The Most Controversial Met Gala Moments Of All Time

Elle

Every show-stopping look with a story to match

From ELLE

<p>Every first Monday in May, the most influential figures from all corners of pop culture are invited to walk the red carpet of the annual <a href="https://www.crfashionbook.com/fashion/a27170612/history-camp-met-gala-theme-fashion-designers/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute fundraising Gala" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute fundraising Gala</a>. Dubbed the <a href="https://www.crfashionbook.com/fashion/a23801423/met-gala-2019-camp-definition-explained/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Met Gala" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Met Gala</a> or Met Ball, the event celebrates a particular theme each year, inaugurating the Met's new fashion exhibit. Designers and their muses unionise in finding an unforgettable look that also follows the theme of the event. Many invitees use the haute couture formal dress-code as an opportunity to create a look unlike nothing we've seen before. From 10-foot trains to holding your own hair as an accessory, the best looks are truly the ones with a story behind them. </p>
The Most Controversial Met Gala Moments Of All Time

Every first Monday in May, the most influential figures from all corners of pop culture are invited to walk the red carpet of the annual Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute fundraising Gala. Dubbed the Met Gala or Met Ball, the event celebrates a particular theme each year, inaugurating the Met's new fashion exhibit. Designers and their muses unionise in finding an unforgettable look that also follows the theme of the event. Many invitees use the haute couture formal dress-code as an opportunity to create a look unlike nothing we've seen before. From 10-foot trains to holding your own hair as an accessory, the best looks are truly the ones with a story behind them.

<p>Onassis made a rare appearance at the 1979 "Fashions of the Habsburg Era: Austria-Hungary Met Gala," causing a media stir for the former First Lady. She wore a flowing black gown with draped fabric. Onassis was later honoured at future Met Galas for her presence as a fashion icon in American culture. </p>
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, 1979

Onassis made a rare appearance at the 1979 "Fashions of the Habsburg Era: Austria-Hungary Met Gala," causing a media stir for the former First Lady. She wore a flowing black gown with draped fabric. Onassis was later honoured at future Met Galas for her presence as a fashion icon in American culture.

<p>"Eighteenth-Century Women" was the theme for 1981's Met Gala. Known for her daring Met Gala looks, <a href="https://www.crfashionbook.com/celebrity/g19592739/why-diana-ross-is-the-ultimate-style-icon/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Diana Ross" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Diana Ross</a> showed up that year in a off-the-shoulder dress made completely out of feathers. It was an intensely glamorous look carried out perfectly by the disco star. </p>
Diana Ross, 1981

"Eighteenth-Century Women" was the theme for 1981's Met Gala. Known for her daring Met Gala looks, Diana Ross showed up that year in a off-the-shoulder dress made completely out of feathers. It was an intensely glamorous look carried out perfectly by the disco star.

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<p>For the 1985 theme "Costumes of India," iconic costume pair <a href="https://www.crfashionbook.com/celebrity/a26896111/bob-mackie-cher-interview-broadway/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Bob Mackie" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Bob Mackie</a> and <a href="https://www.crfashionbook.com/celebrity/g27153216/chers-secret-moments/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Cher" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Cher</a> teamed up to create his sheer two-piece featuring rich fabric detail. </p>
Cher & Bob Mackie, 1985

For the 1985 theme "Costumes of India," iconic costume pair Bob Mackie and Cher teamed up to create his sheer two-piece featuring rich fabric detail.

<p>Following the tragic murder of <a href="https://www.crfashionbook.com/celebrity/g26432670/gianni-versaces-secret-moments/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Gianni Versace" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Gianni Versace</a> in 1997, the Met Gala honoured Versace, titling the event "Gianni Versace." Many of his closest friends and muses came together wearing his work to celebrate the designer. American Model Carolyn Murphy wore one of his <a href="https://www.crfashionbook.com/fashion/g15336049/gianni-versace-vintage-iconic-dresses/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:iconic liquified orton fabric dresses" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">iconic liquified orton fabric dresses</a> that defined Versace's style. </p>
Carolyn Murphy, 1997

Following the tragic murder of Gianni Versace in 1997, the Met Gala honoured Versace, titling the event "Gianni Versace." Many of his closest friends and muses came together wearing his work to celebrate the designer. American Model Carolyn Murphy wore one of his iconic liquified orton fabric dresses that defined Versace's style.

