The Met Gala 2023 is quickly approaching, and fashion aficionados are giddy with anticipation for the occasion. Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty, this year’s theme, honours the legendary fashion designer and promises to be a show of fashion and art. Here is a quick glance at the memorable and divisive Met Gala outfits from previous years as we countdown to May 1. From Lady Gaga’s meat dress to Rihanna’s recognisable yellow dress, these styles have had a profound impact on the industry as a whole and will go down in the chronicles of fashion history.
1. Kim Kardashian’s dazzling look (2022)
Image Source: Hindustan Times; Kim’s look inspired from Marilyn Monroe’s outfit
Many criticised Kim Kardashian for disrespecting Marilyn Monroe’s memory when she decided to wear the iconic dress she wore to the 2022 Met Gala. When Monroe sang “Happy Birthday” to President J.F. Kennedy in 1962, she wore a dress that is now regarded as a relic and is also one of the most expensive dresses ever made. Some people applauded Kardashian for drawing focus to the dress, while others thought she should have left it as a historical artefact and shouldn’t have worn it in the first place.
2. Katy Perry (2019)
Chandelier adorned dress decked up Katy Perry’s look
Inspire by a chandelier, Katy Perry’s 2019 Met Gala ensemble included a custom Moschino dress draped in silver sequins and crystals. The dress was voluminous with layers of tulle creating the appearance of a chandelier’s hanging crystals. It had a structured bodice. Katy Perry arrived at the event riding a harness resembling a chandelier, controlled by two handlers, which added drama to the already lavish ensemble. One of the most notable and talked-about costumes in Met Gala history was undoubtedly Perry’s chandelier ensemble.
3. Rihanna’s yellow-shaded Guo Pei dress (2015)
One of the most famous and divisive outfits in the history of the Met Gala was worn by Rihanna in a yellow Guo Pei gown in 2015. The designer spent two years crafting the canary yellow dress, which features a long train and elaborate embroidery and was modelled after ancient Chinese imperial robes. The audacious decision drew varied reactions, with some admiring the singer’s fearless sense of style and others criticising the garish appearance. The dress has still become a defining event in Met Gala history, and its impact can still be seen in the modern fashion industry.
4. Lady Gaga’s feisty look (2019)
A fuchsia gown with a spot on bold persona by Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga stole the show at the 2019 Met Gala with her outfit. She was dressed in a 25-foot train, fuchsia gown by Brandon Maxwell. The big shock, however, came when she undressed and exposed not one, but four distinct clothes below, each one more exposed than the one before. She wore a black lingerie suit, fishnet stockings, and enormous platform boots as her last appearance.
5. Madonna in the iconic Givenchy cutout gown (2016)
Madonna wore a black Givenchy dress at the 2016 Met Gala that had strategically placed cutouts that showed off her breasts and buttocks. The provocative attire split opinion among both fashion critics and admirers, causing quite a sensation. The pop icon received mixed reviews for her audacious and provocative remark, with some criticising it as improper and self-serving.
6. Sarah Jessica Parker featuring the Headdress (2015)
Sarah Parker’s exclusive headdress has proved to be basis of numerous meme creation
At the 2015 Met Gala, Sarah Jessica Parker wore a Philip Treacy headpiece with a red silk mohawk that resembled a flame, in keeping with the event’s “China: Through the Looking Glass” theme. Parker’s outfit drew conflicting reviews from fashion experts and social media users; some praised her for making a daring choice in clothing, while others questioned the headdress’s appropriateness and its cultural importance. Nevertheless, the headpiece turned into one of the most discussed and enduring aspects of the occasion.
7. Kendall Jenner (2017)
Although some people thought Kendall Jenner’s daring La Perla dress, worn to the 2017 Met Gala, was inappropriate and vulgar, it displayed 85,000 hand-painted crystals and was an appreciation of the human form. Opinions on whether the outfit was a daring statement or exceeded the threshold into tastelessness were sharply divided, and the topic of sex appeal’s place in fashion came up in the discussion.
8. Kim Kardashian (2021)
An all-black outfit from head to toe
Balenciaga created Kim Kardashian’s all-black ensemble for the 2021 Met Gala. She was wearing a full-body costume, gloves, and a mask that completely obscured her face, leaving only her ponytail showing. The provocative appearance generated a lot of discussion, with some complimenting it for its audacity and originality and others criticising it for being overly excessive and detracting from the event’s spirit.