What makes for a successful Met Gala outfit is its ability to portray the theme of the year and to stun onlookers whether they know about the event or not. Listed below are 5 of some of the best Met Gala looks from past years that have helped boost the event to the status it currently holds in fashion.
Rihanna – 2015 (China: Through The Looking Glass)
The 2015 Met Gala is unofficially hailed as the year the Met Gala was able to gain attention from outside those already familiar with the event. Rihanna entered the runway in her signature Guo Pei golden-yellow fur-trimmed cape. The cape was designed by Guo Pei herself, taking 50 000 hours (two years!) to hand-embellish the flora.
One of only a few pieces designed by a Chinese designer, Rihanna found the designer by researching Chinese couture. While the dress was the subject of a few memes, this outfit is sometimes considered one of the outfits that allowed the Met Gala to become the coveted event it is today.
Chadwick Boseman – 2018 (Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination)
The internet has noted how male celebrities that attend the Met Gala almost always appear in the same black tux, no matter how extravagant the theme of the ball is. There are certainly exceptions to this rule though, and Chadwick Boseman was one of them.
The actor appeared on the red carpet in an all-white Versace suit, adorned with golden embellishments on his trousers and cape. The outfit was tied together with a golden chain across his chest. While seemingly simple, he followed the “Heavenly Bodies” theme perfectly and was thanked by fans of the event for “[actually] following directions and doing the assigned reading for the Met Gala”.
Zendaya – 2018 (Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination)
“Fashion as body armour” took on a whole new meaning when Zendaya appeared at the 2018 Met Gala. The actor showed up in a Versace-designed sheer long-sleeved dress that mimicked chain armour. She also wore shoulder guards and a neckpiece, covered in sequins to mimic the shine of a suit of armour.
The actor’s red jaw-length hair tied the whole look together, however, a clear reference to Joan of Arc. A 15th century heroine during the Lancastrian period of the Hundred Years’ War, she was later canonized as a saint.
Blake Lively – 2018 (Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination)
Blake Lively is one of many honoured veterans of the Met Gala and her appearance at the 2018 Met Gala was no exception. In a Versace gown that took 600 hours to make, and adorning $2 million worth of jewellery, the actor was one of several that took the spotlight during the night. The top half was gold and embroidered with multi-coloured gems. The bottom of the gown was a deep ruby-red, with two panels of train that were embroidered with golden beads. Lively also wore a halo crown, a clear reference to the theme with her make-up artist revealing that the outfit was inspired by Italian religious paintings.
“We kept everything very romantic with a little gold—there’s 24-karat gold on her eyelids”.
Rihanna – 2018 (Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination)
What better way to end this list than to mention the figure responsible for the Met Gala’s status? One of the hosts for the 2018 Met Gala, Rihanna had to make sure that she was able to stun on the red carpet. And stun she did.
Rihanna stepped onto the runway in a Vatican Pope inspired outfit, truly paying the Heavenly Bodies theme all its attention. Her robe and dress were embroidered with pearls and jewels, with a matching papal mitre (pope hat). The outfit was designed by Maison Margiela and was the first time Rihanna wore the designer at the event.
While there might be a clear bias to the 2018 Heavenly Bodies theme, it is still considered by audiences as one of the most iconic themes with some of the most iconic outfits of all time. The theme was so popular that Twitter artists came up with the #Metsona, designing outfits that they would’ve worn and designed for the event.