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With the 2021 Met Gala just around the corner, take a nostalgic look back over the event’s most epic dresses ever

So many unforgettable fashion moments.

The Best Met Gala Dresses of All Time

Having been held by New York’s Costume Institute since the 70s, 2020 saw the Met Gala – along with pretty much everything else – cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Having also been postponed earlier this year from its usual spot the first Monday in May, the 2021 extravaganza is finally here. Well, very nearly…

Taking place on Monday September 13th, the Met Gala will mark the opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibit which is this year entitled In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.

So what can we expect from the night? While the guest list will no doubt be a slimmed down affair due to the ongoing government guidelines, the theme is set to encourage a true celebration of American designers. With Timothee ChalametBillie EilishAmanda Gorman, and Naomi Osaka co-chairing the event, one thing we do know is that there’ll be a wealth of epic looks.READ MOREThe Met Gala is officially back! Here’s what we know about fashion’s favourite event


So while we wait patiently for Monday night, now is the perfect time to take a nostalgic look back at the Met Gala fashion moments that have thrilled us over previous years.

From a baby-faced Anna Wintour wearing golden sequins and Bianca Jagger in her unforgettable black corseted ball gown, to Rihanna‘s ridiculously long yellow cape and Beyoncé‘s see-through showstopper gown – if the stars didn’t turn heads, they didn’t make this list.READ MOREWhat is the Met Gala & why is everyone always super excited about it?


Want to know more? Check out our guide to what the Met Gala is or check out all of the looks from the last Met Gala in 2019.

Keep an eye on our Met Gala 2021 page to find out everything you need to know about Monday’s event. With looks having no doubt already been chosen, we’re predicting it’ll be an occasion to look forward to.

Scroll down to see the most epic Met Gala dresses of all time…

For more from Glamour UK’s Fashion Editor Charlie Teather, follow her on Instagram @charlieteather.

