake Lively (2022)
For the 2022 Met Gala, Blake Lively donned a blue and pink dropout Atelier Versace gown, which she paired with Lorraine Schwartz jewelry. This gown was inspired by the Empire State Building, which fit the theme of “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” and the extravagance of the caped detail (and the reveal) fit the Gilded Ages theme.
Cardi B (2022)
Can you even mention the 2022 “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” without mentioning Cardi B’s extravagant Atelier Versace gown?! For Gilded Glamour, she was the gilded glamour, with this golden chain look throughout.
Billie Eilish (2021)
For Billie Eilish’s Met Gala debut for the 2021 theme of “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” she decided to honor old Hollywood by wowing in this peach ballgown from Oscar de la Renta that gave Marilyn Monroe vibes.
Emily Blunt (2021)
Emily Blunt was deeply inspired by the Statue of Liberty for her look for the 2021 theme of “In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion.” She donned a sparkling Miu Miu gown, with a matching headdress that perfectly fit the theme.
Katie Holmes (2019)
Since the 2019 Met Gala theme was all about extravagance in the name of Camp, it makes sense that Katie Holmes would arrive in a showstopping gown like this one. Not only was this Zac Posen gown made of 300 yards of multi-layered hand-sewn colored tulle, but it took them 56 hours to make, per People.
Kim Kardashian (2019)
When you think of extravagance at the Met Gala, chances are you think about this latex Thierry Mugler dress Kim Kardashian wore to the 2019 Met Gala themed “Camp: Notes On Fashion.” Not only did this dress take the legendary designer out of retirement, but it took him over eight months to make.
Lily-Rose Depp (2019)
For the theme of “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” Lily-Rose Depp channeled opulence by channeling a total ’90s supermodel in this archival early ’90s Chanel piece.
Law Roach & Zendaya (2019)
Zendaya was an IRL princess when she broke the internet with her Cinderella-inspired look for the 2019 Met Gala. She and her stylist Law Roach embodied the Camp theme by not only donning these ensembles (with Zendaya in a light-up, color-changing gown from Tommy Hilfiger), but also their mini Disney performance.
Lady Gaga (2019)
Lady Gaga was the definition of extravagance and drama for the Campy theme at the 2019 Met Gala. She arrived in a hot-pink caped gown from Brandon Maxwell (which also had a seriously long train!) Like a Russian Doll, she ended up changing into more and more outfits underneath her. After the poofy pink gown, she showed off a black ballgown, then a pink slip dress, and then a sparkling black fishnet lingerie set.
Blake Lively (2018)
Nearly five years later, we’re still daydreaming about with Blake Lively’s custom red and gold Versace gown. For the 2018 Met Gala, she arrived in a fully custom outfit, and a custom-made halo by Lorraine Schwartz. In an interview with Vogue, Lively even said that this was her “favorite dress ever.”
Ariana Grande (2018)
For Ariana Grande’s Met Gala debut at the 2018 event themed “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination,” she came in a dress that was the definition of ethereal. She donned this tulle Vera Wang gown that had the Sistine Chapel design all throughout it, which was a perfect match for the theme.
Chadwick Boseman (2018)
Let’s face it, Chadwick Boseman won the Met Gala back in 2018. To honor the religious themes of the “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination” Met Gala, Boseman rocked this caped, all-white Versace ensemble topped with golden religious accents.
Lana del Rey (2018)
Many believe Lana del Rey had the most dramatic gown of the night at the 2018 Met Gala. Not only did she take on many religious themes throughout with her angel-winged headdress and heart and dagger gold accent, but she wowed in this intricate, crystal-embellished Gucci gown.
Katy Perry (2018)
Katy Perry was truly an angel when she arrived at the 2018 Met Gala. She took the theme “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination” to a whole new level by rocking a gold, chainmail mini-dress from Versace, with matching knee-high boots, and the ultimate accessory: jewel-encrusted white wings
Kendall Jenner (2017)
The 2017 Met Gala theme of “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art Of The In-Between” was all about fashion “in-betweenness” and negative space, which is why Kendall Jenner’s look was perfect for the event. This La Perla gown not only had cutouts and high slits that played on her figure, but it was made with a chainmail fabric that really played with the idea of in-betweenness.
For the 2017 Met Gala “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art Of The In-Between,” Rihanna donned the Comme des Garcons designer’s 3D petal-like embellished gown that perfect embodied the theme.
Claire Danes (2016)
Now, this pale blue Zac Posen ballgown Claire Danes wore for the 2016 Met Gala “Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology” may seem ordinary, but it’s anything but! For the technological advancement theme, she decided to wear this dress that lit up in the dark like the night sky!
