The 28 Most Iconic Met Gala Looks of All Time

Including Zendaya, Princess Diana, Cher, and more.

Rihanna at the 2023 Met Gala

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for The Met Museum / Vogue

The 2023 Met Gala will take place on May 1, which means the countdown is officially on. The swanky soirée-slash-charity event, which dates back to 1948, is often referred to as "fashion's big night out" since it draws A-listers, models, and designers alike—and everyone who's everyone comes dressed to impress.

Each year, the event has a different theme, and dozens of celebs take advantage of the opportunity to bring their fashion A-game. (Besides, who doesn't love a good theme?) This year's theme is Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty, in honor of the legendary designer. We can expect to see designers pull inspiration from Lagerfeld's expansive life's work, from his time at the most infamous fashion houses, including, but not limited to, Chanel, Chloé, and Fendi. In anticipation of the high-profile event, we're traveling back in time to highlight some of the best Met Gala looks of all time.

From 1980s Cher in a sheer Bob Mackie number to Rihanna's over-the-top canary yellow gown from 2015, read on for our all-time favorite Met Gala looks.

01 of 28

Michaela Coel (2023)

Michaela Coel at the 2023 Met Gala.

Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

2023 co-chair Michaela Coel wore an embellished bronze custom gown by Schiaparelli.

02 of 28

Doja Cat (2023)

Doja Cat at the 2023 Met Gala

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for The Met Museum / Vogue

Doja Cat paid homage to Karl Lagerfeld's beloved cat, Choupette, in a custom Oscar de la Renta gown, complete with cat ears and facial prosthetics.

03 of 28

Rihanna (2023)

Rihanna at the 2023 Met Gala

Theo Wargo / Getty Images for Karl Lagerfeld

Rihanna showed off her second baby bump in a billowing, rose-adorned white gown by Valentino.

04 of 28

Janelle Monáe (2023)

Janelle Monae at the 2023 Met Gala

John Shearer / WireImage

Janelle Monáe gave Chanel's famous tweed a Thom Browne update with an over sized coat and cat-shaped handbag.

05 of 28

Lizzo (2022)

Lizzo at the 2022 Met Gala.

Lizzo embraced gilded glamour at the 2022 Met Gala, wearing a Renassaince-esque hand-embroidered look by Thom Browne. As for her accessory of choice? Her flute, naturally.

06 of 28

Blake Lively (2022)

Blake Lively at the 2022 Met Gala

Gotham / Getty Images

The Met Gala carpet always has at least one dramatic dress reveal, and in 2022 that moment went to one of the evening's hosts, Blake Lively. The actress wore an Atelier Versace gown inspired by the Empire State Building, fitting perfectly into the year's theme In America: An Anthology of Fashion. She started off the carpet in a rose gold gown with an oversized bow that later transformed into an aqua blue train featuring a constellation design from Grand Central Station.

07 of 28

Kim Kardashian (2022)

Kim Kardashian at the 2022 Met Gala.

Gotham / Getty Images

The 2022 Met Gala gave us one of the most controversial fashion moments of the year when Kim Kardashian arrived in Marylin Monroe's iconic Happy Birthday Mr. President gown Rumors started swirling a few days prior that Kim would be wearing the Jean-Louise "naked dress," but it wasn't confirmed until she stepped out onto the carpet in the piece of history.

08 of 28

Kendall Jenner (2021)

Kendall Jenner at the 2021 Met Gala

Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Kendall Jenner paid homage to old Hollywood at the 2021 Met Gala, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion. The model donned a crystal-encrusted Givenchy gown inspired by Audrey Hepburn's My Fair Lady shimmering gown, which Hubert de Givenchy designed for the film.

09 of 28

Lil Nas X (2021)

Lil Nas X at the 2019 Met Gala

Mike Coppola / Getty Images

Lil Nas X made his Met Gala debut in 2021 with not one, not two, but three distinct Versace outfits. He started with a regal silk cape before revealing a gold armor suit. After that, he slipped into something a bit more comfortable, albeit oh-so-stylish: A sparkly gold long-sleeved jumpsuit.

10 of 28

Billie Eilish (2021)

Billie Eilish at the 2021 Met Gala.

Taylor Hill / WireImage

Billie Eilish’s show-stopping Oscar de la Renta gown was inspired by the black tulle dress that Marilyn Monroe wore to the 1951 Academy Awards. While Eilish’s dress was blush instead of black, the two share similar necklines, full skirts, and a fitted corset-like top.

11 of 28

Zoë Kravitz (2021)

Zoe Kravitz at the 2021 Met Gala

Kevin Mazur / MG21 / Getty Images For The Met Museum / Vogue

Zoë Kravitz wore a crystal mesh Saint Laurent dress to the 2021 event, pairing it with a matching thong underneath.

12 of 28

Saweetie (2021)

Saweetie at the 2021 Met Gala

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for The Met Museum / Vogue

For 2021's In America theme, Saweetie honored her Black and Filipino roots with a custom Christian Cowan dress that featured a forked crystal train with both the Black American heritage flag and the flag of the Philippines.

13 of 28

Iman (2021)

Iman at the 2021 Met Gala

John Shearer / WireImage

Iman brought a new meaning to the golden age for the 2021 Met Gala. The glowing gold look later inspired Lil Nas X, who wore an iteration of it in black to the 2022 VMAs.

