Originally named the Art’s Costume Institute Gala or Costume Institute Benefit, the Met Gala is one of the largest occasions for pop culture, fashion, and celebrities and one of the most famous events of the year. This event helps designers showcase their work, and over the years we have seen some of the best Met Gala looks of all time.
1. The History of the Met Gala
The Met Gala night wasn’t always as star-studded and dramatic as it is now.
Eleanor Lambert, a publicist, first organized it as a charitable event in 1948 to generate money for the Costume Institute, which was opening its yearly exhibition.
For the initial decades of its history, the Met Gala was regarded as a simple annual fundraiser for New York charitable organizations. As a result, practically all attendees at the first Met Gala belonged to New York high society or the city’s fashion companies. Tickets for the first Met Gala were $50 each and were hosted as a midnight meal. The Rainbow Room, Central Park, and the Waldorf-Astoria were the locations where the celebration occurred between 1948 and 1971.
2. The Evolution of Met Gala
The Costume Institute hired Diana Vreeland as a consultant in 1972, and the Gala started to transform into a glamorous event while maintaining its focus on the elite. As celebrities, including Taylor Warhol, Bianca Jagger, Diana Ross, Elton John, Liza Minnelli, and Cher mixed with the city’s elite, the event started to gain popularity among many celebrity-obsessed visitors.
3. Introduction of The Theme
The first Gala at the Met, when the ideas of themes were introduced, took place during the Vreeland years.
Every year’s Gala has a theme honoring the next exhibit’s debut. According to The Costume Institute, the department’s annual financing for exhibitions, purchases, and capital upgrades come primarily from The Met.
4. The Fashion Industry’s Red-Carpet Event
The Met Gala, also known as the fashion industry’s red carpet event, is a big fundraising occasion that significantly contributes to the Costume Institute’s financial support. The occasion is a celebration of the Institute’s annual fashion exhibit when professionals from many fields get together to network and exhibit their work.
Even though the event only lasts an evening, the exhibit has been displayed for several months.
5. Who Can Attend
The Met Gala, which has come to be renowned as the red carpet event of the fashion industry, is not wholly exclusive. There are a few tickets available for purchase for the event.
Since 1995, Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue and chairperson of the Met Gala Event, has chosen and invited most of the event’s participants. According to WWD, designers frequently pay for a table at the event and then fill the chairs with the celebrities they are dressing. Even then, celebrities are only permitted to attend if Wintour approves.
Every year, a theme is assigned to the Met Gala, which also features a formal dinner and a cocktail hour. The visitors enter the event through the red carpet and see the exhibit during cocktail hour. Afterward, they are seated for the dinner party while the evening performers take the stage.
The exhibit’s topic also determines the tone of the visitors that come to support the event.
Through the celebrities who attend the event, numerous high-end brands and independent labels use this as a platform to display their products.
With this event being the most well-known fashion event, there is an opportunity for fashion critics to express their opinions on the attire that attendees arrive in and for photographers to grab a glance and display their skills.
Every fashion enthusiast is on the edge of their seat as they wait to see which celebrity will make the biggest statement and who will look the most lovely at the Met Gala.
Every theme selected for the event depicts a certain era of fashion, reviving previous trends and establishing new ones. The Met Gala is a significant occasion that provides numerous costume designers in the field with a platform to exhibit their own designs and skills.
7. Metropolitan Museum of Art
The largest art museum in the Western Hemisphere is the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
The largest art museum in the Western Hemisphere is the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Its permanent collection consists of over two million items, distributed across 17 curatorial departments.
It was the goal of the Metropolitan Museum of Art when it was established in 1870 to introduce art to the American people. The museum’s permanent collection includes artworks from classical antiquity and ancient Egypt, paintings, sculptures, and other works by practically all the great European masters, and a notable selection of American and modern art.
It also has a vast collection of Islamic, Byzantine, African, Asian, and Oceanian artwork. Along with encyclopedic collections of costumes, accessories, and musical instruments, the museum also houses ancient armor and weapons worldwide.
Its galleries contain several noteworthy interiors, dating from the first century Rome to contemporary American design.
8. 33 Best Met Gala Looks of All Time
Here are the best Met Gala looks of all time.
1. Princess Diana: 1995 Met Gala “Haute Couture”
Princess Diana’s Met Gala look is one of the best Met Gala looks of all time. Princess Diana celebrated the “Christian Dior” theme at the 1996 Met Gala by wearing a navy blue dress from John Galliano’s first haute couture collection.
2. Nicole Kidman: 2003 Met Gala “Goddess: The Classical Mode”
One of the best Met Gala looks of all time is that of Nicole Kidman. For the 2003 event, actress Nicole Kidman wore a one-shouldered, floor-sweeping Tom Ford for Gucci gown. Kidman looked stunning in an outfit of silver sequins and huge chandelier earrings.
