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Ever since the first Met Gala was held in 1948, back when it was still called the Costume Institute Gala, both Hollywood and the fashion industry’s brightest stars have descended on the The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s steps on the first Monday of May each year.
The two exceptions to this have been the past two years, with the 2020 Gala cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the 2021 Gala postponed from May until September last year.
The Gala marks the opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibition, which has previously celebrated the aesthetic of Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo, the impact of Chinese culture on Western style, and the lasting legacy of Alexander McQueen.
To celebrate this year’s Gala, we’ve rounded up some of the best Met Gala dresses of all time.
Princess Diana, 1996
The year before her untimely death, Princess Diana attended her first and only Met Gala, which looked to celebrate the work of Christian Dior.
Diana donned a navy John Galliano for Dior satin slip dress, complete with sapphire and diamond jewellery.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 2021
US politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) made a rather literal statement with her Aurora James-designed white gown.
The words “tax the rich” were etched on the back of the dress in red writing.
Blake Lively, 2018
Red carpet maverick, Blake Lively, shined in this dramatic Versace gown at the 2018 Met Gala.
The actor played into the Heavenly Bodies theme with a spiky gold halo and her renaissance-style dress.
Kylie and Kendall Jenner, 2019
Sisters Kylie and Kendall Jenner both donned feathered Versace dresses at the 2019 Met Gala.
Kylie completed her look with a purple feather boa and purple wig, while Kendall went sky-high with her orange feather collar.
Sarah Jessica Parker, 2006
Sarah Jessica Parker arrived at the 2006 Met Gala hand-in-hand with late designer Alexander McQueen.
The pair matched in tartan outfits by the designer and strappy shoes. McQueen died in 2010, aged 40.
Anna Wintour, 2019
The Met Gala gatekeeper herself, Anna Wintour, brought some brightness and fun to the 2019 opening wearing a design by the late Karl Lagerfeld.
The editor-in-chief of American Vogue is known to hand-pick the lucky guests who are invited to the Gala.
Lily Collins, 2019
The Emily in Paris star brought gothic glam to the pink carpet with her 2019 Met Gala look.
Lily Collins wore a Giambattista Valli Haute Couture gown with Priscilla Presley-inspired hair for the theme, Camp: Notes on Fashion.
Beyonce almost broke the internet when she walked the Met’s red carpet with her “naked dress”.
The gown in question was a bejewelled Givenchy Haute Couture dress - the singer wore the same designer for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Met Galas.
Jennifer Lopez, 2011
The 2011 Met Gala saw a shift in the air when it came to how celebrities approach Met Gala fashion with stars embracing more daring outfits.
With the theme, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, Jennifer Lopez wore a red floral Gucci dress with embellished shoulders.
The undisputed queen of the Met Gala, Rihanna’s 2015 gown was nothing short of iconic.
The musician-come-mogul leaned into the theme, China: Through The Looking Glass, with this lavish Guo Pei gown.
The model and widow of the late David Bowie, Iman stunned in her ethereal Harris Reed gown.
Following the Gala, Reed told Vogue: “Most of my moodboard is Iman and David Bowie! Iman is the most gracious, gorgeous woman I have ever worked with; it was insane to be dressing her. She said this was her last Met, and I’m honoured to have dressed her for it.”
Kate Bosworth, 2018
Actor Kate Bosworth embraced the 2018 theme of Heavenly Bodies with this Oscar de la Renta gown.
The gold gown with tulle was completed with a dramatic crystal and mother of pearl veil.
Scarlett Johansson, 2004
Scarlett Johansson’s 2004 dress may be understated, but this is what the Met Gala in the 2000s was all about.
That year’s theme was Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century, and Johansson’s yellow silk Calvin Klein creation was a small nod towards the dresses of the age.
Kim Kardashian, 2021
The mogul has been a firm fixture on the Met steps for its annual gala since the early 2010s, but it was at the 2021 Gala where Kim Kardashian made her biggest statement yet.
With the theme In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion, Kardashian wore the dress that spawned a thousand memes - a figure-hugging Balenciaga design by Demna Gvasalia.
Naomi Campbell, 2019
Met Gala veteran Naomi Campbell had fun with her 2019 look.
The model wore a custom Valentino Haute Couture pale pink silk chiffon dress complete with a feathered Marabou floor-length cape.
Drew Barrymore, 2006
Actor-turned-talk show host Drew Barrymore kept things simple for the 2006 gala.
With the theme AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion, Barrymore wore a lace, strapless Oscar de la Renta dress.
Serena Williams, 2019
Serena Williams went big with both her dress and her jewels on the pink carpet in 2019.
The massive rocks on her fingers almost outshone her neon yellow Atelier Versace gown and matching Off-White sneakers (almost).
Emily Blunt, 2021
Emily Blunt went celestial with her 2021 gown, complete with a tiered and glittering starry headpiece.
The custom Miu Miu gown had a corseted and see-through bodice and a white cape.
It’s hard to choose which of Rihanna’s Met Gala looks are the best, but this Comme des Garçons look gets points for its high levels of fun and for Rihanna’s playful beauty look too.
The dress was straight from Comme des Garçons Fall 2016 runway, and the singer paired it with thigh-high strappy red sandals and a chic top knot.
Dakota Fanning, 2011
Actor Dakota Fanning looked like a floral dream in this embellished Valentino dress for the 2011 Met Gala.
The blush, strapless tulle gown saw an array of 3-D blue, green and yellow flowers adorned to it.
Sarah Jessica Parker, 2014
Parker is known to go all out with her Met Gala looks, and this Oscar de la Renta look from the 2014 Gala was as chic as they come.
The And Just Like That … star wore a monochromatic gown with matching elbow-length gloves and a sleek updo.
Billie Eilish, 2021
Billie Eilish took her hosting duties very seriously in 2021 when she proceeded to steal the whole damn show when she turned up looking like Marilyn Monroe.
The singer, who had dyed her hair platinum blonde earlier that year, chose a peach Oscar de la Renta gown for the occasion.
Taylor Swift, 2010
Did Taylor Swift begin the cold shouldered trend of the past decade at the 2010 Met Gala? Maybe so, with this sleek white Ralph Lauren design.
The theme that year was American Woman: Fashioning A National Identity.
Cardi B, 2019
Cardi B’s Thom Browne gown for the 2019 Met Gala took 2,000 hours to make.
The gown was made from tulle and silk organza, filled with down and had 30,000 burned and dyed coque feathers.
Zoë Kravitz, 2021
Zoë Kravitz wore a chained Yves Saint Laurent “naked dress” for the 2021 Gala.
Speaking later of the criticism she received for wearing it, the Batman star said: “Being uncomfortable with the human body is colonisation / brainwashing. It’s just a body. We all got ‘em.”
Lady Gaga, 2019
Lady Gaga doesn’t shy away from going big on the Met’s steps.
This was certainly the case in 2019 when she donned a voluminous dress from designer Brandon Maxwell.
Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, 2005
The Olsen twins were pioneers of the boho look seen in the 2000s. Case in point: Mary Kate’s look from the 2005 Met Gala.
For the event, Mary Kate wore a vintage white lace dress with red jewellery, while Ashley wore a gold Oscar de la Renta gown.
Miley Cyrus, 2013
A match made in sartorial heaven, the Met Gala’s PUNK: Chaos to Couture theme fell during Miley Cyrus’s Bangerz era, which allowed the singer to embrace her inner wild side even further.
Cyrus’s mesh dress was created by Marc Jacobs, and she accompanied it with bright red lips and spiky short hair.