  • Naomi Campbell 1990GETTY IMAGESNaomi Campbell, 1990Supermodel Naomi Campbell and American fashion photographer Francesco Scavullo arrive at the 1990 event. Naomi went for a gorgeous printed ensemble.
  • GETTY IMAGESKate Moss, 1995Kate Moss is a mainstay in any best dressed list. Kate’s slip dress in 1995 was a classic choice of the model – and of course, it would make our list as well.
  • GETTY IMAGESDavid Beckham and Victoria Beckham, 2008David Beckham and Victoria Beckham gave us major relationship goals at the 2008 Met Ball. She stepped out showing some skin, and David kept it classic and simple.
  • GETTY IMAGESRihanna, 2015…she took it up a level. If there’s one thing certain in life it’s that it will take a lot for someone to out-do Rihanna’s 2015 Met Gala look.WATCHAshley Graham On Motherhood & Changing The Body Positivity Conversation | GLAMOUR Unfiltered
  • GETTY IMAGESRihanna, 2015Another angle so you can witness the greatness.
  • GETTY IMAGESHugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley , 1997Did you even notice Hugh Grant in this photo? He is standing next to the stunning Elizabeth Hurley by the way, who went for a violet dress, with a tight-high slit and heart-shaped neckline.
  • GETTY IMAGESLupita Nyong’o, 2014All eyes were on Lupita Nyong’o when she arrived at 2014’s Met Ball with a gorgeously embellished gown in emerald green – even her sandals had gems.
  • GETTY IMAGESGigi Hadid, 2017While we loved Gigi’s Tommy Hilfiger asymmetrical nude dress, her right leg was the real star of the show.
  • GETTY IMAGESNaomi Campbell, 1995Naomi Campbell might as well start giving new invitees of the Met Gala a masterclass on how to dress for the event (and make some jaws drop as well).
  • Kendall Jenner, 2019Kendall went full-feather in 2019, and the almost flame-like impact of this Versace gown won over fashion critics all over the world.
  • GETTY IMAGESAnna Wintour, 1989Vogue Editor-in-Chief and chair of the Met Gala since 1995, Anna Wintour attended the event themed ‘The Age of Napoleon: Costume From Revolution To Empire’.
  • Lady Gaga, 2019The first of her four Brandon Maxwell looks of the evening, no one was in any doubt that Lady Gaga stole the show in 2019.
  • GETTY IMAGESCher, 1985Cher went for a super embellished fabric to celebrate the theme ‘Costumes of Royal India’, in 1985.
  • GETTY IMAGESVictoria Beckham, 2006’AngloMania’ was the theme of the 2006 Met Gala and of course the Brits were in the house! VB stepped out in a bright red dress with strappy sandals.
  • Hailey Bieber, 2019This baby pink thong-dress by Alexander Wang was one of the most risqué looks of the night, which is why we loved it so much.
  • GETTY IMAGESBella Hadid, 2017If this Alexander Wang number doesn’t scream self-confidence, we don’t know what does. SO into it.
  • GETTY IMAGESBianca Jagger, 1981A show-stopping Bianca Jagger arrives at the 1981 Met Ball, themed ‘The 18th Century Woman’.
  • GETTY IMAGES / REXBlake Lively, 2018Always one to commit to a look, Blake’s 2018 Versace look was one of her most statement yet. It’s a big yes from us.
  • GETTY IMAGESChristy Turlington, 1992Christy Turlington looked like she was channeling Audrey Hepburn at the 1992 Met Ball.
  • GETTY IMAGESBeyoncé, 2016Queen B stepped out wearing a romantic blush gown. Flawless.
  • GETTY IMAGESElle Macpherson and Valentino, 1995Who would have thought that someone could steal the spotlight from Valentino himself? Well, Elle Macpherson did it. At least she was wearing the designer’s collection.
  • GETTY IMAGESKim Kardashian, 2013How to forget this image? You can’t, we can’t. It’s imprinted in everyone’s memories. A very pregnant Kim Kardashian-West in her memorable Givenchy dress and gloves.
  • GETTY IMAGESLinda Evangelista and Kyle MacLachlan, 1996Linda Evangelista and Kyle MacLachlan arrive at the The Costume Institute Gala honouring Christian Dior in 1996. Yep, Linda was wearing a sheer dress, years before it became a thing (hear that Kardashians?)
  • GETTY IMAGESDonatella & Gianni Versace, 1996An unforgettable fashion image, Donatella and the late Gianni Versace at the Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum, in 1996. Her bondage look was just as iconic as her brother’s satin shirt and metallic belt.
  • GETTY IMAGESWhitney Houston and Bobby Brown, 1999Talk about a memorable couple, Whitney Houston and singer Bobby Brown attended The Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute Gala in 1999.
  • GETTY IMAGESCarey Mulligan, 2012Carey Mulligan’s super-sized sequin dress gave Beyoncé‘s a run for its money. Yep, we said it.
  • GETTY IMAGESLiv Tyler and Stella Mccartney, 1999If there’s a duo that absolutely nailed the ‘Rock Style’ theme of 1999, it was Liv Tyler and Stella McCartney, both wearing ‘rock royalty’ t-shirts. Epic.
  • GETTY IMAGESRihanna, 2014And Rihanna pulled off one of the most gorgeous looks this red-carpet had seen to date, until…
  • GETTY IMAGESGwyneth Paltrow, 1999A baby-faced Gwyneth Paltrow, didn’t get the ‘Rock Style’ theme memo, but looked stunning in a blue lace dress anyway.
