FASHION

9 Stunning Gowns from the Red Carpet at Past Met Galas

most stunning gowns and best looks from the red carpet at past iterations of the Costume Institute Gala at the Met Museum in New York

The first Monday in May is the zenith of fashion life in Manhattan. That’s because every year that’s the night of the over-the-top fabulous Met Gala. Coronavirus robbed us of the fun of it for 2020. And in 2021, the event will happen in more subdued fashion this fall. To hold us over until next May, we’re doing a throwback. Our correspondent Meredith Lepore is sharing her edit of the 9 most stunning gowns and best looks from the red carpet at past iterations of the Costume Institute Gala at the Met Museum in New York. Imagine what they’ll do next time!

What are the best luxury fashion looks of years past from The Met Gala?

Normally, the first Monday in May would be a day of great celebration in the fashion world. Not only because we have to worry about less sporadic April rain showers messing up our ‘dos. But also because the infamous Met Gala always falls on the first Monday of this month.

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Of course, it was canceled last year due to the pandemic and though the world is opening up, now the event will not return until September. But on the plus side, it will be double the fun because the gala is being split into two parts. 

Best looks from the Costume Institute Gala at the Met Museum in New York

The most stunning gowns and best looks from the red carpet at past iterations of the Costume Institute Gala at the Met Museum in New York. Blake Lively in 2018.

Part 1, titled “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” will debut on September 18, 2021 and run through September 5, 2022 to “celebrate The Costume Institute’s 75th anniversary and explore a modern vocabulary of American fashion.” And then Part 2 is called “In America: An Anthology of Fashion“, and will open on May 5, 2022. It will close the following September. 

The most stunning gowns and best looks from the red carpet at past iterations of the Costume Institute Gala at the Met Museum in New York. Rihanna 2017.

“Over the past year, because of the pandemic, the connections to our homes have become more emotional, as have those to our clothes. For American fashion, this has meant an increased emphasis on sentiment over practicality,” Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute, said in a statement. 

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“Responding to this shift, Part One of the exhibition will establish a modern vocabulary of American fashion based on the expressive qualities of clothing as well as deeper associations with issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Part Two will further investigate the evolving language of American fashion through a series of collaborations with American film directors who will visualize the unfinished stories inherent in The Met’s period rooms.”

The most stunning gowns and best looks from the red carpet at past iterations of the Costume Institute Gala at the Met Museum in New York. Cardi B in 2018.

As fascinating as this all is, we all know what we really care about is seeing every celebrity under the sun in some of the most outrageous, campiest, and beautiful ensembles. 

After all, who can forget Rihanna’s yellow dress with a train the size of a small whale or Jackie Onassis in classic Valentino in the 1970s? Let’s take a look at more of the best looks ever from the Met Gala since we won’t have any for a few months. 

The 90s, minimalist as they were, showed some pretty tame looks for the Met Ball compared to today such as Gywneth Paltrow in sleek Calvin Klein. Though Elizabeth Hurley brought the house down in her stunning violet Versace.

best looks met gala

The best looks of years past from The Met Gala: Gywneth Paltrow. Courtesy Photo.

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In the 2000s celebs began to have a bit more fun such as Cate Blanchett in a gold Balenciaga and Carey Mulligan in a short, super reflective Prada dress. And then who can forget Beyonce in a Givenchy beaded dress with a  studded face veil to boot in 2014. 

best looks met gala

The best looks of years past from The Met Gala: Cate Blanchett. Courtesy Photo.

And then Blake Lively, the woman who constantly reminds the world she doesn’t have a stylist whenever she gets the opportunity, proved she came to play with her Atelier Versace gown in 2017. 

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Major props to Lupita Nyong’o for the year before with that amazing cone hair by Vernon François paired with a gown by Calvin Klein for the gala’s “Manus x Machina” theme.

best looks met gala

The best looks of years past from The Met Gala: Lupita Nyong’o. Courtesy Photo.

You also have to give credit to Anne Hathaway for really experimenting with her Met Gala looks like this iconic Valentino red dress she wore in 2018.

The best looks of years past from The Met Gala: Anne Hathaway. Courtesy Photo.

But would it even be a Met gala without Lady Gaga? At the last Met gala held, which luckily had an over-the-top theme, Lady Gaga co-chaired the event and wore three (well four technically) different outfits. First, a fuchsia pink cape gown designed by  Brandon Maxwell with a 25-foot train which she paired with a giant pink hair bow and doll-like eye makeup. Then it was time for a corseted black dress to only strip down to a crystal bra, undergarments, and pantyhose. Then she ended the night with a bright pink column gown.

The best looks of years past from The Met Gala: Lady Gaga. Courtesy Photo.

While won’t have a fresh crop of outfits to fawn over this month, the looks of years past from The Met Gala should get us through a few more months.

What are the best fashion looks of years past from The Met Gala?

That’s our take on 9 of the most stunning gowns and best looks from the red carpet at past iterations of the Costume Institute Gala at the Met Museum in New York. What’s your absolute favorite, dear reader?

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This article contains affiliate links to products independently selected by our editors. As an Amazon Associate, Dandelion Chandelier receives a commission for qualifying purchases made through these links. 

Meredith Lepore is a freelance writer, editor, and content strategist. Her work has appeared in Marie Claire Magazine, Women’s Health, InStyle, Architectural Digest, The Observer, and Travel & Leisure. She earned her Masters in journalism from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Meredith resides in New York full time, and enjoys reading, jogging, spinning, and playing with her small dog, Otis.

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