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The 30 Best Met Gala Looks of All Time

Ahead of this year's Met, we take a look back

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G.Tucker

Can you believe it’s time for the Met Gala already? Due to the delay of last year's event, this one arrives less than a whole year since the last event, and the excitement is starting to build up quickly. You never know who’s going to show up (or what they’ll be wearing), which always makes for a ton of surprises. Before we get into this year’s theme and what to expect, let’s first dive into the history of the Met, and how it came to be what it is today before looking at some of the best Met Gala looks of all time.

What is the Met Gala?

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2022 Met Press Conference / Getty Images

The Met Gala was first established in 1948 by fashion expert Eleanor Lambert to raise money for the then newly-founded Costume Institute. That first event featured many prominent faces in the fashion industry, as well as high profile members of New York’s social scene. Tickets were priced at $50 a piece, and through the decades were held at various different venues including Central Park and the Waldorf-Astoria.

Over time, the Met Gala has established a reputation of being one of the most exclusive events in the fashion and entertainment world. In 1995, Anna Wintour became the chairperson of the event as she officially took over the chairmanship position of the institute, which further marked the turning point of the Met’s popularity and exclusivity. Only the best of the best get in, and an invitation to the party signifies that you have officially “made it.”

For reasons unknown, the Met Gala takes place on the first Monday in May, and still follows its fundraising roots. The event is attended by the top names in the fashion and entertainment industries, and you must have an invite from Anna Wintour herself in order to attend. If you don’t have an official invitation but still want to go, well you’ll have to hope that somebody buys a table and thinks to invite you. What about if you are a media publication and want to cover the event? Well, only 225 media spots are allotted. Oh, and no social media inside the gala either (although some celebrities have broken this rule and gotten away with it).

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2022 Met / Getty Images

That all leads us to this year’s event. The theme? Gilded Glamour. The hosts? Regina King, Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Who’s coming? Nobody knows. What about Beyoncé? We definitely don’t know the answer to that? So since that’s about all we can give you in regards to this year’s event, we figured we’d take a look back at some of the best Met Gala looks of all-time.

30. Rihanna, Maison Margiela, 2018 Met Gala

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We absolutely had to start this list off with one of the biggest fashion queens of the 21st century. While we don’t know for sure if Rihanna is going to attend this year’s gala, it’s safe to assume the answer is no as she is reportedly close to giving birth. That means we have no other choice than to look back at her past outfits, and this one is among her most notable. Dressed as the Pope, Rihanna stunned in a way that only she is capable of doing at the 2018 event.

29. Cher, Bob Mackie, 1974 Met Gala

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Pinterest

Dubbed “The Naked Dress,” nobody was topping Cher in the 1970s. The artist stayed in the headlines for her bold and risque fashion choices, and one of those was the sheer dress she rocked at the 1974 Met. This dress definitely got the people talking, and truth be told, we are still talking about it almost fifty years later.

28. Gemma Chan, Tom Ford, 2019 Met Gala

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Elizabeth Taylor is said to have attended the Met at some point in her career, but there aren’t any official pictures of her at the event (at least from our research). That said, everybody knows Liz Taylor was and still is a fashion icon, and was definitely one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

This has led to celebs paying tribute to her many legendary looks at the Met. Actress Gemma Chan wore a Tom Ford designed costume that looked very similar to a pieceTaylor wore in her 1968 film “Boom,” and looked stunning per usual.

27. Kate Moss, Calvin Klein, 1995 Met Gala

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Let’s talk about supermodels for a second. Supermodels ruled the universe in the 90s and 00s, and everybody either wanted to be one or date one (or both). Kate wore a very simple Calvin Klein lemon yellow halter dress to the 95 Gala, and for some reason we haven’t been able to let it go. It’s peak Kate Moss showing everyone why she was one of the best in the world in her field.

26. Naomi Campbell, Gianni Versace, 1995 Met Gala

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Did your jaw drop too? This is hands down one of the most iconic Met Gala looks of all-time. Naomi is just…wow. A true fashion and beauty icon.

25. Naomi Campbell, Valentino, 2019 Met Gala

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And she did it again fourteen years later when she pulled up to the 2019 event wearing a Valentino couture gown. After two decades of dominance, it’s safe to say that Naomi is the queen of the Met no doubt.

24. Zendaya, Gianni Versace, 2018 Met Gala

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First of all, we’re all so sad that Zendaya isn’t going to this year’s Met Gala as we were definitely looking forward to seeing what she was going to be wearing. That said, her 2018 armor look had her look like a character straight out of Star Wars, proving that Z can truly pull off any and every look.

23. Cardi B, Jeremy Scott, 2018 Met Gala

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Cardi B made her first Met Gala a memorable one, wearing gold, pearls, and a crown. Hopefully Cardi is one of the unannounced guests that make a grand arrival on the Met red carpet this year.

22. Iman, Christian Dior, 1996 Met Gala

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The question is which Iman Met Gala look. Iman wowed in a stunning black Christian Dior dress at the 1996 gala.

21. Iman, Dolce & Gabbana x Harris Reed, 2021 Met Gala

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And just in case you’d forgotten exactly who Iman was, she gave a powerful reminder at last year’s Met, dazzling in a gold Dolce & Gabbana x Harris Reed piece that was very much larger than life. Similar to her other supermodel counterparts, Iman has made multiple appearances at the Met over the decades, and has dominated each time.

20. Rihanna, Dolce & Gabbana, 2009 Met Gala

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It’s hard to imagine a time where Rihanna was in the position of having to prove herself in the fashion world, but there was indeed such a time. Rih donned this show stopping puff-sleeve tuxedo at the 2009 event in a year that really began to prove her cutting edge and risk-taking style. 

