The Best Met Gala Dresses Of All Time From Rihanna To Claire Danes


Relive some of the best fashion moments of the decade.

Words by Megan C. Hills and Sunil Makan

The Met Gala is one of the most anticipated events in any celebrity’s calendar and one of the biggest nights out for fashion. While we’ve got a soft spot for the gorgeous, floaty pieces amongst the best Oscar dresses ever, the Met Gala is a time for stars – and their stylists – to really flex their sartorial muscles and take a plunge.

Overseen by fashion powerhouse Anna Wintour and with a notoriously difficult to get onto guest list, it’s the most glamorous fundraiser of the year with proceeds going towards the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. (Hence the name: Met Gala.) Every year, there’s a different theme and it’s always fascinating to see who really hit the nail on the head and who flopped miserably. We’ve put together an edit of our favourites of all time below.

This year’s Met Gala theme has just been announced and it’s a minefield. It’s called Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination and unsurprisingly, it’s been viewed as super controversial. Although religious iconography has previously featured in designer collections by powerhouses like Dolce & Gabbana, celebrities and their stylists are going to be under immense pressure to figure out the perfect way to push style boundaries – without pushing too hard.

Theme: Rei Kawakubo

Last year’s theme honoured one of the most exciting designers of the decade: Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons. Renowned for her sculptural and avant-garde approach to fashion, things got delightfully weird and we were here for it. Standouts included Katy Perry’s swooping red tulle gown, Blake Lively’s feathered Versace and Priyanka Chopra’s beefed up trench coat (all featured below in our gallery, don’t worry). However there was one undisputed style queen that night…

Met Gala Rihanna

Dressed in a ruffled piece designed by the honouree’s own brand Comme des Garçons and a pair of Dsquared2 lace up heels, Rihanna was basically a walking art installation last year.

met gala best outfits

Richard Young/REX/Shutterstock

Theme: Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology

Things got technical this year, as the theme for the Met Gala was Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology. A lot of celebrities took things to a futuristic level, with Emma Watson wearing a dress made entirely out of plastic bottles and Kate Hudson’s sculptural gown setting her up as a kind of robotic angel. Katy Perry again drew attention with her sweeping Prada gown, while Taylor Swift’s newly debuted platinum locks had tongues wagging. As for our favourite…

Met Gala Claire Danes

Claire Danes stole the show in this gorgeous dress by Zac Posen (who, hey, you can spot on the right watching on proudly). While the silhouette of the dress was utterly romantic and completely spot on for the Stardust actress, the real innovation behind this dress was the fact that it glowed in the dark. Seriously.

best met gala dresses

Erik Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock

Theme: China: Through the Looking Glass

This year’s theme centred around China and – uh – it got controversial. It’s no secret that fashion’s been prone to orientalism and toeing the line between appropriation and honouring a culture’s tradition is a very slim one. Many stars went straight to the source and commissioned Chinese designers for their looks, while others opted for thoughtful details like Mandarin collars and embroidered silk. Others stayed completely away and did their own thing…and then there was Sarah Jessica Parker’s headpiece. Still torn on that one.

Met Gala Rihanna (again)

Don’t @ us, she deserves the title. Rihanna stepped out in a sweeping Guo Pei gown, who’s one of our favourite modern Chinese designers today. We’d go as far as to say that this was the look that cemented Rihanna as a style darling and it was accessorised perfectly with a bronze hairpiece, the perfect hairstyling and a gorgeous rosy-cheeked beauty look we’re still trying to imitate. Unsurprisingly, the dress weighed a ton though and she had a posse help her carry it around and up the stairs all night.

best met gala dresses

Joe Schildhorn/BFA/REX/Shutterstock

Read on for more of our favourite looks below.

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