High Fashion: These Are Some Of The Most Stunning Met Gala Dresses Of All Time
Since 1948, the Met Gala has raised money for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute by displaying unique outfits. It also allows designers and celebrities to show off their styles. Innovative dress styles incorporate feathers, letters, and more. From Jackie Kennedy to Sarah Jessica Parker, here are the most iconic Met Gala looks of all time.
Diana Ross’s Feather Gown, 1981
In 1981, singer and actress Diana Ross wore one of the most unique dresses that the Met Gala had ever seen. To honor the theme of “The Eighteenth-Century Woman,” her gown resembled a traditional Mexican huipil. But it was made entirely out of feathers.
The feathers functioned as ruffles that decorated the dress from shoulder to toe. The top was strapless, and even her purse included feathers. Ross adored fashion and even made her own clothes, so this unique outfit suited her.
Sarah Jessica Parker’s Deconstructed Kilt, 2006
The 2006 Met Gala honored the theme “AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion.” Actress Sarah Jessica Parker took an unconventional approach in her kilt dress–or rather, half-kilt, half-dress.
The gown was half plaid kilt and half base dress with black lace. With only one strap, the dress has a unique mish-mash look tied together with a black waist belt and a silver broach on the shoulder. It was created by Alexander McQueen, one of England’s most successful designers who also accompanied her down the carpet.
Céline Dion’s Silver Showgirl Look, 2019
In 2019, the Met Gala’s theme–titled “Camp: Notes on Fashion”–encouraged designers to experiment with the unnatural and exaggerated. None did this more than Oscar de la Renta, who designed the dress for Céline Dion. Magazines called it her “showgirl look.”
The silver gown was more a bodysuit that had tassles draping down Dion’s arms and legs. A slit down one of her legs added some figure and dimension to it. On her head, Dion wore a 22-pound feathered headpiece, also made by de la Renta. She was an elevated version of a ’20s flapper.
Naomi Campbell In Sparkling Versace, 1995
British model Naomi Campbell loved Versace; she even modeled some of their wedding dresses. It was no surprise, then, to see her wearing a Versace dress during the 1995 Met Gala. The column gown has since gone on display in museums.
The theme was “Haute Couture,” a high-end style of French dressmaking. The dazzling strapless dress was encrusted with crystals, and designer Gianni Versace left the seams exposed for an interesting detail. It has become one of the most memorable Met Gala dresses of all time.
Karolina Kurkova’s “I Love You” Dress, 2005
In 2005, the Met Gala’s theme was “The House of Chanel,” honoring a French brand that influenced fashion as we know it. Czech-American model Karolina Kurkova decided to make a statement with a huge, trailing ballgown.
The white dress, designed by Viktor & Rolf, had the red cursive letters for “I love you” written on it. With its satin skirt and one-shoulder bow, it looked like a wedding dress. Even the end of the skirt had some ruching to draw the eye down the gown.
Ashley Olsen Wearing Statement Sleeves, 2011
In 2011, the Met Gala honored English designer Alexander McQueen. But Ashley Olsen made her own statement in an unconventional Dior dress. The gown caught everyone’s eyes with its voluptuous, off-the-shoulder sleeves.
The white sleeves were tied at the top and bottom, and they offered a stark contrast to the black gown. This gown was straightforward: floor-length and with a slit down one leg. All attention went to the sleeves. It was both brave and fascinating.
Charlotte Gainsbourg In A Unique Short Dress, 2007
Charlotte Gainsbourg, the English-French actress, singer, and songwriter, wore one of the most unique Met Gala dresses in 2007. The theme was “Poiret: King of Fashion,” honoring the French fashion designer Paul Poiret.
Designed by Balenciaga (who sponsored that year’s Gala), the dress has a mixture of metallics, colors, and patterns. It ends at the knee in golden fringes, but it also has a turtle neck and sheer sleeves. Shimmery crystals, white, gold, and black alternate throughout the dress. No wonder guests wanted a better look!
Jackie Kennedy’s Black Valentino Gown, 1979
In 1979, Jackie Kennedy attended her first Met Gala. The theme was “Fashions of the Habsburg Era: Austria-Hungary,” and to match the Costume Exhibit, Kennedy wore a black Valentino gown.
The dress was designed by Valentino Garavani himself, and it featured a ruffled skirt with off-the-shoulder sleeves. Kennedy carried a matching black clutch with the floor-length gown. From 1976 to 1977, she had been a co-chair of the Met, but this was her first time attending.
Naomi Watts As A Star-Studded Superhero, 2008
In 2008, the Met Gala saw many creative outfits with its theme, “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy.” But the most stunning was actress Naomi Watts’s white pleated gown, which combined Marilyn Monroe’s style with Superwoman.
Made by the French designer Thierry Mugler, the dress centers around a silver star on Watts’s sternum. The pleats branch out from that broach. With its flattering halter top, floor-length waves, and off-the-shoulder straps, it is both simple and elegant. Met Gala dresses do not have to be completely over-the-top.
Kate Moss Going Silver, 2009
In 2009, English supermodel Kate Moss was 35 years old. But that didn’t stop her from wearing a stunning Marc Jacob gown. The theme was “The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion,” and it encouraged designers to go wild, using previous Met Galas as their influence.
The result was Moss’s unusual silver dress. The short gown wrapped around her body, leaving an open back. Her shoulder had extra fabric draping off like a Greek Goddess. To top it off, she donned a matching turban by Stephen Jones.
