11 of the most controversial outfits celebrities have worn to the Met Gala

11 of the most controversial outfits celebrities have worn to the Met Gala
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kim kardashian 2019 met gala
Kim Kardashian West at the 2019 Met Gala. Doug Peters/STAR MAX/IPx/AP
  • Though celebrities often look glamorous at the Met Gala, they sometimes wear controversial looks.

  • In 2015, Sarah Jessica Parker was accused of cultural appropriation after wearing a red headdress.

  • Kim Kardashian West and Karlie Kloss later stirred debate by wearing "ugly" dresses.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Many people disliked the floral maternity gown Kim Kardashian West wore to the 2013 Met Gala.

kim kardashian 2013 met gala
Kim Kardashian walks the Met Gala red carpet on May 6, 2013. Larry Busacca/Getty Images

The long-sleeved gown, designed by Givenchy, had a high neckline, long gloved sleeves, and a thigh-high slit that revealed her matching heeled sandals.

Online, critics turned Kardashian West's look into a meme and compared the dress to a couch, Mrs. Doubtfire, and more. Years later, the SKIMS founder told Vogue that the divisive dress became "like this whole thing" and she cried "the whole way home" after wearing it.

"I was very pregnant, very puffy, and bloated and I was like, 'Oh God, of course, the first time I go I'm gonna be huge,'" she said. "That was OK with me because I never really dreamed I would be at the Met Ball. I know no one really probably wanted me there at the time."

Still, she noted that "none of the critics mattered" because the Olsen twins walked up to her that night and complimented her outfit.

Sarah Jessica Parker was accused of cultural appropriation in 2015 at the "China: Through The Looking Glass" event.

Sarah Jessica Parker at the 2015 Met Gala.
Sarah Jessica Parker attends the Met Gala on May 4, 2015. Rabbani and Solimene Photography/Getty Images

As Insider previously reported, many people said they were disappointed to see celebrities wear outfits inspired by Chinese stereotypes rather than fashion created by Chinese designers.

One star who did so was Sarah Jessica Parker. She wore a custom gown she created with H&M that was black and asymmetrical. It had one long sleeve, a thigh-high slit, and a floor-length skirt with a small train.

It was her Philip Treacy headpiece, however, that caused controversy. Many people said they felt the accessory was racist, and encouraged the "Dragon Lady" stereotype that sexualizes and villainizes Chinese women.

Model Karolína Kurková also wore an offensive outfit that year.

Karolina Kurkova at the 2015 Met Gala.
Karolína Kurková poses on the Met Gala red carpet on May 4, 2015. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Her minidress, designed by Tommy Hilfiger, was made from red satin. It had a high neckline, bell sleeves, and a cutout across her chest.

But as Fawnia Soo Hoo reported for Fashionista at the time, the look was one of many that sexualized traditional qipao or cheongsam garments.

"My big beef with the sexed-up version of a qipao is that it perpetuates the stereotype that Chinese women are 'exotic,' subservient sluts," she wrote at the time.

Madonna defended the all-black ensemble she wore to the 2016 Met Gala, which some people thought was too revealing.

madonna met gala 2016
Madonna wears Givenchy at the Met Gala on May 2, 2016. Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Her Givenchy ensemble included a black bodysuit that revealed her chest and backside worn underneath a lace overlay. She also wore leather thigh-high boots, a bejeweled headband, and layered necklaces.

After the event, Madonna addressed some of the criticism she saw on social media surrounding her outfit, and described her look as a "political statement."

"We have fought and continue to fight for civil rights and gay rights around the world," she wrote on Instagram. "When it comes to Women's rights we are still in the dark ages. My dress at the Met Ball was a political statement as well as a fashion statement."

"The fact that people actually believe a woman is not allowed to express her sexuality and be adventurous past a certain age is proof that we still live in an age-ist and sexist society," she continued. "I have never thought in a limited way and I'm not going to start."

She concluded the post by saying: "If you have a problem with the way I dress it is simply a reflection of your prejudice. I'm not afraid to pave the way for all the girls behind me‼️ As Nina Simone once said, the definition of freedom is being fearless. I remain Unapologetic and a Rebel ❤️ in this life and all the others. Join my fight for Gender. Equality! 🙏🏻"

Some people accused Kendall Jenner of copying Rose McGowan's style at the 2017 Met Gala.

kendall jenner 2017 met gala
Kendall Jenner at the Met Gala red carpet on May 1, 2017. Karwai Tang/WireImage

She hit the red carpet that year in a see-through dress designed by La Perla. The mesh gown had short sleeves, a slit across its bodice, a draped back, and a skirt that revealed her thong and had a thigh-high slit.

