A look back at the Met Gala's most memorable fashion moments

As the Met Gala’s 2023 theme is revealed… a look back at the iconic event’s most memorable and quirky fashion moments from Rihanna’s papal look to Katy Perry’s chandelier dress

The Met Gala 2023 is just a matter of months away and this year’s theme was unveiled to be Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty earlier this week.

The fashion extravaganza will take place on May 1 at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City and will pay tribute to the late fashion designer, Vogue announced.

Karl died February 19, 2019 at the age of 85 following complications of pancreatic cancer. 

The gala will also have Penelope Cruz, Michaela Coel, Roger Federer and Dua Lipa as the co-chairs, along with Anna Wintour.


Fashion: The Met Gala 2023 is just a matter of months away and has played host to a number of iconic looks from Rihanna’s Pope-inspired ensemble to Katy Perry’s chandelier outfit

The iconic gala always sees a string of celebrity talent attend and debut an array of show-stopping and sometimes quirky outfits as they storm the red carpet.

This year’s event is bound to serve up some extravagant fashion ensembles, after Kim Kardashian’s Marilyn Monroe dress caused quite a stir last year.

The Met Gala has played host to no shortage of famous moments, from Rihanna’s Pope-inspired ensemble to Katy Perry’s chandelier outfit, as well as Lady Gaga stripping down to her lingerie and Blake Lively’s ornate Versace gown.

So as excitement brews for the upcoming star-studded night, MailOnline takes a look back at the Met Gala’s most memorable fashion moments.


Iconic: The Met Gala has played host to no shortage of famous moments from Lady Gaga stripping down to her lingerie and Blake Lively’s ornate Versace gown

Rihanna’s silver papal outfit

Arguably one of the most memorable Met Gala red carpet moments in recent years was Rihanna’s Pope-inspired glitzy ensemble.

The singer, 34, co-chaired the 2018 gala and stormed the red carpet in an intricately beaded ensemble by Maison Margiela complete with mitre and cropped cope.

She stole the show as she channeled the Pope for the fashion extravaganza, which had the theme Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.

Dazzling: Arguably one of the most memorable Met Gala red carpet moments in recent years was Rihanna’s Pope-inspired glitzy ensemble 

She put on a very leggy display in a jewelled mini dress while her sparkling cape billowed out behind her.

Every piece of her look, including her intricate headwear, were intricately encrusted with pearls, beads and gemstones.

For footwear, she opted for a pair of glittering gunmetal Louboutin heels with pearl straps as she added a few extra inches to her frame.

She did not fail to steal the show and has gone down in Met Gala history as one of its most iconic looks.

Sensational: The singer, 34, co-chaired the 2018 gala and stormed the red carpet in an intricately beaded ensemble by Maison Margiela complete with mitre and cropped cope

Jewelled: She stole the show as she channeled the Pope for the fashion extravaganza, which had the theme Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

Katy Perry’s quirky candlestick look

Katy Perry made a very quirky appearance at the iconic gala back in 2019, rocking the star-studded red carpet dressed as a chandelier.

The Firework hitmaker, 38, was determined to outshine the other celebrities in her lavish outfit, complete with glowing light-up candles.

She posed up a storm in the Moschino ensemble, which was absolutely covered in Swarovski crystals, as she embodied the theme – Camp: Notes on Fashion.

Sparkling: Katy Perry made a very quirky appearance at the iconic gala back in 2019, rocking the star-studded red carpet dressed as a chandelier 

Her sparkling outfit consisted of two tiers of candles fixed around her waistline, plus another one encircling her towering headpiece.

She showed off her incredible figure in a dazzling silver strapless mini dress, which she styled with jewelled heels and a choker necklace.

Katy styled her platinum blonde tresses in a poker straight bob and accentuated her natural beauty with a high-glamour make-up palette.

And that was not the only look which she turned heads with at the 2019 Gala, as she later changed into a burger costume. 

