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Image / Style / Fashion

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Met Gala outfits through the years


By Marie Kelly
02nd May 2022

Editor-in-chief of American Vogue Anna Wintour and her daughter Bee Shaffer (R) pose as they arrive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala (Met Gala) to celebrate the opening of "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology" in the Manhattan borough of New York, May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Met Gala outfits through the years

The Met Gala is undoubtedly the most intimidating red carpet event on any A-lister’s annual calendar because absolutely anything goes.

The event is themed each year (tonight’s Gala is Gilded Glamour and White Tie) and attendees are free to interpret the theme as subtly or as provocatively as they wish. Every year, those iconic red carpeted steps that lead to the entrance of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art are climbed by the great and the good of fashion, art and entertainment. It’s a veritable feast of fashion and celebrity only rivalled by the Oscars.

Although the Met Gala offers the kind of sartorial surprises you won’t see at any similar events, there are certain things that can always be relied upon; Katy Perry and Rihanna will dress to thrill, Kim K and J-Lo will opt for something semi-naked, while Madonna will look ridiculous rather than rebellious. Every year, then, we see outfits that range from the sublime to the ridiculous. Here are just a few that have stood out through the years.

Carey Mulligan is one of my favourite actresses and I love her red carpet style as much as her performances. Here she is at the 2015 Met Gala looking stunning in a black asymmetric hem gown with jewelled neckline. This dress has drama without veering into costume.

Katie Holmes looks like a true red carpet queen in this exquisite fish-tail gown. This shade of petrol blue is so much fresher and more flattering than black, while her hair pulled back into a simple bun looks understatedly chic and creates just the right balance with her statement dress.

Lily Rose Depp blew everyone away in this beautiful Chanel gown in 2016. It’s youthful but timeless too, and the layered shades of vanilla and cream flatter her English rose complexion beautifully.

Taylor Swift reminds me of She-Ra (the 1980s cartoon character) in this getup. For a woman with a model figure, she’s made herself look short and stumpy in these hideous Grecian-style heels and skater-style skirt, while the Gothic lipstick and platinum hair do nothing to flatter her delicate features. What a disastrous look.

There’s not much to say about this John Galliano gown worn by Katy Perry to a previous Met Gala. I guess her reason for wearing it must have been to send out shock waves rather than style ripples.

For a pop icon who was once a true style icon and a trail blazer to be reduced to wearing this garish, bondage-style ensemble that exposed both her boobs and bum is depressing. Her 1920s-style teal evening gown in 2011 was so much more on the money.