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Fashion / Style File

Looking Back at the Fashion-Forward — The Top 10 Met Gala Dresses of All Time

Fashionistas Made Quite the Mark — and the Knowles Sisters Crushed It

BY Reed Robertson // 05.06.19

It is officially May — and that means only one thing. It’s time for the Met Gala: the Olympics of fashion, at its finest. Tonight, May 6th, marks “fashion’s biggest night out.”

And now, a metaphor: the Met Gala is my Avengers. Attending this soiree is literally the only item on my bucket list, besides singing a duet of Islands in the Stream with Dolly Parton.

The Big Kahuna of couture, the Met Gala has become a place for outrageous creations and magical star-making moments.

But above all else, the Met Gala, formally called the Costume Institute Gala and also known as the Met Ball, is an annual fundraising gala to benefit The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City. It marks the opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibit.

Each year’s event celebrates the theme of that year’s Costume Institute exhibition, and the exhibition sets the overall tone for the formal dress of the night, as guests are ‘encouraged’ to choose their fashion to match the theme of the exhibit.

It is also one of the most exclusive tickets in town — and, well, the world.

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As a side note, if you have not watched the documentary The First Monday in May (the date on which the Met Gala falls), obviously finish reading my splendid musings, but then go directly to Netflix. I watch it every year, on the day of the gala, just to get my head in the right sartorial space.

This year, the Met Gala theme is a veritable playground of possibility, entitled “CAMP: Notes on Fashion,” and is being chaired by Gucci’s creative genius Alessandro Michele, along with Harry Styles, Lady Gaga, Serena Williams and, as always, our Princess Leia of fashion herself, editor-in-chief of Vogue, Anna Wintour.

Here’s a brief down-low on what exactly that means, from Vogue.com:

“[Camp] is the love of the exaggerated, the ‘off,’ of things-being-what-they-are-not,” Susan Sontag offers. “Camp is a woman walking around in a dress made of three million feathers” … “[t]he whole point of Camp is to dethrone the serious. Camp is playful, anti-serious.”

So as we anticipate the campy couture confections to come, let’s stroll down memory lane with my favorite lewks of Met Galas past.

Who: Solange Knowles

What: Iris van Herpen

When: 2018

Why: Ever a risk-taker when it comes to the red carpet, Solange wore one of the most creative designers of our time — and gave a new and interesting layer to the idea of religious dressing.

 

 

Who: Karolina Kurkova

What: Viktor & Rolf

When: 2005

Why: I want to take a nap in this so bad, it’s ridiculous. There are certain pieces that are only eligible to be worn on the Met Gala carpet, and this literal plush fantasy from the label’s 2005 ready-to-wear collection is definitely one of those pieces.

 

 

 

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2006. Alexander McQueen and SJP. #MetGala countdown…

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Who: Sarah Jessica Parker

What: Alexander McQueen

When: 2006

Why: Although SJP has had many a fantastic Met Gala moment — the Monse is still a personal favorite — this is quintessential Met Gala. Dressed to match McQueen himself — her date for the night — it was the perfect convergence of fashion and film.

 

 

 

Who: Mandy Moore

What: Custom Michael Kors

When: 2017

Why: First things first, it’s all knit cashmere. Hellur, you could literally wear this while you binge watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. What’s not to love? But the intricacies of how this was made mimic those of the 2017 honoree, Commes des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo.

 

 

Who: Zendaya

What: Custom Atelier Versace

When: 2018

Why: If you know me at all, you know I hold a burning flame — no pun intended — for our dear Zendaya. And for last year’s Ball, decked out as a literal Glamazon Joan of Arc, she was not only on fire — sorry —  but she burned the whole damn house down. Okay, I’m done.

 

 

Who: Kate Moss

What: Custom Marc Jacobs

When: 2009

Why: The Disco Chanteuse in me Rejoyceth! It’s Kate Moss, you need no other reason, but because I’m feeling friendly, allow me break this down for you. Metallic = swoons. Legs for days = begins to sweat. The TURBAN = prints obituary.

 

 

 

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Met Gala 2015.

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Who: Beyoncé

What: Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci

When: 2015

Why: Picture it: New York City, 2015. The height of the naked-dress craze. Sure, everyone’s looks have been gorgeous thus far, but in walks Beyoncé — wearing the naked-dress trend. And she then proceeds to out-naked-dress every other naked dress in existence. It’s peak illusion moment people. And once again … Pony-tail werk!

 

 

 

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#lindaevangelista at the #metgala2004

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Who: Linda Evangelista

What: Jean Paul Gaultier

When: 2004

Why: Linda is and always will be the Beyoncé of the ’90s Supers, and I don’t care what you have to say in rebuttal to this. Don’t @ me. This is timeless couture, and perfectly whimsical in every way.

 

 

 

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All eyes are on #Rihanna (@badgalriri) wearing Guo Pei on the #MetGala red carpet! #ChinaLookingGlass

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Who: Rihanna

What: Guo Pei

When: 2015

Why: Sorry, I’m no longer friendly. If you don’t get why this belongs on this list, I literally cannot help you. Also, the memes that gay twitter gifted us with after this moment, priceless.

 

 

blake lively met gala marchesa 2010

 

Who: Blake Lively

What: Marchesa

When: 2010

Why: This is such a moment for me, fashion-wise. It was during the height of Gossip Girl mania, and she pulled off one of the biggest jaw-droppers of the year, wearing an embellished and disassembled micro-mini. She also rocked a ponytail that I dreamt about for weeks to follow.

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