Shining: The Firework hitmaker, 38, was determined to outshine the other celebrities in her lavish outfit, complete with glowing light-up candles

Partying later in the evening, Katy slipped into a huge cheeseburger costume, complete with matching fast-food themed sliders.

Her amusing outfit even featured a toothpick sticking out of her head as she once again chose a very quirky outfit for the event. 

The glittering silver base of her headpiece appeared to be recycled from the Moschino chandelier outfit she modelled earlier in the evening. 

Celebrities couldn’t help but flock around her for photographs as she appeared to have the time of her life in the food-themed outfit.  

Very unique! And that was not the only look which she turned heads with at the 2019 Gala, as she later changed into a burger costume

Lady Gaga peeling off the layers down to her lingerie 

She is certainly not a stranger to a bold fashion look, having famously sported a meat dress on one occasion.

And Lady Gaga certainly did not fail to disappoint with her choice for the 2019 annual New York event.

The songstress, 36, started off the red carpet in a dramatic pink gown, before stripping off layer after layer of haute couture clothing, all the way down to her sequinned underwear.

Bold: She is certainly not a stranger to a bold fashion look, and Lady Gaga certainly did not fail to disappoint with her choice for the 2019 annual New York event

Her metamorphosis began with a massive Brandon Maxwell-designed magenta gown, the gigantic train of which was at one point was dramatically fanned out by several attendants. 

A huge magenta bow perched atop the Poker Face hitmaker’s blonde bob wig completed the look, which was very fitting for the Gala’s Camp: Notes on Fashion theme.

However this was just the start of Gaga’s transformation as she soon stepped out of the colossal garment, revealing a relatively simple strapless black dress underneath.

Impressive! Her metamorphosis began with a massive Brandon Maxwell-designed magenta gown, the train of which was at one point was dramatically fanned out by several attendants


Reveal: However, she soon stepped out of the colossal garment, revealing a relatively simple strapless black dress underneath, before stripping down again to a pink gown

But this outfit was also short-lived, as she soon ditched it in favour of another magenta dress – a slinky, form-fitting gown worn over chunky platform heels. 

The pop icon covered her magnificent gold fake eyelashes with oversized sunglasses and held a huge prop vintage cell phone to her ear. 

However, the Telephone hitmaker then stripped down for a final time, ditching her pink gown to reveal her sequinned lingerie beneath. 

Skimpy: The Telephone hitmaker then stripped down for a final time, ditching her pink gown to reveal her sequinned lingerie beneath

Blake Lively’s ornate Versace gown  

She has pulled off an array of glamorous red carpet looks over the years, but one Met Gala look stood out from the crowd.

The Gossip Girl star, 35, stepped out at the 2018 event, which was themed Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, in a gorgeous rouge gown.

She showed off her incredible figure in the glitzy dress, which featured a gilded bodice and a sheer-panelled crimson skirt which billowed out behind her.

Wow! Blake Lively stepped out at the 2018 event , which was themed Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, in a gorgeous rouge gown

Her ornate gown was embellished with gold thread and an array of ruby and emerald jewels, starkly contrasted against the bold rouge of the skirt.

She swept her golden tresses back into an up-do, completing her extravagant look with a halo-style gold headpiece. 

Speaking of the gown, Blake told Vogue at the time: ‘This year’s may be my favourite dress ever. They’ve already worked on it for 600 hours, and it’s not done.’ 

Golden: She showed off her incredible figure in the glitzy dress, which featured a gilded bodice and a sheer-panelled crimson skirt which billowed out behind her

Kim Kardashian’s Marilyn Monroe dress 

One dress that caused quite the backlash was Kim Kardashian wearing Marilyn Monroe’s famous Happy Birthday Mr. President dress to the Met Gala last year.

She stepped out at the Anna Wintour-hosted ball in the iconic beige jewelled gown, which she styled with a white faux-fur jacket.

