The theme for this year’s fashion bonanza has been unveiled as ‘American Independence’, so in anticipation we’re revisiting some of the best Met Gala looks of all time.

The first Monday in May is usually one of the highlights of the fashion year – the Met Gala. But this year, with coronavirus restrictions still in place, the Oscars of the fashion world has been given two new confirmed dates, the first of which is September 13 with a new sartorial theme of American Independence.

The co-hosts for this year’s two-part celebration – the second act of the event, which will be a continued exploration into the theme of American fashion, is slated to take place on the first Monday in May – are recent British Vogue cover star Billie Eilish, four-time Grand Slam singles champion Naomi Osaka, Timothée Chalamet and the star of the presidential inauguration, Amanda Gorman.

Indeed, the first of this year’s Met Galas will, according to organisers, be a smaller, more scaled-back celebration for the opening of the Costume Institute’s next exhibition, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.

The Met Galas of 2020 and 2021 were postponed, even though last year’s About Time exhibition which explored themes of time, history and gender, did open to the public, but without the celeb-filled celebration to mark it that we have come to know and love.  

Over the years we have witnessed some of fashion’s most revered outfits at the event: Sarah Jessica Parker and Lee McQueen in head to toe tartan punk, Rihanna’s ode to Rei Kawakubo’s Comme des Garçons and Kim Kardashian’s dress that spun a thousand Mrs Doubtfire memes, to name just a few.

In anticipation of this year’s inevitable high-fashion, all-American bonanza Stylist has decided to take a look back at the best of the Met Gala red carpet looks of all time.

  • Sarah Jessica Parker and Lee McQueen

    Met Gala: Sarah Jessica Parker and Lee McQueen in 2006 

    In celebration of his Scottish roots designer Alexander McQueen dressed Sarah Jessica Parker for 2006 Met Gala in swathes of tartan. 

  • Rihanna

    Met Gala: Rihanna in 2015

    There is no one that commits to the Met Gala themes like Rihanna, and no one that executes them with such levels of drama. 

  • Lena Waithe

    Met Gala: Lena Waithe in 2018 

    If you can’t make a political statement with your choice of clothes at the Met Gala, then when can you? 

  • Lady Gaga

    Lady Gaga in Brandon Maxwell at the 2019 Met Gala

    Lady Gaga’s entrance to the 2019 Met Gala was almost as dramatic as her Brandon Maxwell dress, almost. Her 16 minute red-carpet performance involved 4 different iterations of her outfit; the shocking pink cape was removed to reveal a black strapless bustier gown. Which was then unfastened to show off a pink fitted gown, and when this was shed an embellished bra and knickers was revealed to be the final look.

  • Beyoncé

    Met Gala: Beyoncé in 2015

    Bringing a whole new meaning to the ‘naked’ dress, Beyoncé’s Givenchy creation was a glittering Met Gala moment. And we haven’t even started on the hair. 

  • Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen

    Met Gala: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in 2015

    Forever the most stylish twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley took on vintage John Galliano for Dior as their 2015 Met Gala look. 

  • Bell Hadid

    Bella Hadid in Alexander Wang at the 2017 Met Gala

    In a sea of gowns there is the occasional red carpet rebel. In 2018 Bella Hadid stood out from the crowd wearing an Alexander Wang bodysuit.

  • Ariana Grande

    Met Gala: Ariana Grande in 2018 

    2018’s ‘Heavenly Bodies’ theme was one of the Met’s best in terms of dedication to the theme, as Ariana Grande demonstrates here in her etheral Vera Wang gown. 

  • Cara Delevingne

    Met Gala: Cara Delevingne in 2017 

    The supermodel used the 2017 Met Gala as her platform to debut her now famous shaved head, and this epic Chanel metallic trouser suit. 

  • Naomi Campbell

    Met Gala: Naomi Campbell in 1995 

    Taking centre stage in a sparkling Versace column gown, Naomi Campbell proves she is totally timeless when it comes to red carpet style. 

  • Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik

    Met Gala: Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik in 2017

    The icon in this image actually isn’t Gigi Hadid’s custom Tommy Hilfiger dress, but Zayn’s bionic metal arms. 

  • Diana Ross

    Diana Ross at the 1981 Met Gala

    Long before Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Beyonce were stealing the show at the Met Gala, Diana Ross lead the way in layers of tiered feathers.

  • Frances McDormand

    Met Gala: Frances McDormand in 2018 

    Perhaps the most unexpected show-stealer came in the form of Frances McDormand’s incredible Valentino outfit from 2018’s Met Gala. The headpiece alone deserves a moment in the red carpet hall of fame. 

  • Cardi B

    Cardi B in Moschino at the 2018 Met Gala

    Speaking of incredible headwear, Cardi B’s Moschino number proved you can never have enough embellishment in one look. 

  • Princess Diana

    Met Gala: Princess Diana in 1996 (Photo: Getty)

    In 1996 Princess Diana made a surprise appearance at the Met Gala in John Galliano for Dior (a mere few weeks after her debuted his collection for the brand). We are still on the hunt for a slip dress this good. 

  • Blake Lively

    Met Gala: Blake Lively in 2018 

    Coming in at a staggering 600 hours to make, Blake Lively’s Versace gown has a little Game of Thrones vibe to it, don’t you think? 

  • Kate Moss

    Met Gala: Kate Moss in 2009 

    Leave it to supermodel, Kate Moss, to win the red carpet in a draped piece of lamé (granted it’s Marc Jacobs) and a matching turban. No wonder she took a long hiatus after this look. 

  • Lady Gaga

    Met Gala: Lady Gaga in 2016

    Even with no trousers, Lady Gaga still takes on ‘icon’ status. 

  • Katy Perry

    Met Gala: Katy Perry in 2018 

    Katy Perry goes hell for leather with the ‘Heavenly Bodies’ theme (but we do feel sorry for whoever had to sit next to her at dinner). 

  • Kim Kardashian

    Met Gala: Kim Kardashian in 2013 

    Head to toe florals courtesy of Givenchy, made Kim Kardashian the most talked about attendee at the 2013 Met Gala. 

  • Lupita Nyong’o

    Met Gala: Lupita Nyong’o in 2016 

    This is what a real life mermaid looks like. Fact. 

  • Cher

    Cher in Bob Mackie at the 1985 Met Gala

    Before J.Lo, Miley Cyrus and Kim Kardashian embraced the sheer, barely there dress on the Met Gala steps, Cher was stepping out in this Bob Mackie creation.

  • Solange

    Met Gala: Solange in 2018 

    Much like Rihanna, Solange really commits to her Met Gala looks- like rocking a halo behind a du-rag whilst wearing latex Iris Van Herpen. 

  • Zendaya

    Zendaya in Dolce & Gabbana at the 2017 Met Gala

    Actor, Zendaya, ensured all eyes remembered her magical look from the 2017 Met Gala. Opting for a Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda floral gown and blown out natural hair. 

  • Rihanna

    Rihanna in Margiela at the 2018 Met Gala

    One more Rihanna, because she really is the reigning Met Gala queen. 

Images: Getty Images

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