The Met Gala has been one of the standout annual events of the fashion calendar for decades now, and with 2022’s Met Gala only a week away, and an exciting theme announced by Anna Wintour, that being In America: An Anthology of Fashion, we thought we would look over some of the most iconic looks to ever come from the gala. There are fairytale dreamscapes, theatrical extravaganzas and vintage glamour galore, so get ready for this year’s event by checking out some of our favourite looks below!
Naomi Campbell (2019)
The phrase ‘pretty in pink’ has really never been more appropriate than to describe Naomi Campbell’s fierce feathered look from the 2019 Met Gala. The luxurious couture gown, designed by Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli, draped stunningly down and behind Naomi and was accompanied by some intricately designed pink tights and minimalist pink heels. Cute, elegant and sophisticated all in one, Naomi brought a beautiful dashing of colour to that year’s event in wonderfully flamboyant fashion.
Billie Eilish (2021)
Billie Eilish has become the voice of a generation for Gen Z, connecting with young people in a way that very few famous faces have been able to do before, particularly when it comes to modern issues like mental health struggles. However, you’d be forgiven for thinking she was a famous face from decades long past by looking at her 2021 Met appearance which embodied totally classic Hollywood glamour in every conceivable way. The stunning peach gown, designed by Oscar De La Renta, was made in collaboration with Billie with the designer declaring to go totally fur-free for his brand in the future, a cause which Billie was very passionate and vocal about when posting about the event online. If there was ever any doubt that sustainable and ethical fashion couldn’t look astonishing, then Billie and Oscar proved that notion to be totally wrong.
Lady Gaga (2019)
In 2019, Lady Gaga didn’t just walk and pose for the cameras on the Met carpet, no, she put on a whole show! Arriving wearing a bright fuchsia dress and giant bow by Brandon Maxwell and accompanied by a number of men in sharp tuxedos carrying umbrellas, who frankly looked like they would fit perfectly into a Mary Poppins musical number, Gaga strutted around in the huge number before removing the dress and revealing not 1, not 2, but 3 other outfits! Much like a Russian nesting doll each outfit was hiding another underneath, going from the huge fuchsia gown to a sleek black gown matching with the men accompanying her, then to a slim fit fuchsia dress (complete with huge block telephone) and, finally fully stripped down into a sparkling bra and tights which revealed Gaga’s signature platform heels. The theme was camp and it’s safe to say that Gaga slayed the category!
Also attending 2019’s camp themed event was none other than Zendaya who made a truly magical appearance. Looking like she had stepped straight into the Fairy Godmother’s heels from Cinderella, the former Disney star stepped into the event wearing a rather dark and flat gown which, after a wave of the magic wand from her Fairy Godbrutha, transformed into a glowing and vibrant fairytale dream. Who says that magic is only for the imagination?
The iconic dress that inspired many a meme. Chinese designer Guo Pei became an overnight sensation thanks to her design of Rihanna’s dress, which helped her to be named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2016. The stunning yellow and golden dress was lined with luxurious fur and expanded out into an enormous trail behind Rihanna which contained some beautifully intricate designs. With a golden headpiece also featured, Rihanna was rocking enough gold to make even the ancient Egyptians jealous.
Beyonce adorned herself with quite possibly all of the sequins and jewels in the world in 2015, wearing a see-through dress littered with sparkle. Arranged intelligently so as to line certain parts of the dress, such as the neckline and cuffs, and also to not reveal too much of Beyonce the dress had a strong structure despite being made of very little. The sequins tapered down into the bottom of the dress too, making Beyonce look as if she was stepping on the sparkling stars with each step she took. There’s that real-world magic again!
Ariana Grande (2018)
Ariana Grande embraced her Italian heritage in her first ever appearance at the Met in 2018, wearing a stunningly ethereal gown designed by Vera Wang. The immediate standout of the expertly structured gown was its use of artwork from the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, giving both the dress and Ariana a beautiful sense of refinement and elegance. The entire outfit was adorned with symbolism and was an intelligent way for Ariana and Vera to pay homage to Grande’s Italian roots in way that might not seem immediately obvious. Truly one of the most stunning looks of the past few Galas.
Huge feathers! Tons and tons of pink! Too much? Never! Lizzo looked fabulously fierce in 2019 wearing a humongous feather frock designed by Marc Jacobs. The frock was dyed with both bright and pastel hues giving it a pleasing contrast which also carried over to the dress and gloriously oversized ribbon that Lizzo was wearing underneath. The passion for pink didn’t end there though as Lizzo also donned some pink blush and lipstick as well as a fabulous bright pink wig accessorised with jewels. Maybe ‘pretty in pink’ is more apt for Lizzo instead?