The TV personality, 42, dropped 16 pounds in three weeks to fit into the famous dress, which Marilyn wore while singing Happy Birthday to President Kennedy in 1962.

Controversy: One dress that caused quite the backlash was Kim Kardashian wearing Marilyn Monroe’s famous Happy Birthday Mr. President dress to the Met Gala last year

In order to do so, Kim revealed she wore a sauna suit twice a day, ran on the treadmill, eliminated all sugar and carbs from her diet, and consume ‘clean’ vegetables and protein.

However, she came under an immense amount of criticism for the diet, with many branding it ‘unhealthy’ – including actress Lily Reinhart, who said Kim’s ‘ignorance is other-worldly and disgusting’.

But her personal trainer, Don ‘DB’ Brooks, hit back at trolls and explained that it ‘wasn’t like starving yourself’, noting that she ‘put the work in’.

Weight loss: The TV personality, 42, dropped 16 pounds in three weeks to fit into the famous dress, which Marilyn wore while singing Happy Birthday to President Kennedy in 1962

In June, Kim also hit back at the criticism and insisted she ‘didn’t do anything unhealthy’ as she compared her diet to Christian Bale’s transformation for The Machinist. 

The Marilyn dress was bought at auction by Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum chain for $4.8 million in 2016, with no adjustments allowed to be made to the original gown. 

While she only wore the original dress briefly on the red carpet, changing into a replica for the rest of the evening, Kim faced backlash as it was rumoured the famous gown was damaged.

Damage? While she only wore the original dress briefly on the red carpet, then changing into a replica, Kim faced backlash as it was rumoured that the famous gown was damaged

It was claimed that some of the embedded crystals were missing and there was also reportedly damage to one of the dress’ zippers.

Despite before-and-after photos circulating, Ripley’s released a statement claiming, ‘she did not, in any way, damage the garment in the short amount of time it was worn at the Met Gala.’

Ripley’s Vice President of Publishing and Licensing, Amanda Joiner, added: ‘From the bottom of the Met steps, where Kim got into the dress, to the top where it was returned, the dress was in the same condition it started in.’

… and Kim Kardashian’s Balenciaga face-mask look

Kim Kardashian also rocked another unique look on the Met Gala red carpet as she arrived covered head-to-toe in black fabric at the 2021 look.

Not shying away from a quirky ensemble, Kim strutted her stuff in an avant-garde Balenciaga look that divided fans.

She was covered head-to-toe in an all-black ensemble, including a mask covering her face, with fans compared her to a soul-eating Dementor from Harry Potter as well as the titular character from Ridley Scott’s Alien.

Mixed reviews: Kim Kardashian also rocked another unique look on the Met Gala red carpet as she arrived covered head-to-toe in black fabric at the 2021 look

Kim recently said that the Balenciaga look make her ‘change the way’ she felt about red carpet looks.

She said: ‘Ever since I did the Balenciaga look with the face mask and covered head to toe, it changed the way that I feel about just looking pretty on a red carpet. 

‘It’s not about just looking pretty. It has to be a story, a whole vibe. And this dress is such a good story.’

Very quirky: Not shying away from a quirky ensemble, Kim strutted her stuff in an avant-garde Balenciaga look that divided fans

Balenciaga has recently been shrouded in scandal after a ‘disturbing’ ad campaign that featured a child holding a teddy bear dressed in a BDSM outfit.

Kim spoke out against the controversial images, saying: ‘There is absolutely no place or an ounce to even play with anything with children like any sexualization of children. There’s not an ounce of that should be in our brains, in our society. I get that.’

She continued: ‘I couldn’t have been more clear, this is horrifying, this is disturbing.’

Different look: Kim recently said that the Balenciaga look make her ‘change the way’ she felt about red carpet looks

Jared Leto carrying a replica of his own HEAD  

Jared Leto went down in history when he bizarrely carried a replica of his own head upon arrival at the 2019 ‘camp’ Met Gala.

