There is a reason the Museum of Art Costume Institute’s annual Met Gala is dubbed ‘the Oscars of fashion’. Forget all the award ceremonies, this is where both designers and celebrities really come to play with fashion. I mean, who doesn’t love a party with a good theme?!
Unfortunately this year’s Met Gala – entitled About Time: Fashion and Duration – has been postponed. In honour of the 2020 theme I’m taking a look back over the last ten years, and picking my Top 10 Met Gala looks that have truly lasted the test of time.
The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion was the Met Gala theme for 2009 – the first year in my decade-long retrospective look at the best dressed attendees.
It was a fairly underwhelming year as fashion went, and when you look back at the pictures now you cannot help but slightly grimace at the Noughties trends. However, one attendee stood out in terms of style – and, fittingly for the theme, she is one of the most famous supermodels of all time.
Kate Moss wore a Marc Jacobs lamé dress and with a custom-made Stephen Jones turban. Complete with a quick flick of eyeliner and silver shadow, it was a look that was both right on trend and timeless.
Another year that hasn’t gone down too well in Met Gala history, the theme for 2010 was American Women: Fashioning a National Identity.
My best dressed star from that year is someone who I think captures the essence of the theme perfectly. Anne Hathaway is definitely an American sweetheart. She wore a strapless nude embroidered tulle gown by Valentino. She kept her hair and makeup relatively simple, which only reinforced her image as a wholesome and fresh American beauty.
The theme of the 2011 Met Gala was Savage Beauty in honour of the retrospective Alexander McQueen exhibition of the same name.
My fave ensemble of the evening had the spirit of an Alexander McQueen design – including a distinctive silhouette and a hint of the gothic about it – but was by Zac Posen.
Christina Ricci was the lucky celebrity who got to wore this corseted, netted and mermaid-silhouetted creation. In my opinion the actress, who has a reputation for playing kooky characters, was the perfect choice to wear such a noir creation.
The 2012 Met Gala honoured the iconic interwar designer Elsa Schiaparelli, whose designs were greatly influenced by surrealism.
Given the potential of the theme to allow for the wackiest of designs, it was a surprise that the best dressed celeb that year was the grand dame of fashion herself, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
Anna eschewed her usual Chanel in favour of a white floor length gown by Prada adorned with a gold lobster. This was an homage to Schiaparelli’s legendary 1937 lobster dinner dress, which in turn had been inspired by the artistic works of Salvador Dali.
I love a theme that pushes the fashionistas out of their comfort zones, and Punk: Chaos did just that.
My fave look from 2013 definitely belonged to Sarah Jessica Parker. In a real life Carrie Bradshaw moment, she fused high fashion and punk in an eye-catching printed Giles Deacon gown, topped with a Phillip Treacy creation that paid homage to the classic punk haircut – the Mohawk.
Sometimes you just can’t beat good old-fashioned Hollywood glamour – and that’s exactly what the 2014 theme bought. Charles James: Beyond Fashion was a tribute to the legendary American couturier.
There were loads of beautiful and big skirted ballgowns that year, but my eyes fell on the perfect pink Oscar de la Renta ensemble worn by pop princess Taylor Swift. It was very much a party-in-the-back dress, with a bustle-like detail. You could imagine a 1950s debutante gracing the ballrooms of New York in this dress.
China: Through The Looking Glass was the theme for the 2015 Met Gala. It was supposed to honour China’s influence on Western fashion, but was met with accusations of cultural appropriation from some quarters.
The dress I have chosen from 2015 is one that slipped quietly under the radar, overshadowed by some very large and ostentatious ensembles. Anna Winter’s daughter, Bee Shaffer, chose to wear a gorgeous embroidered creation by Alexander McQueen that I would happily don myself.
I was pleasantly surprised by the Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology theme in 2016. I thought I would hate it, but the celebs really bought their A-game in terms of creativity.
The Met Gala carpet really belonged to Kim and Kanye that year. Dressed by her friend and designer Oliver Rousteing of Balmain, Kim wore a long-sleeved form-fitting mirrored dress, complete with external corset and sexy split. Kanye did Kanye and courted a bit of controversy by wearing jeans on the red carpet. Dare I say this could be the most famous Met Gala couple look of all time?
Not my favourite theme of recent Met Gala years, but the Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between theme did bring some out there outfits to the yard.
And who was the belle of the ball in 2017? It has to be that Met Gala icon Rihanna. She turned up in a Comme des Garçons creation that had literally just come off the catwalk as part of their most recent collection. The walking piece-of-art looked like a mass of floral petals. It is fair to say that Rihanna is the only celeb who could carry off such a creation.
Probably my most favourite Met Gala theme ever, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and The Catholic Imagination was literally divine!
My fave ensemble from this year made its wearer look like they had stepped straight out of a Renaissance work of art. Met Gala stalwart Blake Lively looked even more like a goddess than she usually does in ornate Versace. She wore an embroidered crimson gown complete with a jewel-encrusted bodice and full train. On her head she wore a headpiece reminiscent of a halo. The whole creation took over 600 hours to make!
By far, this has been my top Met Gala look of the past decade.
The most recent Met Gala was a blaze of pink in honour of the theme Camp: Notes on Fashion.
The not-so-stuffy celebs did better with the dress code than expected, and there was some really out there creations from the likes of Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Cardi B. But I think with an in-yer-face theme like Camp it is so much harder to carry it off subtly.
But actress of the moment and Met Gala debutante Gemma Chan did just that in a Tom Ford creation. She wore an embroidered dress and cape, but all eyes were on the dramatic headdress which was an homage to the famous number worn by Elizabeth Taylor in the film Boom!
What did you think of my top Met Gala outfits? Were there any outfits you think should be added to the list? Or was there one specific year which really stood out for you?