Wearable Art: The Most Jaw-Dropping Looks At The Met Gala Over The Years

The Met Gala in New York brings about some of the most unique celebrity looks of the year. The event raises money for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, and as such, each attendee looks like a work of art in their extravagant attire. From Katy Perry’s light-up gown to Sarah Jessica Parker’s cathedral-inspired outfit, there’s no telling what celebrities will show up wearing. Read on to see some of the most astonishing costumes to appear at the Met Gala.

Rihanna Wore A Plush Cape Fit For A Queen

Mike Coppola/Getty Images
Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Rihanna stole the show at the 2015 Met Gala by arriving in a long and luxurious cape. The yellow fabric features an embroidered design on the satin exterior and a soft, plush lining.

The excessive fabric trailing in her wake isn’t the only thing making Rihanna look like royalty. Atop her head is a crown-like, golden hairpiece that glistens in the light. Her pointed, silver pumps give an edgy touch to the attention-grabbing ensemble.

Janelle Monáe Was An Abstract Art Piece

Janelle Monae
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue & Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
Matt Winkelmeyer/MG19/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Janelle Monáe was the embodiment of walking art when she attended the 2019 Met Gala. Atop her head is a stack of hats affixed to one another, and her asymmetrical dress is designed to look like an abstract face.

Janelle’s eyeball clutch was complete with black fringe to mimic eyelashes. One side of her top had a matching eyeball with long, feather eyelashes. A nose and set of lips on her skirt complete the art piece outfit.

Lizzo’s Hair Matched Her Ensemble

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Taylor Hill/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Taylor Hill/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Lizzo made a splash at her first Met Gala by attending in a pink outfit that was impossible to miss. Her wispy, boa-like wrap worked to enliven her ensemble. Beneath, a light pink gown featured a long slit and a bow beneath her bust.

Lizzo not only matched her outfit with noticeably pink makeup, but also with her bubblegum pink hair. Her swirly, sparkly hair was the cherry on top of this look.

Sarah Jessica Parker Dressed As A Cathedral

George Pimentel/Getty Images
George Pimentel/Getty Images

In 2018, the Met Gala theme was “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” Sarah Jessica Parker certainly took the prompt seriously, dressing like a Roman cathedral. Her headpiece looks like the top of a prominent church, complete with a matching gown.

Sarah’s translucent gown is covered in gold embroidery and sparkly, red hearts that match the tip of her crown. Her long train and ruffled shoulders further embellish the elaborate outfit, making it a show-stopper of the year.

Christina Ricci Dressed Like A Gothic Bride

Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Back in 2011, Christina Ricci nailed the “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” theme of that year’s Met Gala. Dressed in a skin-tight dress with a black, poofy bottom, Christina looked ready to walk down the aisle in a gothic wedding.

The strappy design of her dress overlays a beige backdrop to give the illusion that the outfit is translucent. The thick, black collar around Christina’s neck matches the flared fabric at the bottom of her gown and contributes to the edgy feel of the ensemble.

Serena Williams Dressed Like An Autumn Tree

Dia Dipasupil/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Dia Dipasupil/FilmMagic/Getty Images

As vibrant as a highlighter, Serena Williams was impossible to miss in this bright yellow gown. The dress featured a long train, puffy shoulders, and hourglass shape. Pink, orange, and red flowers adorn the dress like a tree in autumn.

The vivid colors contrast with Serena’s skin so that the outfit embellishes the tennis star, rather than overpowering her. The ruffles of the train and the 3D flowers add eye-catching texture to this gorgeous ensemble.

Beyoncé Stunned In Her Punk-Themed Outfit

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Lars Niki/Corbis via Getty Images
Lars Niki/Corbis via Getty Images

Beyoncé stole the show at the 2013 Met Gala with her “Punk: Chaos to Couture” outfit. The fiery colors of the ensemble’s design popped against the sleek, black fabric. Her thigh-high boots and long arm gloves are equal parts spunky and classy.

Beyoncé’s black, alligator top tucks into her high-waisted skirt, cinched with a casual black belt. The long train of her dress added an air of elegance to the edgy but sophisticated look.

Salma Hayek Rocked Her Spunky Queen Look

Kevin Tachman/MG19/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue
Kevin Tachman/MG19/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Salma Hayek looked confident as ever in her 2019 Met Gala outfit. Her sleek gown featured sparkly, golden threads running lengthwise down the dress and a flowy skirt. The black top embellished a golden flower that acted as the focal point of the ensemble.

Black tulle puffed up the shoulders and featured strands of silver sparkles, which matched the silver rope cinching Salma’s waist. A golden crown and matching clutch grounded the spunky but classy outfit.

Lady Gaga’s Hot Pink Statement

 Lady Gaga attends The 2019 Met Gala
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Lady Gaga had arguably one of the grandest entrances in all of Met Gala history in 2019. She arrived draped in solid, hot pink fabric with a large, matching bow on her head. Her inches-long black and gold lashes popped against her fair skin and white-blonde hair.

Gaga’s pink ensemble was so large that she had to be accompanied by four individuals who carried its train. She then shed the outfit’s outer layer to reveal a black dress underneath.

Miley Cyrus Worked It In Her Avant-Garde Dress

Miley-met
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images & Gotham/GC Images
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images & Gotham/GC Images

Miley Cyrus’ 2019 Met Gala dress was far from the ordinary in terms of shape. The clever design managed to simultaneously cinch her waist and to flare out. The structural fabric pointed to the side and straight up for a unique and eyecatching twist.