The actor, 51, held on to his decapitated head while wearing a regal design by Alessandro Michele for Gucci.

Jared donned a long-sleeved red gown covered with ropes of sparkling jewellery but it was his prosthetic look-alike that stole the show. 

Lost your head? Jared Leto went down in history when he bizarrely carried a replica of his own head upon arrival at the 2019 ‘camp’ Met Gala

Bizarre: The actor, 51, held on to his decapitated head while wearing a regal design by Alessandro Michele for Gucci

The accessory was a nod to Gucci’s fall/winter 2018 fashion show in February 2018, which featured models walking the runway carrying decapitated heads resembling themselves.

Jared held the head up high as he gazed at it while making his way along the carpet and posed for photographs upon arrival.

He also had the replica head tucked under his arm as he entered the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and later clutched it as he posed with the stars.

A bit different! Jared donned a long-sleeved red gown covered with ropes of sparkling jewellery but it was his prosthetic look-alike that stole the show

Cardi B’s gigantic feathered gown

At the 2019 Met Gala, Cardi B made sure to capture attention in a very flamboyant red dress with a matching headpiece.

The rapper, 30, looked incredible in the padded rouge gown, which accentuated her curves, as she posed up a storm on the red carpet.

Her dramatic quilted train surrounded her and was complete with a feathered trim, while her bodice also featured glittering sequins.

Amazing: At the 2019 Met Gala, Cardi B made sure to capture attention in a very flamboyant red dress with a matching headpiece

Flamboyant: Cardi’s ensemble was complete with huge feathered shoulders and a jewelled red headpiece, making sure all eyes were on her

Cardi’s ensemble was complete with huge feathered shoulders and a jewelled red headpiece, making sure all eyes were on her.

Five gentlemen in black suits could be spotted helping her manage her feather-trimmed train as she made her way around the event. 

Her husband Offset, the father of her daughter Kulture, tweeted of Cardi’s outfit: ‘WIFEY IS THE TRUTH SHE JUST KILLED THE MET GALA THAT DRESS IS WOW !!!!!’ 

Dramatic: The rapper, 30, looked incredible in the padded rouge gown, which accentuated her curves, as she posed up a storm on the red carpet

Zendaya’s shining Cinderella gown 

Zendaya proved fairytales really do come true as she stepped out at the 2019 Met Gala alongside her Fairy Godfather.

The actress, 26, magically transformed into a shimmering Cinderella as she stepped out in a princess-style Tommy Hilfiger dress.

However, her gown became even more enchanting as it magically lit-up thanks to just a few waves of her Fairy Godfather Law Roach’s wand.

Shining: Zendaya proved fairytales really do come true as she stepped out at the 2019 Met Gala alongside her Fairy Godfather

Transformation: The actress, 26, magically transformed into a shimmering Cinderella as she stepped out in a princess-style Tommy Hilfiger dress alongside her Fairy Godfather Law Roach

After the enchanting ‘spell’ was complete, Zendaya nodded in gratitude towards Law before posing for photos in her elaborate outfit. 

From the gown to the choker necklace, Zendaya was a dead ringer for the iconic Disney princess from the 1950 animated movie.

Just like Cinderella, Zendaya even left her glass slipper behind as she walked up the staircase. 

Glowing: Her gown became even more eye-catching as it magically lit-up thanks to just a few waves of her Fairy Godfather Law Roach’s wand 

Billy Porter being carried by six shirtless men in gold ensemble

Billy Porter has made history with an array of iconic fashion statements over the years.

And the Pose star, 53, made an impression as he arrived at the 2019 Met Gala carried by six shirtless men draped in gold Ancient Egyptian-inspired chokers, necklaces, face masks and jeans.

The talented actor opted for a Cleopatra-inspired ensemble in a black and gold skintight jumpsuit covered in beads. 