14 of 28

Lily Collins (2019)

Lily Collins at the 2019 Met Gala

Taylor Hill / FilmMagic

For 2019's camp theme, the Emily in Paris actor looked to Priscilla Presley's 1967 wedding dress for inspiration. Collins wore a ruffled white Giambattista Valli dress and paired the look with a padded headband and platform heels.

15 of 28

Harry Styles (2019)

Harry Styles at the 2019 Met Gala.

Taylor Hill / FilmMagic

Harry Styles is certainly not afraid to challenge or question fashion norms and traditions. In fact, the singer’s eccentric style was on full display at the 2019 Met Gala—theme: Camp: Notes on Fashion (which he co-chaired)—as he rocked the red carpet in this Gucci number. The sheer lace top featured a large bowtie, which paired perfectly with his solid black trousers. To complete the look, Styles opted for a singular pearl earring and a chunky pair of heels.

16 of 28

Cardi B (2019)

Cardi B at the 2019 Met Gala

Karwai Tang / Getty Images

Cardi B's elaborate Moschino look was just as opulent as it looks. The custom gown featured 30,000 feathers and 44 carats of rubies that were valued at $250,000.

17 of 28

Serena Williams (2019)

Serena Williams at the 2019 Met Gala

Taylor Hill / FilmMagic

Serena Williams was the queen of high-low fashion at the 2019 Met Gala. The tennis star wore a neon yellow Versace gown with a coordinating pair of Volt Off-White x Air Force 1 sneakers.

18 of 28

Lady Gaga (2019)

Lady Gaga at the 2019 Met Gala

Karwai Tang / Getty Images

Lady Gaga did more than walk the carpet at the 2019 Met Gala; she made it into a performance. The singer transformed into four entirely different looks from Brandon Maxwell while making her way up the Met steps. Of course, we'd expect nothing less from the woman who wrote the book on camp.

19 of 28

Kacey Musgraves (2019)

Kacey Musgraves at the 2019 Met Gala

Dia Dipasupil / FilmMagic

Before there was Barbiecore, there was Kacey Musgraves. For the 2019 Met Gala, Camp: Notes on Fashion, the singer transformed into a real-life Barbie wearing Jeremy Scott for Moschino.

20 of 28

Zendaya (2018)

Zendaya at the 2018 Met Gala.

Theo Wargo / Getty Images for Huffington Post

Zendaya honored the saint Joan of Arc in a silver chain metal Atelier Versace look during the Met Gala's Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination event. She added even more sheen to the look with Jimmy Choo heels and Tiffany & Co. jewelry.

21 of 28

Lupita Nyong'o (2016)

Lupita Nyong'o at the 2016 Met Gala

John Shearer / Getty Images

Lupita Nyong'o dazzled in this glittery green gown from Calvin Klein at the 2016 Met Gala. The see-through train took her look to the next level, as did her sky-high ‘do. Since the dress is gorgeous enough to speak for itself, the actress kept the rest of her look simple yet stylish with a sleek clutch and beautiful baubles.

22 of 28

Rihanna (2015)

Rihanna at the 2015 Met Gala

Axelle / Bauer-Griffin / FilmMagic

Rihanna looked like royalty in this now-iconic gown by Chinese designer Guo Pei at the 2015 Met Gala, where the theme was China: Through the Looking Glass. The yellow number weighed a whopping 55 pounds and featured a 16-foot-long train.

23 of 28

Beyoncé (2015)

Beyoncé at the 2015 Met Gala

Kevin Mazur / WireImage

Beyonce turned heads in the best way possible when she rocked the red carpet at the 2015 Met Gala. Her sheer Givenchy gown featured a gorgeous open-back design, an embellished train, long sheer sleeves, and sparkly crystal accents.

24 of 28

Sarah Jessica Parker (2006)

Sarah Jessica Parker and Alexander McQueen at the 2006 Met Gala

Evan Agostini / Getty Images

Sarah Jessica Parker attended the 2006 Met Gala alongside Alexander McQueen, who designed the pair coordinating tartan looks for that year's AngloMania theme.

25 of 28

Princess Diana (1996)

Princess Diana at the 1996 Met Gala

Anwar Hussein / Getty Image

Princess Diana attended the Met Gala only once, in 1996, but she delivered a look that's been remembered for decades. The royal wore a navy blue slip dress from John Galliano, who was then designing at Dior, and paired it with two of her style signatures: Her pearl and sapphire choker necklace and a navy blue Lady Dior handbag.

26 of 28

Naomi Campbell (1995)

Naomi Campbell at the 1995 Met Gala

Gene Shaw / Getty Images

In true '90s fashion, Naomi Campbell ruled the 1995 Met Gala carpet. She arrived in a glittering strapless Versace number, fitting for the It Girl of the era.

27 of 28

Cher (1985)

Cher at the 1985 Met Gala

Rose Hartman / Getty Images

For the 1985 Met Gala, Cher pulled out this Bob Mackie gown, which featured a high neckline, sparkly bodice, and sleek black skirt. Cher topped off her look with bold gold jewels.

28 of 28

Bianca Jagger (1981)

Bianca Jagger at the 1981 Met Gala

John Shearer / Getty Images

Bianca Jagger attended the 1981 event with designer Roy Halston as her date. The model wore a black strapless Dior gown, which later went on to inspire Kaia Gerber's Oscar De La Renta look at the 2021 Met Gala.

Related Stories