Kendall Jenner (2021)
For the most recent Met Gala, Kendall Jenner collaborated with Givenchy creative director Matthew M. Williams for a diamond encrusted dress that was the very definition of luxury. The dress itself was sheer and ran from shoulders to floor, with the diamonds making up all of the details and design of the outfit by being placed in numerous intricate and highly detailed patterns and forms. Clusters of diamonds also sat upon Kendall’s shoulders and ran along her chest with added fringing for extra effect. A huge diamond choker also wrapped around Jenner’s neck for a stunning finishing touch.
Kendall & Kylie (2019)
Showing up as a duo in 2019, Kendall and Kylie were equal parts heaven and hell with Kylie in a pastel feathery wonder whilst Kendall wore a dramatic and fiery dress which fiercely shot out from her left arm. Attending such an event as a duo could be dangerous as one party could end up upstaging the other but this, thankfully, was not the case as both sisters looked equally fabulous. Donatella Versace designed both dresses and worked her signature theatrical style into them flawlessly.
Normain collaborated with Valentino in 2021 for a ball gown that looked like it could have been taken straight out of a Disney princess film. The regal gown was coloured in a shiny mustard-yellow and featured enormous puffed sleeves which extended far beyond Normani’s shoulders. She also made sure to match the colour of her eyeshadow to that of the dress which made the entire look just that touch more cohesive.
Zoë Kravitz (2021)
Another iconic jeweled look from 2021, this time with Zoë Kravitz wearing a dress courtesy of Saint Laurent. The slimline dress ran down Kravitz in diamond shaped patterns which revealed her body underneath. The dress struck a balance between luxurious and minimalist with the cut of the dress being quite simplistic and understated, serving as a nice contrast to the large amount of jewelry. Kravitz also wore a pair of earrings which flowed well with the dress and helped tie the outfit together.
Megan Fox (2021)
Red is one of the most striking and eye-catching colours in the fashion world and Megan Fox proved this to be the case in 2021, wearing an embellished ruby red gown courtesy of Dundas. Equal parts modern and retro with a seriously seductive vibe as well, Megan was channeling sex symbol Bettie Page right down to the way she styled her bangs. The dress was intricately designed and, as well as being seductive, was also incredibly classy and undeniably elegant.
Kim Kardashian (2019)
When you think of the phrase ‘form fitting’ it’s quite hard to imagine anything more fitting than Kim K’s Mugler dress from the 2019 Met Gala. The dress hugged her body almost impossibly closely and was embellished with jewels in the shapes of raindrops which combined with the wet look of her hair created a unified theme for the outfit. The entire look made Kim look as if she were a mermaid who had walked straight out of the ocean. Maybe she should be a contender to play Aerial in a Little Mermaid remake?
Cardi B (2019)
Normally stars bring their looks to the red carpet however Cardi B instead brought the red carpet with her in 2019. Designed by Thom Browne as a celebration of the female form the dress, which was blood red, extended out roughly ten feet and was decorated with 30,000 dyed coque feathers, was a huge undertaking taking 35 people approximately 2,000 hours to create. We think it’s safe to say that it was worth every second of that effort.
Donatella Versace worked her magic for the Met once again, this time with JLo who was dressed head-to-toe (literally) in diamonds. The diamond encrusted dress draped gorgeously down JLo and tapered out gently at the bottom into a cluster of jewels that lit up the pink carpet. JLo also wore a delightfully over the top diamond encrusted headpiece that flew down seamlessly into the dress and made it look like she had diamonds for hair too. An enormous pendant around her neck rounded out the outfit and also served as a striking centerpiece.
Once again Donatella Versace proved she is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to Met looks, this time dressing SZA like a princess in a blush pink gown complete with thigh-high stiletto boots. The cosmic fairytale dress truly looked like something out of a futuristic dreamscape, partly helped by the enormous golden headpiece decorated with stars which stuck extended upwards and outwards defying gravity. Maybe it’s time for fairytales to modernise a little and take a page out of Donatella and SZA’s book.
Blake Lively (2018)
Donatella, once again, made her mark on the Met Gala by this time designing a dress or Blake Lively. The custom gown featured an embroidered bodice that apparently took more than 600 hours to make, as well as $2 million worth of Lorraine Schwartz jewelry. The expert embroidery ran down the entire length of the dress and exuded a truly classical feel that could have placed it at the center of a masquerade ball from decades past. The deep red of the dress only added to the authenticity of that dramatic and theatrical feel.
Billy Porter (2019)
After spending all of his time introducing fierce looks in Pose it was about time for Billy Porter to get his chance in the spotlight and he did not disappoint at all. Collaborating with The Blonds, Porter was carried into the event on a velvet bed by six men (who also all looked fierce) and was covered head to toe in gold. Inspired by the Old Testament Billy truly looked like he was from another time period and even more looked like a king we should all have been bowing to. The drama didn’t stop with the fabulous entrance either as when Porter got up to walk the pink carpet, he extended out his arms and his outfit transformed into a huge pair of wings. Talk about a pose.
Words By Andrew Coyle
Feature Image Gerasim Kutsaron