Statement: Billy Porter made an impression as he arrived at the 2019 Met Gala carried by six shirtless men draped in gold Ancient Egyptian-inspired chokers, necklaces and face masks

Sparkling: Making a dramatic fashion statement, Billy raised his arms in the air to reveal two oversized gold wings attached to his ensemble

Making a dramatic fashion statement, Billy raised his arms in the air to reveal two oversized gold wings attached to his ensemble.

The star made sure his gold theme went from head-to-toe as he wore a gold chain crown with a matching wig, he added sequinned eye make-up and a metallic lipstick.

Adding height to his frame, Billy opted for a pair of gold heeled ankle boots embellished with beads and jewels.

Shimmering: The star made sure his gold theme went from head-to-toe as he wore a gold chain crown with a matching wig, he added sequinned eye make-up and a metallic lipstick

Blake Lively’s colour changing gown 

She has been known for her many attention-grabbing red carpet looks, and is no stranger to stealing the show at the Met Gala.

And last year, Blake Lively certainly did not fail to impress as she rocked a gown which transformed from one colour to another.

Alongside her husband Ryan Reynolds, she initially stepped out in a jewelled strapless Versace gown with a dramatic pink bow sash and matching train.

But with a bit of assistance, she then removed the chunky bow to transform her train from pink to an eye-catching ice blue.


Seeing double! Last year, Blake Lively certainly did not fail to impress as she rocked a gown which transformed from one colour to another 

Adding to the drama, Blake wore a pair of mauve pink arm-length gloves, which she later swapped for blue ones, and a crown sat atop her flowing blonde tresses. 

Blake explained that her look for the night was inspired directly by ‘New York City architecture’ and the city’s ‘historic buildings,’ such as the Empire State Building and Grand Central station. 

‘Instead of looking to fashion to influence the dress, I looked to New York City architecture and the classic buildings,’ Blake told red carpet correspondent Vanessa Hudgens of her gown.

The Zodiac train represented the constellation from Grand Central station, while the body of her gown was inspired by the Empire State Building.

Impressive: Alongside her husband Ryan Reynolds, she initially stepped out in a jewelled strapless Versace gown with a dramatic pink train, before revealing another blue look

Rihanna’s bright yellow gown… which was compared to a pizza

Known for going all-out at the Met Gala, Rihanna certainly made an impression back in 2015 when she sported a huge bright yellow gown.

The pop star looked like royalty as she arrived at the Chinese-themed Met Gala bash in New York, but it received mixed reviews from her fans.

The lavish yellow gown, designed by Chinese couture designer Guo Pei, featured gold embroidered patterns and flowed out in a huge circular train behind her.

Vibrant: Known for going all-out at the Met Gala, Rihanna certainly made an impression back in 2015 when she sported a huge bright yellow gown

Rihanna’s giant creation featured a fur-trimmed yellow cape with floral swirls of gold and a train so long it required three wranglers. 

The singer revealed to Vogue that the dress was hand made by one woman and it took her two years to make the garb in time for the Gala.

Despite the iconic look going down in history, at the time it circulated on social media, with some people claiming the circular yellow train resembled a pizza or a pancake.

In 2020, Rihanna admitted she felt self-conscious and felt like a ‘clown’ before getting out of the car that day due to her nerves.

Legendary: The pop star looked like royalty as she arrived at the Chinese-themed Met Gala bash in New York, but it received mixed reviews from her fans

Comparisons: Despite the iconic look going down in history, at the time it circulated on social media, with some people claiming the circular yellow train resembled a pizza or a pancake

‘I remember being so scared to get out of that car because I felt like, ‘I’m doing too much,” she recalled.

‘I was driving past the red carpet and I was just seeing gowns,’ Rihanna recollected. ‘I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m a clown, people are gonna laugh at me. This is too much.” 

‘I don’t regret it,’ she admitted in hindsight as she spoke about the now-legendary look. 

Reflecting: In 2020, Rihanna admitted she felt self-conscious and felt like a ‘clown’ before getting out of the car that day due to her nerves

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