Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Style > Fashion

The Met Gala is Back and Here Are My Top Looks of All Time

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at NCSU chapter.

I’ve really really really missed the Met Gala. It’s been two years–a long two years–since the last Met Gala which took place on the first Monday of May in 2019. I  personally look forward to the event every year and watch hours of red carpet live streams to watch the stars make their way into the party. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Met Gala is an annual fundraising event held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, where patrons donate millions of dollars to support the museum’s Costume Institute. Invitees include A-List celebrities, activists, athletes, and public figures. Tickets to the event cost an average of $35,000 while an entire table can go to upwards of $300,000. The first event was held in 1948 and it has only gotten bigger as time has moved on. 

The Met Gala is the fashion event of the year full of wacky, gorgeous, simple, and plain, fashion–you will see it ALL at the Gala.  It is headed by the museum and Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour who oversees the event every year along with a panel of co-chairs. This year’s co-chairs are all first-time guests: actor Timothée Chalamet, singer Billie Eilish, poet Amanda Gorman, and tennis star Naomi Osaka. There are also honorary chairs, designer Tom Ford, businessman Adam Mosseri, and Anna Wintour.

Each year, there is a different theme that the guests are expected to follow. This year’s Gala looks a bit different. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the 2020 Gala was canceled. The event takes place on the first Monday of May, but this year, it has been split into two parts. The first date is set for September 13th while the second will be on May 2nd, 2022 (the first Monday in May). The theme for the first Gala is “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” while the second theme is a continuation, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion.” While there is no concrete conclusion as to how people will dress, I think that there will be three different groups seen at the event: Those who dress in American designers, those who dress in strictly red, white, and blue, and those who dress in American-inspired pieces (I’m thinking Marilyn Monroe, Statue of Liberty, period dresses, etc.) Regardless, I am so so so excited that the Gala is back AND that we get two of them in the span of a year. With that being said, here are my top fifteen with a few honorable mentions.

Make sure to scroll through each post to see additional photos of the looks!

To start my list, at number fifteen I have Kim Kardashian-West at the 2019 Gala. The theme was Camp: Notes on Fashion and she wore a skintight Thierry Mugler dress. The entire look was made to have her appear as if she was dripping wet. I think that this look is insanely cool and really amazing once you really look at all of the detailing that went into the dress. It may not perfectly showcase “camp” as the theme was, but I really like the outfit regardless. I’m still not sure how she got into the dress. 

At number fourteen I have Anna Wintour also at the 2019 Gala. I can’t make a Met Gala fashion list without including the Queen of the Gala herself. She wore this Chanel piece made by Karl Lagerfeld right before he passed away in February of that year. My favorite color is pink, so naturally, I gravitated towards this look. The dress is so bright and girly and I’m obsessed with the dramatic pink and navy ombre feather coat/cape. It perfectly encapsulates Wintour and the weight she brings to the Gala. 

Continuing with the theme of the 2019 event, I have Kendall and Kylie Jenner’s matching Versace dresses at number thirteen. Although the two outfits aren’t identical, the bright colors and feathers perfectly complement each other to create one of the most iconic looks of the night. Kylie chose a purple wig while Kendall’s hair was slicked back. Although both vastly similar and different, I think each look represented each girl perfectly. 

Now on to my FAVORITE Met Gala theme ever–2018’s Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. At number twelve, I chose the late Chadwick Boseman in Versace. He understood the assignment and executed it PERFECTLY. Most guys miss the point of the Met Gala and show up wearing a plain black suit–which typically works, but it’s the Met Gala, try SOMETHING different. The gold shoes alone make this outfit one of my automatic favorites.

Back to the 2019 ball, but for good reason. I mentioned earlier that pink is my favorite color, so not including Kacey Musgraves’ Barbie look at number eleven would be a crime. The entire look was done by Jeremy Scott for Moschino and I am so obsessed it’s not funny. She committed to the role of Barbie so much, she showed up to the Gala in a pink corvette. You can even buy a Barbie doll wearing the exact outfit in the Met gift shop. (Also the blow-dryer purse?? Once again, I’m obsessed)

Now for my top ten. At number ten, I have one of my favorite “celebrities” (I don’t even want to call her a celebrity since she is so much more than that) Princess Diana Spencer of Wales. It was 1996 and her divorce from Prince Charles had just been finalized, so she was finally able to wear and do what she wanted. The theme was Christian Dior, so she wore a Dior slip, which quickly became controversial as she had never been seen in such a “scandalous” outfit before. This unfortunately was the only Gala she attended as she passed away in a car accident the following year, but this dress will forever remain as one of the most iconic in Met Gala history, not just because of the dress, but because of the woman who wore it.

At nine, I have Rihanna in 2015. The theme was China: Through the Looking Glass and I personally think she was the best dressed that year. The extravagant yellow coat by Guo Pei Couture contrasted beautifully with the red carpet. It has become one of the most iconic outfits in Gala history. She wanted to find a Chinese designer so that she could make sure that her look was authentic and to the theme and found the designer online. She later revealed that she was “nervous people would laugh at her” and that the outfit would get an overall bad reception, but boy was she wrong. 

Naomi Campbell is a staple attendee at the Ball, which made it very hard to pick just one of her iconic outfits. At number seven, I chose her sparkly Versace dress that she wore to the 1995 event-themed, Haute Couture. Gianni Versace even escorted her to the party. I love everything about this dress. It may not be the most “extravagant” or “out-there”, but I think that it is absolutely gorgeous, and very few people could pull it off, but obviously, Naomi Campbell is one of those people.