Teen Vogue reported at the time that some people were upset by the look because they felt it was too similar to the daring dress Rose McGowan wore to the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards.

In 2018, some were bothered by Rihanna's pope-inspired dress and headpiece.

Rihanna at Met gala 2018
Rihanna wears Margiela at the Met Gala on May 7, 2018. Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

She walked the red carpet in a white ensemble created by Margiela. It included a strapless minidress, trench-style coat, and tall mitre or headdress — all of which were embroidered and encrusted with jewels.

But as Harper's Bazaar reported, some Catholics felt her outfit — as well as others worn that night — was sacrilegious and appropriated their religion. The publication pointed out at the time that the Vatican had approved of the theme and lent outfits and accessories to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Scarlett Johansson also stirred debate that year when she wore a dress designed by Georgina Chapman, a designer and Harvey Weinstein's ex-wife.

scarlett johansson
Scarlett Johansson walks the Met Gala red carpet on May 7, 2018. Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Her off-the-shoulder dress had flower embellishments across half of its neckline, one of its sleeves, and across part of its skirt.

Chapman's brand, Marchesa, designed the gradient-burgundy gown, making Johansson one of the first celebrities to support her and her company after allegations against Harvey Weinstein surfaced, according to Nylon.

"I wore Marchesa because their clothes make women feel confident and beautiful and it is my pleasure to support a brand created by two incredibly talented and important female designers," the actress told E! at the time.

Amal Clooney made a controversial outfit change in 2018.

Amal Clooney at the Met Gala 2018
Amal Clooney walks the Met Gala red carpet on May 7, 2018. Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

On the red carpet, Clooney was seen in a Richard Quinn ensemble that consisted of a silver top, navy pants, and a floral skirt made from tinfoil. Though she looked stunning in the outfit, she later used the Metropolitan Museum's gift shop to change into a sparkling Tom Ford dress.

Page Six reported at the time that Vogue employees and members of Tom Ford's team were left feeling "infuriated" after she failed to wear the latter garment for the entirety of the event.

The drama continued when other anonymous sources told People that the situation was "blown completely out of proportion" and that "no one on at Tom Ford" was irate.

Anna Wintour also addressed the outfit change in an interview during "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," and said Clooney was worried that the Richard Quinn design would rip if she wore it the entire night, leading her to change into the second outfit.

Many people felt Karlie Kloss ignored the 2019 Met Gala's camp theme with her black-and-gold minidress.

Karlie Kloss Met Gala
Karlie Kloss stands inside the Met Gala on May 6, 2019. Kevin Mazur/MG19/Getty

She also kept her accessories simple that year, wearing gold sandals, a few rings, an updo hairstyle, neutral makeup, and studded earrings.

Many fashion fans were let down by her outfit, especially after the model hyped up her look in a tweet that said, "looking camp right in the eye #MetGala" alongside a photo of her eye looking toward a compact mirror.

Kloss later seemed to accept the criticism, saying in a YouTube video that the look was "probably not my best fashion choice."

"I could feel the reaction literally from when I walked onto the red carpet," Kloss said in the video titled "Opening Up About My Worst Ever Met Gala Look."

On the same red carpet, influencer James Charles wore a divisive Alexander Wang outfit.

james charles met gala
James Charles attends the annual Met Gala on May 6, 2019. Taylor Hill/Getty Images

His look included a see-through top made entirely from safety pins, a bandana necklace, shiny black cargo pants, pointed black boots, and an Alexander Wang logo belt and purse.

After the event, however, critics pointed out that Charles' outfit was similar to the gold-and-black mesh ensemble Zoë Kravitz wore to the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party, which the influencer criticized in a video with fellow YouTuber Tana Mongeau.

Kardashian West had another controversial fashion moment in 2019 after revealing the extreme measures she took to wear her dress.

kim kardashian 2019 met gala
Kim Kardashian on the Met Gala stairs on May 6, 2019. Doug Peters/STAR MAX/IPx/AP

Designed by Thierry Mugler, the tan button-up dress was form-fitting and made to look as if it was wet. It even had crystals hanging from top to bottom that mirrored water droplets.

In a video for Vogue released after the Met Gala, Kardashian West said she couldn't sit or go to the bathroom while wearing the dress because it was so tight.

Around the same time, people began criticizing the tiny appearance of Kardashian West's waist and said she was setting an unrealistic beauty standard. Her trainer, Melissa Alcantara, defended her at the time and said Kardashian West was "dedicated" to working out.

The KKW Beauty founder continued to upset people after saying in an Instagram post that she had to take "corset breathing lessons" in order to wear the dress.

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