The dress was covered in black and green sequins that formed stripes and hid the pockets at Miley’s hips. Silver chandelier earrings added a touch of elegance to the flashy ensemble.

Diane Kruger Looked Radiant In Rolls Of Blue Satin

HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images
HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

Diane Kruger proved that short dresses can be just as jaw-dropping as long gowns when she arrived at the 2018 Met Gala. Her soft blue, satin dress featured rolls of fabric at her back that gave way to a long, luxurious train that followed in her wake.

Silver embroidery subtly embellished the sides of the train and matched the embroidered design at the front of her dress. Simple, strappy heels and a white netted veil completed the ensemble without overpowering the look.

Katy Perry Literally Glowed In Her Gown

Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

At the 2010 Met Gala, Katy Perry showed up in an outfit unlike any other. Her white, ruffled dress had the unique feature of glowing lights embedded into the fabric. The dress gleamed pink, illuminating Katy’s tan skin and glittering necklace.

The top of her gown was stitched in such a way to add texture and suited the messy bow tied at Katy’s waist. The bottom of the dress was flowy and bright and featured a long slit.

Kate Hudson, Looking Like An Edgy Snowflake

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Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty Images
Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty Images

Kate Hudson arrived at the 2016 Met Gala in a white dress that looked like it was modeled after a paper snowflake. The jagged design gave an edgy feel to the wispy, white dress so that it felt less like a wedding dress and more like an artistic ensemble.

The strapless gown had a symmetrical design running throughout that nearly matched Kate’s skin color, giving the illusion of transparency. The tulle at the bottom offered a feminine touch to the sharp look.

Elizabeth Hurley Dressed Like A Sparkly Rose Field

elizabeth-hurley
CHANCE YEH/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
CHANCE YEH/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Elizabeth Hurley looked stunning at the 2009 Met Gala in her shimmering gown. Though the dress nearly matched Elizabeth’s skin tone, it didn’t wash her out. To the contrary, the ensemble seemed an extension of the actress, making it well-suited to that year’s theme, “The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion.”

Though the gown was one color, its patterns and textures made it far from plain. A ribbon cinching Elizabeth’s waist gave way to a long skirt with rose-shaped detailing.

Florence Welch Looked Glamorous Enough To Fly Away

Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Florence Welch looked ready for flight when she attended the 2019 Met Gala. The detailed wings of her shawl overshadowed her multicolored, glittery dress. Rather than wearing wings on her back, the shawl created the look of wings over her shoulders for a unique twist.

The cool colors of her gown — lavender, mint green, and periwinkle — contrasted with her red-orange hair so that Florence was a standout in the crowd. The delicate lace of her dress gave her a fairy-like essence.

Charlize Theron Was A Show-Stopper In Stripes

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

Charlize Theron proved at the 2014 Met Gala that sometimes sticking with a classic look is the way to go. Rather than opting for an avant-garde look, she arrived in a sleek, cream-colored gown with a silky black design that emphasized her slender stature.

The simple ensemble made Charlize look classy as ever with a flowy train dragging behind and a black blazer draped over her shoulders. Sparkling, silver jewelry popped against this sophisticated but show-stopping outfit.

Lana Del Rey Looking Like A Glam Vampire

lana-del-rey-met-gala
Rabbani and Solimene Photography/Getty Images
Rabbani and Solimene Photography/Getty Images

Lana Del Rey’s 2012 Met Gala outfit was as elegantly haunting as her singing voice. The shimmering, silver dress shone beneath her long, black cape so that she looked like a cross between a vampire and a disco queen.

Her maroon lipstick and soft, brown curls brought an old Hollywood feel to the striking ensemble. Though her fair skin was a stark contrast to the costume’s dark tones, the shining silver of her gown acted as a balance so that Lana didn’t appear washed out.

Madonna Wowed In This Ocean-Inspired Gown

madonna
Larry Busacca/Getty Images
Larry Busacca/Getty Images

While Madonna has often stuck to edgy Met Gala costumes, in 2011, she opted for an elegant and classy look. The silky material of her gray-blue gown reflected light and shadows in such a way that the dress appeared two-toned.

The material also embellished the crevices of her train and made her green eyes pop. Silver stars ran from either side of her waist to the rear of the gown and down the train. Madonna’s heavy mascara and red lipstick make her facial features stand out against this ocean-inspired ensemble.

Claire Danes As The Real-Life Cinderella

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John Shearer/Getty Images
John Shearer/Getty Images

Judging by Claire Danes’ 2016 Met Gala look alone, we would have guessed that the theme that year was Disney princesses. Between her blonde updo and her poofy, soft blue dress, Claire looked like a live-action version of Cinderella.

The strapless dress featured a simple, folded top and a large skirt fit for a ballroom. The outer material of the dress had a subtle shine in the light, and folds throughout gave texture to the mono-colored gown.

Brie Larson Shimmered Like A Disco Ball

Taylor Hill/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Taylor Hill/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Brie Larson’s 2016 Met Gala dress was covered in large, silver sequins that reflected light like a disco ball. A cutout at either side of her waist gave a cinched effect embellished by the long, black bow hanging at Brie’s midsection.

Black trim underscored the layers of her skirt, which added a feminine flair to the outfit. Brie’s sleek updo and dark lipstick grounded the playful look so that she looked as sophisticated as she did fun-loving.