3. Florence Welch: 2012 Met Gala “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations”
Singer Florence Welch appeared in a gown by Alexander McQueen for the 2012 Met Gala, “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations.” This look by Florence Welch is one of the best met gala looks of all time.
4. Beyoncé: 2012 Met Gala “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations”
Beyoncé looked stunning in a Givenchy Couture dress.
She was dressed in a long-sleeved, fully see-through, and highly beaded black gown. Her attire included a beautiful purple hem with feathers.
5. Beyoncé: 2014 Met Gala “Charles James: Beyond Fashion”
In a Givenchy haute couture, Beyoncé arrived at the 2014 Met Gala with a Bordeaux pout and a studded face veil, an homage to the “Charles James: Beyond Fashion” theme.
6. Dakota Johnson: 2015 Met Gala “China: Through the Looking Glass”
Dakota Johnson’s glittering Chanel gown and dramatic winged liner caught everyone’s attention at the 2015 Met Gala.
7. Kim Kardashian: 2015 Met Gala “China: Through the Looking Glass”
For the 2015 Met Gala, “China: Through the Looking Glass,” Kim Kardashian wore a white feathered Roberto Cavalli suit with her hair in a ponytail.
8. Rihanna: 2015 Met Gala “China: Through the Looking Glass”
Rihanna’s 2015 Met Gala look is one of the best Met Gala looks of all time.
Rihanna collaborated with Chinese designer Guo Pei to make her sherbet-colored gown for the 2015 Met Gala, which she co-hosted in support of “China: Through the Looking Glass.” For the theme ” China: Through the Looking Glass,” Rihanna accessorized the show-stopper with a pair of horizontal brows and a diamanté headdress.
9. Amal Clooney: 2015 Met Gala “China: Through the Looking Glass”
For her first Met Gala, Amal Clooney wore a stunning outfit designed by John Galliano for Maison Margiela.
10. Nicole Kidman: 2016 Met Gala “Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology”
Nicole Kidman’s Met Gala looks are considered one of the best Met Gala looks of all time. Nicole Kidman wore an Alexander McQueen piece for the 2016 Met Gala in New York. The actress displayed her adorned cape, decorated with glistening beaded moons and stars. With an ethereal crown, jewels by Fred Leighton, and a braided updo, Kidman elevated the outfit.
11. Claire Danes: 2016 Met Gala “Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology”
The actress made a stunning entrance in a charming sky-blue ball gown designed by Zac Posen. Organza and fiber optics were used to make the one-of-a-kind outfit, which was hand-sewn and lit up at night.
Her glowing dress is considered one of the best Met Gala looks.
12. Lupita Nyong’O: 2016 Met Gala “Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology”
For the 2016 Met Gala “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology”, which had as its theme “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology,” Lupita Nyong’o raised the bar for hairstyles. Her steely blue cat eye nicely complimented her sculptured updo.
13. Kim Kardashian: 2016 Met Gala “Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology”
At the 2016 Met Gala, Kim Kardashian made an entrance wearing a silver metallic, long-sleeve Balmain gown with a bold ear cuff.
14. Taylor Swift: 2016 Met Gala “Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology”
Taylor Swift attended the event in a Louis Vuitton dress and Eva Fehren jewelry.
15. Zendaya : 2017 Met Gala “Rei Kawakubo/Comme Des Garçons: Art of the In-Between”
Zendaya brought warmth to the red carpet at the 2017 Met Gala, which celebrated “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between,” with a coral lip and thick auburn hair. This look is considered as one of the best met gala looks of all time.
16. Reese Witherspoon: 2017 Met Gala “Rei Kawakubo/Comme Des Garçons: Art of the In-Between”
Reese Witherspoon appeared at the 2017 Met Gala wearing a stunning floor-length split navy blue dress with a chic sleeve. The dress was a custom Mugler dress by Tiffany & Co. jewels.
17. Gigi Hadid : 2017 Met Gala “Rei Kawakubo/Comme Des Garçons: Art of the In-Between”
With Wolford fishnet stockings and Jacquie Aiche jewelry, Gigi Hadid paired an asymmetrical long-sleeve Tommy Hilfiger mini dress with sculptural shoulders and an off-the-shoulder design. It also had a split skirt with a full tulle train on one side.
18. Rihanna : 2017 Met Gala “Rei Kawakubo/Comme Des Garçons: Art of the In-Between”
Rihanna wore a textural masterpiece that was expertly crafted from jacquard florals to produce three-dimensional petals, an asymmetric hemline, and cutouts.
19. Rihanna: 2018 Met Gala “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”
One of the best Met Gala looks of all time was the one by Rihanna at the 2018 Met Gala event when she wore the iconic dress by Maison Margiela.
The dress was a customized, papal-inspired, miter-hatted, pearl-and crystal-encrusted outfit.
20. Blake Lively: 2018 Met Gala “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”
Blake Lively has some of the best Met Gala looks of all time. Blake Lively attended the 2018 Met Gala ” Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” wearing a beautiful burgundy Versace gown.
