A Look Back at Some of the Most Memorable Outfits From Past Met Galas

At the Met Gala, fashion takes center stage and the red carpet, normally seen as the precursor to a party, has become the main event. The gala, which takes place on the first Monday in May, has become a fixture for celebrity fashion enthusiasts and pop culture aficionados alike in the past three decades.

While any red carpet for a formal event can summon beautiful gowns and stylish suits, the Met Gala is unique because it champions bold fashion risks like no other. The theme of the night, which determines the dress code, is inspired by the Costume Institute’s annual exhibition, which attendees can interpret as they please. However, the most memorable looks are those that fearlessly and creatively reimagine the theme in their own way. On the steps of the Met, fashion history has been made with the daring and truly extraordinary looks worn by Met Gala guests over the years, from Sarah Jessica Parker and Alexander McQueen dressed in matching outfits made of his Scottish family’s tartan to Rihanna’s showstopping, fur-trimmed yellow Guo Pei cape.

With that in mind, we revisited 45 of the most extraordinary looks from every Met Gala from 1975 to 2023 (with the exceptions of 1991, 2000, 2002 and 2020, years when the gala was not held.

Pat Buckley, 1975

Socialite Pat Buckley, who would later go on to chair the gala in ’80s and ’90s, wore an off-the-shoulder black gown with dramatic fringe to the event in 1975.

Diana Vreeland, 1976

Legendary fashion editor Diana Vreeland, who helped to make the Met Gala as we know it today by championing themes for the annual event, wore a floral dress with fringe in 1976.

Divine in Zandra Rhodes, 1977

Drag queen Divine wore a bold Zandra Rhodes gown that mixed patterns to the 1977 Met Gala.

Lee Radziwill, 1978

Lee Radziwill, an interior designer and sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, paired her sleek white gown with a matching white fur for a monochromatic look at the 1978 Met Gala.

Berry Berenson and Steve Rubell, 1979

Socialite Berry Berenson wore a sparkling red jumpsuit to the 1979 Met Gala, which she attended alongside Studio 54 owner Steve Rubell.

Diana Vreeland in Yves Saint Laurent, 1980

Diana Vreeland cut a striking figure in a black gown and Yves Saint Laurent jacket with sculptural gold embellishment for the 1980 Met Gala; she accessorized the look with coral inspired jewelry.

Diana Ross, 1981

Legendary singer Diana Ross delivered her signature glamour in 1981 with a ruffled tulle gown trimmed with feathers.

Zandra Rhodes and Diana Vreeland, 1982

Fashion designer Zandra Rhodes complemented her trademark hot pink hair with a matching pink and red gown at the 1982 Met Gala, while Diana Vreeland turned to bold white accessories to make her black gown pop.

Nan Kempner, 1983

Socialite and noted clotheshorse Nan Kempner, here with John Richardson, paired her black ensemble with a dramatic floor-length jacket tied with a pussy bow at the neck.

Guests, 1984

Eighties’ fashion was at its boldest and best at the 1984 Met Gala, where guests showed off daring shoulder pads, ostentatious sequins, and statement ruffles.

Cher in Bob Mackie, 1985

Cher attended the 1985 Met Gala alongside her longtime collaborator, the fashion designer Bob Mackie. The theme of the night was “Costumes of Royal India,” so Cher dressed accordingly in a gown with a sheer and crystal embellished bodice and a matching pair of ear adornments.

Lauren Ezersky, 1986

Television fashion journalist Lauren Ezersky wore a white and gold embellished suit dress for the 1986 Met Gala.

Mai Hallingby, 1987

Socialite Mai Hallingby, who attended the 1987 Met Gala alongside her financier husband Paul, wore a dramatically ruffled purple floral gown styled with a black rosette.

Guests, 1988

At the 1988 Met Gala, this guest wore a short dress with an overskirt and matching stole.

Anna Wintour, 1989

Before she became the event’s chair, Anna Wintour—here with her husband David Shaffer—attended the Met Gala as a Vogue editor, donning a gold sequin and black satin dress that she paired with a pearl necklace and a bedazzled overcoat.

Naomi Campbell in Versace, 1990

Supermodel Naomi Campbell, who attended the 1990 Met Gala as a guest of Gianni Versace, wore a colorful Versace mini dress and a matching jacket, while partying with photographer Francesco Scavullo.

Guests, 1992

At the 1992 Met Gala, this guest’s unconventional look included