<p><a href="https://www.crfashionbook.com/celebrity/g27194684/princess-diana-through-years-photos/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Princess Di" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Princess Di</a> attended her first and only Met Gala in 1997, just a few months before her tragic death in September 1997. The royal wore a midnight blue slip dress by John Galliano for the house of Dior, along with a sapphire choker and her eponymous <a href="https://www.crfashionbook.com/fashion/g26977287/the-women-who-inspired-fashions-most-coveted-handbags/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Lady Dior bag" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Lady Dior bag</a> to finish everything off. The boudoir-ready slip dress was controversial for a royal to wear at the time, but of course, the princess pulled it off with ease.</p>
Princess Diana, 1996

Princess Di attended her first and only Met Gala in 1997, just a few months before her tragic death in September 1997. The royal wore a midnight blue slip dress by John Galliano for the house of Dior, along with a sapphire choker and her eponymous Lady Dior bag to finish everything off. The boudoir-ready slip dress was controversial for a royal to wear at the time, but of course, the princess pulled it off with ease.

<p>Before <a href="https://www.crfashionbook.com/celebrity/a15875736/jlo-versace-dress-to-the-2000-grammys/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:J Lo wore that dress" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">J Lo wore <em>that</em> dress</a>, Donatella Versace herself wore the dress herself on the red carpet of the 1999 Met Gala, called "Rock Style<em>." </em>The tropical print ultra-plunge dress instantly made fashion history from this point forward. </p>
Dontatella Versace, 1999

Before J Lo wore that dress, Donatella Versace herself wore the dress herself on the red carpet of the 1999 Met Gala, called "Rock Style." The tropical print ultra-plunge dress instantly made fashion history from this point forward.

<p>Rock runs in the bloodline for these two. For the 1999 theme, Tyler and McCartney bypassed the gowns and went for a simpler statement in bedazzled off-the-shoulder tees, which read "rock royalty." </p>
Liv Tyler & Stella McCartney, 1999

Rock runs in the bloodline for these two. For the 1999 theme, Tyler and McCartney bypassed the gowns and went for a simpler statement in bedazzled off-the-shoulder tees, which read "rock royalty."

<p>The theme of 2001's Met Gala paid homage to former First Lady <a href="https://www.crfashionbook.com/celebrity/g24124699/jacqueline-kennedy-onassis-secret-moments/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis</a>, named "Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years<em>." </em>Her daughter Caroline Kennedy was a guest of honour, wearing a white satin Carolina Herrera gown that emulated the graceful style of her mother. </p>
Caroline Kennedy, 2001

The theme of 2001's Met Gala paid homage to former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, named "Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years." Her daughter Caroline Kennedy was a guest of honour, wearing a white satin Carolina Herrera gown that emulated the graceful style of her mother.

<p>At the "Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century" Met Gala in 2004, the stakes were high for the most outrageous costume. The model wore a Maggie Norris corset and a John Galliano skirt. Valetta tapped into some vintage <a href="https://www.crfashionbook.com/culture/a13133450/marie-antoinette-history-style/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Marie Antoinette" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Marie Antoinette</a> hairstyles as part of her look. </p>
Amber Valetta, 2004

At the "Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century" Met Gala in 2004, the stakes were high for the most outrageous costume. The model wore a Maggie Norris corset and a John Galliano skirt. Valetta tapped into some vintage Marie Antoinette hairstyles as part of her look.

<p>British designer <a href="https://www.crfashionbook.com/fashion/a26836785/alexander-mcqueen-disrupted-fashion-legacy-birthday/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Alexander McQueen" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Alexander McQueen</a> and actress Sarah Jessica Parker showed up hand-in-hand to the 2006 Met Gala for "AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion<em>." </em>The two longtime friends matched in a daring tartan plaid, a signature style of McQueen's. While the matching looks were a statement, they fell perfectly into the theme of the event. </p>
Sarah Jessica Parker & Alexander McQueen, 2006

British designer Alexander McQueen and actress Sarah Jessica Parker showed up hand-in-hand to the 2006 Met Gala for "AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion." The two longtime friends matched in a daring tartan plaid, a signature style of McQueen's. While the matching looks were a statement, they fell perfectly into the theme of the event.

