24 times celebrities seemingly ignored the Met Gala theme

24 times celebrities seemingly ignored the Met Gala theme
·11 min read
A side-by-side of Kim Kardashian, Karlie Kloss, and Sarah Jessica Parker on the Met Gala red carpet.
Insider rounded up some of the least on-theme Met Gala ensembles. Stephen Lovekin/FilmMagic/Kevin Mazur/MG19/picture alliance/Contributor/Getty
  • The Met Gala costume party is one of the biggest fashion events of the year.

  • But famous attendees often lose sight of the event's theme when they pick their Met Gala outfits.

  • Insider rounded up the least on-theme looks from the Met Gala over the last decade.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

In 2011, host Anna Wintour wore Chanel to the "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty" Met Gala.

Anna Wintour wears a black and ombre long sleeve dress on a red carpet.
Anna Wintour at the 2011 Met Gala. Kevin Mazur / Contributor / Getty Images

The theme for the 2011 Met Gala was "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," and it was designed to honor the late McQueen and his work.

So it was a surprise that Wintour attended in a long-sleeve Chanel dress instead of a McQueen look when she expected attendees to pay tribute to McQueen.

But Wintour often wears Chanel to the Met Gala. She wore the designer to the event in 2008, 2009, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019.

Kristen Stewart chose a multicolored Balenciaga outfit for the "Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations" Met Gala in 2012.

Kristen Stewart stands on a red carpet in an animal print top, color block skirt, and white shoes.
Kristen Stewart at the 2012 Met Gala. Kevin Mazur / Contributor / Getty Images

Many stars wore Prada ensembles that made a statement. But Stewart instead wore a Balenciaga top and skirt, both of which looked out of place on the Met Gala red carpet.

Kim Kardashian West's Givenchy dress for the 2013 Met Gala was more feminine than most looks at the "Punk: Chaos to Couture" event.

Kim Kardashian attended the 2013 Met Gala while pregnant alongside husband Kanye West.
Kim Kardashian attended the 2013 Met Gala while pregnant alongside husband Kanye West. Stephen Lovekin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

The theme of the 2013 event was "Punk: Chaos to Couture," which led many attendees to wear black outfits that gave off an edgy feel.

The star's floor-length dress was covered in flowers, giving it a softer tone than other celebrities' outfits at the event.

Kardashian, who was pregnant with North West, was widely criticized for the look, and she later shared that she cried "the whole way home" from the event after she saw memes making fun of her outfit.

Cara Delevingne was arguably underdressed for the 2014 Met Gala, which had a "white tie" dress code.

Cara Delevingne wears a black crop top and white pants on a red carpet.
Cara Delevingne at the 2014 Met Gala. Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor / Getty Images

The year's "Charles James: Beyond Fashion" exhibit intended for Hollywood's biggest stars to wear elaborate and glamorous ensembles in a "white tie" theme.

Delevingne's Stella McCartney crop top and pants looked too casual next to the more formal ensembles her peers wore on the red carpet.

Madonna's Moschino dress at the 2015 Met Gala spoke to her career more than the "China: Through the Looking Glass" theme.

katy perry madonna 2015 met gala
Madonna and Katy Perry both wore Moschino at the 2015 Met Gala. Kevin Mazur/WireImage

The title of her upcoming album was printed on her dress in graffiti-like handwriting.

It wasn't obvious how the gown related to the "China: Through the Looking Glass" theme, which other celebrities embraced with florals native to the region, red garments to nod to the country, and statement headpieces.

Sofia Vergara's Marchesa dress looked like it could be worn to any red-carpet event, not just the "China: Through the Looking Glass" Met Gala.

Sofia Vergara met ball
Sofia Vergara at the 2015 Met Gala. Larry Busacca/Getty Images

The only embellishment on the strapless, pink dress were flowers on the bodice, and their connection to the China-inspired theme wasn't clear.

Gigi Hadid could have been bolder than just wearing a red dress to the "China: Through the Looking Glass" event in 2015.

Gigi Hadid wears a red dress with a slit on a red carpet.
Gigi Hadid at the 2015 Met Gala. Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor / Getty Images

Although Hadid's dress was eye-catching, the Diane von Furstenberg dress was only loosely tied to the "China: Through the Looking Glass" theme through the bright color and floral embroidery.