For the 2015 theme “China: Through The Looking Glass,” Rihanna donned one of the most dramatic and iconic looks to date. She decided to wear an ornate look by Chinese designer Guo Pei that was a yellow caped look with a gorgeous fur trim and a detailed headpiece.
For Zendaya’s Met Gala debut for “China: Through The Looking Glass,” she opted to focus on the sun motifs that have circled in different regional fashion looks in this mini-dress from Fausto Puglisi.
Sarah Jessica Parker (2015)
For the 2015 Met Gala: “China: Through the Looking Glass,” Sarah Jessica Parker arrived in an H&M gown she collaborated on for the occasion, along with an ornate dragon-inspired headpiece from Philip Treacy. She revealed in a previous interview with Vogue that this took so much research to create.
Karolina Kurkova (2015)
While many arrived in long gowns for the 2015 “China: Through The Looking Glass’ Costume” theme, Karolina Kurkova kept it short and sweet (literally) with this red and gold silk Tommy Hilfiger gown that perfectly embodied the theme of Chinese designs influencing the West.
Karolina Kurkova (2014)
Now, the 2014 theme of “Charles James: Beyond Fashion” was all about the designer’s prolific career from the 1920s to 1978, so many were expected to arrive in architecturally mesmerizing gowns. And let’s face it, Karolina Kurkova’s Marchesa gown was the perfect example of pushing the boundaries with silhouettes in ballgowns.
Miley Cyrus (2013)
The 2013 Met Gala theme “PUNK: Chaos to Couture” was all about seeing how the punk rock movement has impacted high fashion. While a lot of the edgy clothes were head-turning, Miley Cyrus’ debut dress was the perfect mix of high-fashion and edge. This sparkling fishnet Marc Jacobs still lives in our minds rent-free.
Carey Mulligan (2012)
For the 2012 theme “Schiaparelli And Prada: Impossible Conversations,” this theme was all about the “striking affinities between Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada,” per the Met website. So for the event, Carey Mulligan perfectly matched the theme with this metallic gown by Miuccia Prada.
Gisele Bundchen (2011)
While many arrived in different designers for the 2011 Met Gala themed “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty,” Gisele Bundchen arrived in a showstopping red gown from the designer to honor him.
Anne Hathaway (2010)
For those that don’t remember, the 2010 theme of “American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity” was a tribute to femininity and the power of choice. Because of this, Anne Hathaway arrived in a sparkling tulle Valentino gown. (She topped the look with a glittering Ferragamo clutch and Bulgari jewels!)
Joy Bryant (2010)
Going off the theme’s focus on women’s fashion from the 1890s to the 1940s, Joy Bryant arrived in a gorgeous tulle, marble-patterned Marchesa gown inspired by the silhouettes of 1920s-1930s dresses.
Heidi Klum (2009)
Since Heidi Klum is one of the classic supermodels, it makes sense she’d wear a look that’d ensure all eyes were on her for the 2009 theme of “The Model As Muse.” For the event, she donned a navy and black tulle gown from J. Mendel.
Elizabeth Hurley (2009)
The 2009 theme “The Model As Muse” was all about honoring the iconic models of our time. So Elizabeth Hurley wowed in a floral, nude Elie Saab gown that was a beautiful modern take on one of the exhibits from that year, per Met.
Kirsten Dunst (2009)
Kirsten Dunst’s “The Model As Muse” look from 2009 focused more so on the exhibit’s 1947 to 1997 spin. She wowed in this navy, beaded and fringe-sleeved gown.
Naomi Watts (2008)
For the 2008 Met Gala theme “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy,” everyone arrived in something that they interpreted towards the theme. Some arrived in looks that showed how much the gala has changed over the past few decades, and some arrived in something that embodied the superhero theme. For Naomi Watt’s look, she not only wore a Thierry Mugler gown that took old Hollywood themes with a jazzed up, more modern interpretation, but she added the superhero touch with the sparkling star in the middle
Christina Ricci (2008)
Christina Ricci’s romantic pink and red wrapped Givenchy gown really focused on the fantasy part of the theme “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy.”
Cate Blanchett (2007)
Back in 2007, the theme was “Poiret: King Of Fashion,” which honored the designer for freeing women from corsets and getting them into fun, loose clothing. To capture the 1920s-esque magic this brought, Cate Blanchett nailed it with this golden-fringed Balenciaga gown.
Emily Mortimer (2007)
Emily Mortimer’s ruched blue Chanel gown continued the theme of being free perfectly for the 2007 theme of “Poiret: King Of Fashion.”