At number six, I have one of the most gorgeous dresses I have ever seen, Ariana Grande’s Vera Wang dress that she wore in 2018. (Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination). The dress reminds me so much of painted ceilings like those in the Sistine Chapel in Italy or the Palace of Versailles in France. Grande was definitely one of the best dressed that night, which is hard considering the fact that I think that everyone at that year’s Gala dressed the best they ever have before.

Now on to my top five. At number five, I have the iconic Cher in Bob Mackie in 1974. This, in my opinion, is the first-ever iconic Met Gala outfit. To this day it still remains as one of the most iconic in event history, but it really helped put the ball on the map for being a “fashion event” all due to Cher’s sheer rhinestone bodysuit with fur trim. The theme for this year was Romantic and Glamorous Hollywood Design.

Speaking of iconic dresses, my number four pick was re-worn three years later for a music video. I’m talking about Taylor Swift’s Oscar de la Renta gown that she wore to the 2014 Gala-themed Charles James: Beyond Fashion. This beautiful pink gown had beautiful embroidery, a long train, and a huge bow on the back making it the perfect feminine dress. Swift pulled the dress out again in 2017 for her “Look What You Made Me Do” music video where she dressed up as “old versions” of herself before declaring that “the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now” Why? You may ask, “because she’s dead.”

For number three, I’m going back to 2019’s Camp: Notes on Fashion, but I think it’s definitely worth it. I was watching the live stream when Zendaya arrived in a Cinderella-esque dress by Tommy Hilfiger. I watched as her escorts (dressed as carriage men) waved wands in front of her and the dress began to light up. The look was PERFECTION and she looked like she belonged in a fairytale. Like Naomi Campbell, choosing just one look for Zendaya was difficult, but I think that this one is my favorite. 

At number two, I chose the GORGEOUS Versace dress that Gigi Hadid wore in 2018. This dress is absolutely beautiful. It may not have exactly represented the theme of Heavenly Bodies, as well as other attendees, did that night, but the dress is amazing enough for me to let it slide. The inspiration was stained glass and it reminds me so much of a butterfly wing. The entire dress is BEADED and just absolutely stunning, which is why it takes my second spot. 

Before I talk about my number one pick, I want to quickly discuss three honorable mentions. My initial list for this article has SEVENTY outfits, but I wanted to keep it short and sweet and trimmed it down as much as I could, so having honorable mentions was inevitable. In no particular order, I have, Christy Turlington in 1992 wearing an Audrey Hepburn/Givenchy-inspired look with the theme being Fashion and History: A Dialogue. I think it pays a perfect and modern homage to Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Old Hollywood. Next, I have another 2019 look and it’s Emma Roberts’ poofy pink Giambattista Valli gown. I think that this perfectly encapsulates the “Camp” theme and it was one of my favorites that year. Finally, in my honorable mentions, I have Karolina Kurkova’s Viktor & Rolf gown that she wore to the 2005 ball-themed The House of Chanel. She chose not to wear Chanel and opted for a white ballgown with the words “I love you” transcribed in red on the skirt. This dress is so fun and unique and I think it perfectly represents the wildness and spontaneousness of Met Gala fashion.

And finally, my number one pick. This was such an easy decision, I didn’t even have to think about it. I chose the Queen of Met Gala Fashion, Blake Lively, and her 2018 Versace gown. This is seriously the MOST GORGEOUS GOWN I have EVER seen. The detailing, the colors, the fit, the accessories, I seriously cannot find a single thing that I dislike about this dress. Lively always dresses to the nines–especially at the Met Gala and this is my favorite gown of all time if you can’t tell by my reaction. The dress was so huge she had to take a party bus (with Christian Louboutin, for a totally casual Monday) and it took over 600 hours to make. The clutch that she brought even had the Reynolds family crest (She is married to actor Ryan Reynolds) encrusted in rhinestones with the names of her, Ryan, and their two children at the time, James and Inez. This dress will forever be my favorite dress of all time.

I have missed the excitement of the Met Gala and cannot wait to see the amazing fashions return this September.  Maybe one day I will be able to watch the red carpet in person or if I am really fortunate, have a view from the inside.

Cameron Crews is the president of Her Campus at NC State. She is responsible for publishing all articles, leading meetings, encouraging all staff, and overseeing the entire chapter. This is her third year on Her Campus and her second year as President. Outside of Her Campus, Cameron was the Editor-in-Chief of her high school’s yearbook, which she helped lead to being awarded the best book in the entire state and honored at Columbia University’s scholastic journalism awards. She worked as an intern at Southpark Magazine in Charlotte, NC, where she edited articles, conducted interviews, and assisted the editors. In the Summer of 2023, she attended Regents University in London, England, where she took fashion classes from high players in the fashion industry who have worked with the likes of Andy Warhol, Alexander McQueen, Christian Siriano, and more. She also had the opportunity to interview Brendan Fraser immediately after he won his “Best Actor” Oscar at the 2023 Academy Awards. She is a junior at NC State University majoring in Communications with a minor in Journalism. After graduation, she hopes to move to New York, LA, Paris, or London and work in the fashion industry as either a fashion editor or celebrity stylist. Cameron was born and raised in Charlotte, NC, with her younger brother and dog, George Bailey. She enjoys shopping, watching movies, listening to music, writing, hanging out with friends, and traveling in her free time. She is a huge Taylor Swift and Harry Styles fan and has seen them both in concert multiple times. She is also a huge Timothee Chalamet aficionado and is a huge movie fan–with some of her favorites being Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood, Barbie, Lady Bird, the Breakfast Club, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.