The Met Gala could have been a chance for Hadid to take a more daring style risk since she is a high-fashion model.

Selena Gomez's Louis Vuitton outfit didn't highlight the "Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology" theme from the 2016 Met Gala.

Met Gala 2016
Selena Gomez at the 2016 Met Gala. Evan Agostini/AP Images

Stars interpreted the "Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology" theme of the 2016 Met Gala in different ways, but Gomez seemed to ignore it altogether.

Her polka-dot dress, leather vest, and combat boots didn't incorporate technology like other stars' ensembles did.

Jeremy Scott didn't design Demi Lovato's dress to fit the 2016 Met Gala theme.

Met Gala 2016
Demi Lovato at the 2016 Met Gala. Evan Agostini/AP Images

The star's printed dress for the "Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology" gala didn't relate to the theme, but that was by design.

Jeremy Scott told W Magazine that he doesn't design outfits for the event with the theme in mind.

"I really don't participate with that whole theme thing," he said to W Magazine. "The people who curate this exhibition work on it all year and I feel like it's kind of rude for me to be so presumptuous to be like, 'Well I am going to come and give you the Chinese dress that is going to outdo yours.'"

Like Lovato, Sarah Jessica Parker's 2016 Met Gala didn't incorporate technology for the "Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology" event.

Sarah Jessica Parker wears white pants, a white shirt, and a white jacket on a red carpet.
Sarah Jessica Parker at the 2016 Met Gala. picture alliance / Contributor / Getty Images

The "Sex and the City" star might have been able to get away with wearing capri pants to the gala if they had somehow fit the "Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology" theme.

But her all-white Monse ensemble would have looked more appropriate as streetwear than a red-carpet look.

Dakota Johnson's flowy dress for the 2016 event would have been more appropriate at the 2019 Met Gala.

Dakota Johnson wears a black dress covered in multi-colored stars on a red carpet.
Dakota Johnson at the 2016 Met Gala. picture alliance / Contributor / Getty Images

The star's black Gucci dress adorned with a rainbow assortment of stars was whimsical and eye-catching – but it didn't match the "Manus x Machina" theme.

The dress might have made a splash at the 2019 "Camp: Notes on Fashion" gala, though.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas' outfit for the 2017 "Art of the In-Between" gala was too structured.

priyanka chopra Rei Kawakubo Comme des Garcons Met Gala 2017
Priyanka Chopra Jonas at the 2017 Met Gala. Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

The theme, "Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between," was intended to focus on the work of designer Rei Kawakubo, who often embraces more abstract looks.

Chopra Jonas' Ralph Lauren trench-coat dress didn't fit the theme that night because of its relative simplicity. The top of the outfit just looked like a trench coat, and the long train was the only real standout feature of the dress.

Gisele Bündchen's Stella McCartney dress was also too simple for the "Art of the In-Between" theme.

Gisele Bundchen 2017 met gala
Gisele Bundchen at the 2017 Met Gala. Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Bündchen could have worn the gray, cutout dress to any red-carpet event.

Brooke Shields didn't embrace the 2018 Met Gala's "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination" concept.

Brooke Shields at the Met Gala 2018
Brooke Shields at the 2018 Met Gala. Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Shields wore a custom Zac Posen gown, which had a strapless neckline and full skirt.

But the dress had nothing to do with the ethereal theme of the night, so it would have been better at an event that wasn't themed.

It wasn't clear how the white jumpsuit Kendall Jenner wore to the 2018 Met Gala fit the night's "Heavenly Bodies" theme.

Kendall Jenner at the Met Gala 2018
Kendall Jenner at the 2018 Met Gala. Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

The sheer Off-White jumpsuit was pretty, but the simple design didn't invoke the heavenly theme of the event, aside from the color.

Scarlett Johansson's floral Marchesa dress didn't speak to the 2018 "Heavenly Bodies" theme either.

scarlett johansson
Scarlett Johansson attended the 2018 Met Gala. Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Johansson appeared to want to make a statement with her dress rather than stick to the night's theme.