19. Chadwick Boseman, Versace, 2018 Met Gala

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How about we get some men in here shall we? There is absolutely no doubt that Chadwick Boseman won the 2018 Met Gala. The custom-designed Atelier Versace caped-suit was one of the most visually stunning looks that we have ever seen on the red carpet, and is even more powerful in the wake of his passing. May Boseman continue to rest in peace.

18. Jared Leto, Gucci, 2018 Met Gala

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Depending on your personal style preference, Jared Leto’s look from the 2018 Met can either be considered great or slightly disturbing. Regardless of your opinion, everybody can agree that his look definitely stood out. Leto wore an all-red Gucci piece, but that’s not why he made headlines. Leto also brought a model of his own head (yes his head) to the event. In hindsight, maybe this wasn’t as disturbing as we initially thought, as the theme that year was “Heavenly Bodies.”

17. Diddy, Rick Owens, 2017 Met Gala

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Wearing a Rick Owens suit complete with a cape, Diddy took the Pope look to whole nother level. And since he’s Diddy, of course he decided to bring something a little different to the red carpet by sitting down on the steps. Apparently that had never been done before in the history of the Met. Leave it to Diddy to do something that nobody else could get away with.

16. Princess Diana, John Galliano, 1996 Met Gala

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Princess Diana remains culturally relevant as ever over two decades after her untimely passing, and one of those reasons is her timeless elegant style. Princess Di arrived at the 1996 Met (which honored Christian Dior) in a dark blue John Galliano dress, instantly stealing the show.

15. Gisele Bündchen, Versace, 1999 Met Gala

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People

The supermodel looked bronzed and beautiful at her very first Met appearance in 1999, which was the first of many to come.

14. Whitney Houston, Dolce & Gabbana, 1999 Met Gala

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The 1999 Met also brought out the likes of musical legends such as thee Whitney Houston, who came to the event dressed in Dolce & Gabbana.

13. Beyoncé, Givenchy, 2015 Met Gala

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Beyoncé did not come to play with y’all, she came to slay. This sheer Givenchy piece from 2015 is still firmly etched into our memories, and not letting up.

12. Kim Kardashian, Balenciaga, 2021 Met Gala

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Sure we could have gone with one of the many gorgeous dresses Kim has worn to the Met over the years, but the masked bodysuit stands for many reasons. We had never seen Kim wear anything quite like that before, and her fit left us all wondering how exactly she was able to see the whole night. Guess we’ll never know.

11. Gigi Hadid, Michael Kors, 2019 Met Gala

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Our first Michael Kors entry comes at the hands of Gigi Hadid, who wore a Michael Kors Collection Dress to the 2019 gala.

10. Lupita Nyong’o, Versace, 2019 Met Gala

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Lupita Nyong’o’ had all eyes on her colorful Versace dress at the 2019 festivities. Can we also give a round of applause to her makeup designer as well? Wow!

9. Jennifer Lopez, Versace, 2019 Met Gala

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Jennifer Lopez and Versace are certainly no strangers to one another, seeing as though they have teamed together many times. After all, it was Versace that J.LO wore to the 2000 Grammys that has since taken on a life of its own. The two partnered again for the 2019 gala, once again stealing the spotlight.

8. Kendall Jenner, Givenchy, 2021 Met Gala

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Kendall Jenner’s sheer diamond encrusted dress was one of the evening’s most talked about outfits at last year’s Met.

7. Gwyneth Paltrow, Calvin Klein, 1995 Met Gala

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The 1990s were known for keeping it cool and simple, and that is exactly what Gwyneth Paltrow did at the 1995 Met Gala when she wore a silver Calvin Klein halter dress. The theme that year was “Haute Couture.”

6. Beyoncé, Givenchy, 2012 Met Gala

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In what was one of Beyoncé’s first major appearances just months after giving birth to first child Blue Ivy, Queen Bey knocked em dead at the 2012 Met.

5. Solange, Giles Deacon, 2015 Met Gala

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Years after the event, Solange described her 2015 Met Gala dress as being a sculpture, and that’s exactly what her dress looked like. A sculpture.

4. Yara Shahidi, Dior, 2021 Met Gala

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Yara Shahidi and Dior made a great one two punch at the 2021 Gala. Hopefully Shahidi returns this year with another dazzling fit.

3. Kate Hudson, Michael Kors, 2021 Met Gala

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Kate Hudson took it back in time at the 2021 Met Gala, wearing an early 2000s-inspired bralet and skirt combo courtesy of Michael Kors.

2. Zendaya, Michael Kors, 2016 Met Gala

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We already knew Zendaya was a major fashionista in the making in 2016, but she upped the ante at the 2016 Met with her gold and glittery Michael Kors dress. 

1. Jackie Onassis, Valentino, 1979 Met Gala

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If you don’t know about Mrs. Jackie Onassis, you’re gonna learn today. One of the most stylish women of all-time, Jackie O wore a classic black Valentino dress at the 1979 Met Gala, adding to her list of legendary looks.

On the topic of eccentric style, check out some of Prince's best style moments of all time.

Speaking of timeless looks, Timex has announced their new collection Q Timex GMT.

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Q Timex GMT / Timex

Retailing for $199 (strap) and $219 (bracelet), the Q Timex GMT collection is now available for purchase on Timex.com. Swiss-made, the timepiece incorporates iconic features from the original style such as a rotating bezel, functional battery hatch and domed acrylic crystal. In addition to these, the watch also has other characteristics including GMT and Date functions, Domed Acrylic Crystal, Rotating Top Ring, and more. 

You can browse the collection on the Timex official website.

That's gonna do it for today, be sure to stick with us as we'll be providing more Met coverage through the week.

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