Doutzen Kroes’s Cinderella Gown, 2010
When she walked down the red carpet in 2010, Dutch model and actress Doutzen Kroes looked like a princess. Her blue ballgown was created by American designer Zac Posen, and it trailed down the stairs. It perfectly fit the theme, “American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity.”
Kroes’s dress had a long trail that fit its massive skirt. The torso was tight-fitted, and silver gems attached its sheer sleeves. With her sheer sleeves falling off the shoulder and Hollywood glamor hairstyle, Kroes looked like royalty.
Beyoncé’s See-Through Outfit, 2012
Beyoncé’s 2012 gown sure set some trends. The theme honored Elsa Schiaparelli and Mario Prada, two Italian designers who broke fashion conventions to create new ones. Beyoncé did the same with her see-through dress.
The black lace gown was designed by Givenchy. Beyoncé wore a nude slip dress underneath it so that it could be see-through. Along the legs, lace and gems transitioned to black and purple feathers. After this Met Gala, many more celebrities and influences wore transparent lace dresses, although none were as experimental as this one.
Lupita Nyong’o In Flapper-Inspired Prada, 2014
In 2014, the Met Gala honored the English-American fashion designer Charles James. He designed during the 1920s, which is what Kenyan-Mexican actress Lupita Nyong’o represented. Her feathered gown and matching headband called back to that notable era in fashion.
The Prada dress was a net-like weaving made from green beads and jewels. The gown ended in green feathers and matching heels. Because of the brown slip-on dress underneath, all attention went to the netting and headband, making Nyong’o the talk of the night.
Rihanna’s Chinese Golden Gown, 2015
Rihanna has attended several Met Galas, but her most iconic look is the 2015 golden gown. The theme was “China: Through the Looking Glass,” and the singer’s dress was made by a Chinese designer, Quo Pei.
The dress took two years to complete, as it is laden with traditional Chinese patterns throughout the sleeves and trails. The neckline and sleeves are all fur, and Rihanna’s headpiece perfectly matches the dress. It was undoubtedly a jaw-dropper.
Kate Hudson’s Bridal-Inspired Gown, 2016
During the 2016 Met Gala, Kate Hudson’s cut-out dress was one of the most talked about. It was designed by Atelier Versace and meant to resemble a bridal gown, but with a twist. The creative cut-outs and intricate skirt matched the look of a fashion entrepreneur like Hudson.
This Gala’s theme was “Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology,” which combined couture and technology. The silver-lined strips of the dress look a bit bio-mech, like plates of metal melded together. At the same time, the dress is bright, airy, and an all-around stunner.
Princess Diana In Dior, 1996
Did you know that Princess Diana once attended the Met Gala? In 1996, the princess showed off some of her best ’90s style in a navy blue Dior gown. The spaghetti-strap dress fell to the floor and had black lace trim on the front.
According to royal biographer Katie Nicholl, Diana almost didn’t wear the dress. She feared that the revealing neckline would embarrass her 14-year-old son, William. But she went with it anyway and dazzled the crowd.
Priyanka Chopra’s Enormous Trench Coat, 2017
During the 2017 Met Gala, Priyanka Chopra won the award for the Most Dramatic Train. It’s easy to see why. The Indian actress and singer wore a custom Ralph Lauren piece that looked like a floor-length trench coat.
The Gala honored Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo, the founder of Comme des Garçons. She is known for her dramatic dresses, and Chopra’s gown is no different. The long train draped down the stairs, and the eye-catching storm flaps made people not want to look away.
Billie Eilish Bringing A Softer Touch In 2021
During the 2021 Met Gala, singer Billie Eilish ditched her usual oversized clothing for a gorgeous Oscar de la Renta gown. While Eilish looked stunning in the light pink tulle ball gown, many people criticized the singer’s wardrobe choice, saying she shouldn’t have cinched her body in a corset.
During an interview with Elle, Eilish said, “It’s all about what makes you feel good. If you want to get surgery, go get surgery. If you want to wear a dress that somebody thinks that you look too big wearing, [don’t listen]…”
Ariana Grande Wears The Sistine Chapel, 2018
In 2018, the Met Gala hosted the theme “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” It featured some of the wildest dress designs ever, but singer and actress Ariana Grande took a simpler approach. Chinese-American designer Vera Wang made something that matched Grande’s style.
The dress’s patterns were made from screen-printed images of Michelangelo’s The Last Judgment. If you look closely, you can see the figures on the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling. This creative approach made the dress stunning from up-close and afar.
Cardi B In $250,000 Worth Of Rubies, 2019
By 2019, onlookers expected some unconventional gowns at the Met Gala. But nobody anticipated rapper Cardi B to wear $250,000 worth of rubies. Designed by Thom Browne, her gown was absolutely massive, with rubies covering her head and bust.
Browne collaborated with Stefere Jewelry to make a dress, necklace, and headpiece all in one. A ten-foot-long train trailed behind Cardi B, which was tipped with feathers. On the shoulders, the same colored feathers sprung into oversized sleeves.
Katy Perry As A Chandelier, 2019
Katy Perry has worn some unique dresses throughout her singing career, but none were as “bright” as her 2019 Met Gala gown. Her bejeweled dress by Moschino was strapless and ended mid-thigh. But it also had three layers of chandelier lights.
Katy Perry “dressing as a chandelier” became the talk of the internet. According to designer Jeremy Scott, his team spent six weeks putting Swarovski crystals on the dress. The corset had two battery packs to power the lights, and the headdress alone weighed 40 pounds. She must have been exhausted!