Sarah Jessica Parker (2006)
One of Sarah Jessica Parker’s most well-known Met Gala looks to date is this tartan gown from Alexander McQueen.
Charlize Theron (2006)
The 2006 theme of “AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion” was all about British ideas and trends, so it makes sense Charlize Theron donned an elaborate silk red ballgown that showed off the luxurious times of the country.
Amanda Peet (2005)
When the 2005 Met Gala had the theme of “The House of Chanel,” Amanda Peet nailed it perfectly. The museum honored Coco Chanel’s looks throughout the years, putting the focus on her modern ruffled looks (so this look truly understood the assignment!)
Scarlett Johansson (2004)
For the 2004 theme “Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century,” guests were expected to arrive in something inspired by the “aesthetic interplay with art, furniture, and the broader decorative arts between 1750 and 1789,” per the Met website. For Scarlett Johansson’s Met Gala debut, she wowed in this silky yellow Calvin Klein dress that was a modern, chic take on the grand coquettish dresses of the day.
Jamie Lynn DiScala (2004)
Jamie Lynn DiScala went all out the same year, going for more of the elaborate side of the coquettish theme in this silky golden ballgown.
Gisele Bundchen (2003)
Gisele Bundchen nailed the 2003 Met Gala’s theme of “Goddess: Costume Institute Benefit Gala” with this Dolce & Gabbana gown. This pale blue, fringe gown was a beautiful modern take on the Greek Goddess themes in that year’s exhibit.
Maria Shriver (2001)
Back in 2001, the theme was “Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years,” and as you can imagine, people decided to rock looks the former first lady would’ve worn during her time. To honor the fashion icon, Maria Shriver donned a simple taffeta gown reminiscent of the simple looks Kennedy wore in the White House.
Before the 2013 Punk theme, there was the 1999 Rock Style theme, which Iman nailed. The theme was all about how rock performers have influenced fashion, so Iman used her look to focus on the cutouts, darkness, and lavish coat styles.
Diana, Princess of Wales (1996)
We love when royalty makes an appearance at the Met Gala, and people still talk about when Princess Diana arrived at the 1996 Met Gala themed “Christian Dior” in a silky navy Dior slip dress. Per People, she wore it to honor her friend John Galliano’s debut couture collection as the Creative Director of Dior!
Trish Goff (1995)
Now the 1995 Met Gala theme was as straightforward as can be with the theme of “Haute Couture,” and model Trish Goff arrived in something that was the pinnacle of couture. Truly, we’re forever in love with this red ballgown.
Kate Moss (1995)
While Goff did a more dramatic approach to the theme, Kate Moss focused on the simpler side of couture by rocking this lemon Calvin Klein slip.
Lynda Carter & Blaine Trump (1993)
Back in 1993, the “Diana Vreeland Immoderate Style” theme was all about guests arriving in looks that were all about dark drama and glamour. To capture both the playfulness and drama of the theme, Lynda Carter and Blaine Trump embodied it all, with Carter in a black lace dress and Trump in a leopard-print corset ballgown.
Gina Lollobrigida (1988)
For the 1988 theme “From Queen to Empress – Victorian Dress 1837-1888,” it was all about honoring the extravagance of Victorian dresses. Gina Lollobrigida’s gold-accented white gown gave all the Greek goddess vibes and the ornate beauty from the Victorian era, all in one dress.
Cher’s white and gold leotard look from Bob Mackie perfectly for the 1985 theme “Costumes of Royal India,” which put a heavy focus on color and patterns.
Linda Gray (1983)
1983 was another Met Gala-themed year honoring a designer, this time paying tribute to “Yves Saint Laurent 25 Years of Design.” While there were many gorgeous gowns, we truly adored Linda Gray’s plunging, black sparkling gown.
Raquel Welch (1982)
For the 1982 theme “Le Belle Époque,” guests were expected to arrive in extravagant looks inspired by the 1880s to 1940s. For the occasion, Raquel Welch donned a snakeskin dress and elaborate pearl statement jewelry to cinch the old-money vibe of the night.
Henry & Nancy Kissinger (1981)
While many ignored the theme of “The 18th Century Woman,” Henry and Nancy Kissinger got all of the extravagances from the old money the 1980s brought with these dark, furry looks.
Barbara Walters (1977)
The 1977 Met Gala theme was one to remember, because under the theme “Vanity Fair: A Treasure Trove,” it was all about the exclusive once-in-a-lifetime look into Vanity Fair’s private collection. Barbara Walters attended the affair in a sparkling one-shoulder gown, which captured the magic of the evening.
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