  • GETTY IMAGESBeyoncé, 2014Beyoncé was a true class-act in her half sheer black gown.
  • REX FEATURESKate Moss, 2009This is what we’re talking about! Kate Moss showing how icons do it, at the Met Ball. It seemed the theme was made for her: ‘The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion’.
  • GETTY IMAGESKim Kardashian and Kanye West, 2016But, come 2016 and the couple took it home dressed head-to-toe in Balmain. They had the theme ‘Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology’ down to a T.
  • GETTY IMAGESNaomi Campbell and Stefano Gabanna, 2001We were serious about the masterclass. Look at Naomi, once again slaying the theme. She poses next to fashion designer Stefano Gabanna, who totally went for the rocker look.
  • GETTY IMAGESGisele Bündchen, 2003Leave it to Brazilian bombshell Gisele Bündchen to put the party in Met Ball after-party. The model danced with designer Domenico Dolce, wearing a gorgeous embellished gown at the 2003 event.
  • GETTY IMAGESKendall Jenner, 2016Kendall Jenner was also there representing the Balmain army in an intricate blue and white gown.
  • GETTY IMAGESScarlett Johansson, 2004Scarlett Johansson at 2004’s Costume Institute Gala ‘Dangerous Liaisons’. Beautiful, in a yellow fitted satin gown.
  • GETTY IMAGESAlexander McQueen and Sarah Jessica Parker, 2006But the most memorable looks were of course, Alexander McQueen and Sarah Jessica Parker, in matching designs. How can you expect these two to walk the red carpet together and it not be a fashion slam dunk?
  • Rihanna, 2018If we told you the 2018 theme was ‘Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination’, that might explain this Maison Margiela by John Galliano look. Never one to overlook a theme, Rihanna couldn’t have got it more right.
  • GETTY IMAGESBlake Lively, 2010Who better than America’s sweetheart, Blake Lively, to make paparazzi go nuts at the ‘American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity’ Met Gala.
  • GETTY IMAGESIman and David Bowie, 2007One year after and Iman and David Bowie were giving SJP and McQueen a run for their money, in contrasting suits.
  • GETTY IMAGESKim Kardashian West and Kanye West, 2015Kim Kardashian West looked stunning next to Kanye West, but unfortunatelly the night was owned by Queen B and Rih Rih.
  • GETTY IMAGESKatie Holmes and Tom Cruise, 2008Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise didn’t give the 2008 theme ‘Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy’ a fair go, but they sure looked good. Katie’s full-on sequin dress was a showstopper.
  • GETTY IMAGESRihanna, 2009Rihanna has been sporting the most daring Met Gala outfits since we can remember. Of course her yellow dress will never be forgotten, but this oversized suit was pretty damn cool.
  • GETTY IMAGESAlexa Chung, 2010Alexa Chung showed up in a tailored suit at the Costume Institute Gala in 2010.
  • GETTY IMAGESRihanna, 2011Rihanna nonchalantly stepped out in a black lace dress for the ‘Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty’ Costume Institute Gala, in 2011.
  • GETTY IMAGESBeyoncé, 2012At 2012’s ‘Schiaparelli And Prada: Impossible Conversations’ Costume Institute Gala, Beyoncé chose to interpret the theme through the contrasting colours of her gorgeous dress.
  • GETTY IMAGESEmma Watson, 2013Emma Watson attended the Costume Institute Gala for the ‘PUNK: Chaos to Couture’ exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in May 2013. Doesn’t she look killer?
  • GETTY IMAGESCara Delevingne, 2013Cara Delevingne took it home. The event ‘PUNK: Chaos to Couture’ finally had someone that completely got the theme without overdoing it.
  • GETTY IMAGESSarah Jessica Parker, 2014In a night that celebrates haute couture Sarah Jessica Parker stepped out in a dress that made for one of the Met Gala’s most beautiful images. Her black and white Oscar de la Renta gown was iconic.
  • GETTY IMAGESBeyoncé, 2015And just when we thought that night couldn’t get any better leave it to Beyoncé, who arrived hours late, but slayed. Naturally.
  • GETTY IMAGESBeyoncé, 2015Let’s zoom in…
  • GETTY IMAGESBeyoncé, 2015Yep, completely slaying. We can’t get over this look.
  • GETTY IMAGESZayn Malik and Gigi Hadid, 2016Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid took the theme very seriously by literally incorporating metal into their looks.
  • GETTY IMAGESMadonna, 2016Yep, Madonna‘s boobs and behind were out at the 2016’s event. We don’t know what it had to do with ‘Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology’ but it certainly turned some heads.
  • GETTY IMAGESEmma Watson, 2016Just take a moment to admire Emma Watson, channeling SJP in her black and white Calvin Klein ensemble that stole the night.
  • GETTY IMAGESHelen Lasichanh, 2017One of the year’s most brilliantly avant garde looks, Helen stole the night wearing Commes des Garçons.
  • GETTY IMAGES / REXGisele Bundchen, 2018Ever elegant, Gisele stunned in silky Versace on the 2018 red carpet with one of those famous legs making quite an appearance.

TopicsMet GalaRed CarpetCelebrity FashionFashion

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