21. Kate Bosworth: 2018 Met Gala “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”
Kate Bosworth’s 2018 Met Gala is definitely one of the best Met Gala looks of all time.
Kate Bosworth came to the Met Gala 2018 “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” in a heavenly white high-low ballgown with gold flecks, accented with a mantilla veil that doubled as a capelet and was trimmed in a lavish row of beading. The actress’s arms could pass through slits in the cape-turned-veil, which featured a tulle gather at the back that flowed into her train. The creator of Bosworth’s look is Oscar de la Renta.
22. Bella Hadid: 2018 Met Gala “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”
Bella Hadid’s appearance at the 2018 Met Gala, when she came radiant as if sent from above, is one of the most memorable Met Gala beauty looks. The lady looked stunning with a golden-pink lip and a delicate cat eye, highlighted and softly bronzed.
23. Cardi B: 2018 Met Gala “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”
At the 2018 “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” Met Gala, Cardi B walked the red carpet with a majestic pregnancy moment while her body was covered in an elaborately adorned Moschino by Jeremy Scott gown. It is considered one of the best Met Gala looks of all time.
24. Gigi Hadid: 2018 Met Gala “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”
Gigi wore a specially created Atelier Versace outfit at the Met Gala event in 2018. The gown has beautiful crystal embroidery and a high leg split with a train.
25. Kacey Musgraves: 2019 Met Gala “Camp: Notes on Fashion”
Kacey Musgraves wore Jeremy Scott for Moschino to the 2019 Met Gala “Camp: Notes on Fashion.”
26. Jennifer Lopez: 2019 Met Gala “Camp: Notes on Fashion”
At the 2019 Met Gala, themed “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” Jennifer Lopez dressed as an ice queen from the future. Her glittering purple eyes and bare, glossy lips couldn’t have been more complimentary to her crystal-clear Versace dress.
27. Naomi Campbell: 2019 Met Gala “Camp: Notes on Fashion”
Some of the best Met Gala looks of all time have been by Naomi Campbell.
Here she wore a custom-made pale pink silk chiffon dress by Valentino Haute Couture along with a Marabou floor-length cape decorated with feathers and sequins that Pierpaolo created for her.
28. Lady Gaga: 2019 Met Gala “Camp: Notes on Fashion”
Lady Gaga did not disappoint when she showed up at the 2019 Met Gala “Camp: Notes on Fashion” wearing a 25-foot magenta train and a set of gilded eyelids.
Her 2019 Met Gala look is definitely one of the most iconic and best Met Gala looks of all time.
29. Zendaya: 2019 Met Gala “Camp: Notes on Fashion”
Zendaya, dressed in a Tommy Hilfiger dress with exaggerated sleeves, a corseted bodice, and a powder blue tulle overlay, along with a blue headband and a straightforward black choker, was a magical moment and one of the best Met Gala looks of all time.
Zendaya, with her stylist Law Roach, showed some red carpet magic. Zendaya’s gown started to glimmer in front of the cameras and slowly lit up from the bottom as Roach waved a magic “wand” with smoke coming out of it.
30. Kaia Gerber: 2021 Met Gala “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion”
One of the best Met Gala looks of all time was that of Bianca Jagger, who walked the steps of the Met with her brunette waves pinned into retro-inspired curls for the 1981 “The Eighteenth-Century Woman” gala.
For the 2021 Met Gala, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” Kaia Gerber’s first-ever Met Gala outfit was inspired by this look. In a stunning black Oscar de la Renta gown, she paid tribute to Bianca Jagger.
31. Gigi Hadid: 2021 Met Gala “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion”
The supermodel revealed a violet-red hair change at the 2021 gala that reminded people of Jessica Rabbit from cartoons.
Her powder blue smoky eyes, highlighted with classic cat-eye flicks, a high-slung ponytail, and a Prada logo barrette, only heighten the drama.
32. Lili Reinhart: 2021 Met Gala “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion”
Lili Reinhart, dressed in a custom look for the 2021 Met Gala by Christian Siriano, walked the red carpet in a sheer pink corset dress with flower appliqués representing the state flowers of each of the fifty states.
33. Yara Shahidi: 2021 Met Gala “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion”
At the 2021 Met Gala ” In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” Yara Shahidi wore a Christian Dior custom strapless gown with a long, gauzy trail, a thin belt, and intricate bead embroidery.
She wore Josephine Baker’s signature kiss-curl haircut as a tribute to the legendary singer as a “powerhouse renegade Black American artist,” finishing the look with gentle wings and a rich nude pout.
Held annually on the first Monday in May, celebrities express their version of the theme of the show to the entire globe by ascending the steps of the Metropolitan Museum while wearing statement clothing.
In contrast to a premiere or an awards ceremony, the objective is to create the best Met Gala looks of all time that will be remembered for decades.
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