She was the first "major celebrity" to wear Marchesa — which was co-founded by Harvey Weinstein's ex-wife Georgina Chapman — since the Weinstein scandal broke, as Insider previously reported.

As Johansson told E!, she wore Marchesa to support the female designers: "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."

But the floral dress didn't adhere to the "Heavenly Bodies" theme.

Cindy Crawford's bold red dress for the "Heavenly Bodies" Met Gala was beautiful, but it wasn't clear how it related to the theme.

Cindy Crawford attends the Met Gala 2018
Cindy Crawford attends the Met Gala 2018. Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Crawford wore a red Versace dress to the event. Although it would be stunning on any other red carpet, it was a bit too simple for the "Heavenly Bodies"-themed event at the Met.

Kris Jenner's outfit for 2019's "Camp: Notes on Fashion" Met Gala was too simple for the over-the-top theme.

Kris Jenner 2019 Met Gala
Kris Jenner at the 2019 Met Gala. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Jenner wore a Tommy Hilfiger jumpsuit with a fluffy, silver cape that created a wing-like effect to the "Camp: Notes on Fashion"-themed event.

Although the wings were dramatic, the ensemble didn't have the over-the-top style the theme required.

The most interesting aspect of Karlie Kloss' Gucci dress in 2019 was its black, puffy sleeves, but the gold bodice wasn't enough to make it a camp standout.

Karlie Kloss Met Gala
Karlie Kloss at the 2019 Met Gala. Kevin Mazur/MG19/Getty

Kloss also wore minimalist accessories, like a small, black purse, and simple earrings. She didn't even wear a necklace with the strapless dress.

Kloss later said 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."

As a co-chair of the event, Harry Styles could have taken a bigger fashion risk for the camp gala.

Harry Styles 2019 Met Gala
Harry Styles attends the 2019 Met Gala celebrating "Camp: Notes on Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2019, in New York City. Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

Although Styles' Gucci jumpsuit is bold by normal men's fashion standards, the sheer bodice alone doesn't make the outfit camp.

The multiple boas the singer wore to the 2021 Grammys might have been more on-theme.

Lena Dunham's ensemble for the 2019 Met Gala was outlandish, but it wasn't camp.

A woman in a black dress with a balloon painted on it and a woman in a pink dress with rubber gloves painted on it stand on a pink carpet.
Jemima Kirke and Lena Dunham at the 2019 Met Gala. Karwai Tang / Contributor / Getty Images

Dunham's latex, pink Christopher Kane dress read "rubberist" and had rubber gloves printed on it.

The exhibition for the 2019 camp event was supposed to examine "how the elements of irony, humor, parody, pastiche, artifice, theatricality, and exaggeration are expressed in fashion," as stated on the Metropolitan Museum website.

Although Dunham's outfit was over the top, its overt message didn't encompass camp.

Similarly, Katy Perry's infamous burger look seemed to make fun of the camp theme rather than adhere to it.

Katy Perry burger
Katy Perry at the Met Gala after party 2019. Daniel Zuchnik/Getty

Although the camp theme required a certain level of boldness from stars, it was still supposed to be taken seriously.

Perry looked like she was wearing a costume rather than making a fashion statement in the glittering burger she wore to the 2019 Met Gala after-party.

Taron Egerton played it safe with his tuxedo outfit for the camp-themed Met Gala.

Taron Egerton stands in a black, sparkly tuxedo in front of a wall of pink flowers.
Taron Egerton at the 2019 Met Gala. Kevin Mazur/MG19 / Contributor / Getty Images

"Rocketman," which starred Egerton as Elton John, was set to debut shortly after the 2019 Met Gala.

Because John is known for his over-the-top style, it would have made sense for Egerton to wear something daring to the Met Gala ahead of the film's premiere.

But instead, he opted for a fairly simple, custom Salvatore Ferragamo suit, which had a sparkly jacket.

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth's looks in 2019 were too subtle to fit the camp theme.

miley cyrus liam hemsworth
Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth attend The 2019 Met Gala. Kevin Mazur/MG19/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Cyrus, who typically isn't afraid to take fashion risks, wore a fairly simple green-and-black minidress from YSL, and Hemsworth wore an all-black suit.

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