<p>A perfectly fit pairing for the 2009 theme "Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion<em>," </em>the iconic '90s duo turned heads, with <a href="https://www.crfashionbook.com/fashion/g26857258/marc-jacobs-women-muses-through-history/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Marc Jacobs" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Marc Jacobs</a> designing a shimmering gold mini dress for Moss with a dramatic one-shouldered cape and matching headpiece. </p>
Kate Moss & Marc Jacobs, 2009

A perfectly fit pairing for the 2009 theme "Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion," the iconic '90s duo turned heads, with Marc Jacobs designing a shimmering gold mini dress for Moss with a dramatic one-shouldered cape and matching headpiece.

<p>Polish Model Anja Rubik showed up to the 2012 Met Gala "Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations" in a white gown designed by Anthony Vaccarello. Rubik received the unspoken award for highest leg slit on any Met Gala gown. </p>
Anja Rubik, 2012

Polish Model Anja Rubik showed up to the 2012 Met Gala "Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations" in a white gown designed by Anthony Vaccarello. Rubik received the unspoken award for highest leg slit on any Met Gala gown.

<p>Kimye made their Met Gala debut at the 2013 "Punk: Chaos to Couture" event. Kardashian showed off her baby bump in a custom Givenchy dress by designer Riccardo Tisci. The gown was seamless, with the bold print from the fingered gloves flowing all the way down to the shoes. The dress caused a stir on the internet, seeing at this was Kardashian's first Met Gala. </p>
Kim Kardashian West & Kanye West, 2013

Kimye made their Met Gala debut at the 2013 "Punk: Chaos to Couture" event. Kardashian showed off her baby bump in a custom Givenchy dress by designer Riccardo Tisci. The gown was seamless, with the bold print from the fingered gloves flowing all the way down to the shoes. The dress caused a stir on the internet, seeing at this was Kardashian's first Met Gala.

<p>Queen of punk <a href="https://www.crfashionbook.com/fashion/g27041863/vivienne-westwood-vintage-photos/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Vivienne Westwood" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Vivienne Westwood</a> custom made this gown for the model, featuring a corset made from sustainable Amazonian wild rubber. "I feel very proud to be joining the woman who redefined punk as couture in a dress made from trees," Cole said. What's more punk than a statement message?</p>
Lily Cole, 2013

Queen of punk Vivienne Westwood custom made this gown for the model, featuring a corset made from sustainable Amazonian wild rubber. "I feel very proud to be joining the woman who redefined punk as couture in a dress made from trees," Cole said. What's more punk than a statement message?

<p>In what's considered one of the top Met looks ever, Rihanna tuned heads at the 2015 Met Gala, titled "China: Through the Looking Glass." The icon wore an intricate yellow cape by <a href="https://www.crfashionbook.com/culture/a19482214/guo-pei-new-couture-book/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Chinese designer Guo Pei" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Chinese designer Guo Pei</a> that took over two years to make. The pop star even had a band of men helping her carry her epic train. The subsequent year, Pei became the first Chinese designer invited into the Chambre Syndical de la Haute Couture. "The international fashion industry gained a new understanding of me" Pei said following the event. </p>
Rihanna, 2015

In what's considered one of the top Met looks ever, Rihanna tuned heads at the 2015 Met Gala, titled "China: Through the Looking Glass." The icon wore an intricate yellow cape by Chinese designer Guo Pei that took over two years to make. The pop star even had a band of men helping her carry her epic train. The subsequent year, Pei became the first Chinese designer invited into the Chambre Syndical de la Haute Couture. "The international fashion industry gained a new understanding of me" Pei said following the event.

<p>That same year Solange wore an optical illusion gown from the Fall/Winter 2015 collection by the English brand Giles. The fine pleats and print gave the mirrored mini a reflective look. Finishing off the look, the singer-songwriter completed everything with a set of Cartier jewels. </p>
Solange, 2015

That same year Solange wore an optical illusion gown from the Fall/Winter 2015 collection by the English brand Giles. The fine pleats and print gave the mirrored mini a reflective look. Finishing off the look, the singer-songwriter completed everything with a set of Cartier jewels.

<p>For the 2016 Met Gala, titled "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology<em>," </em>Queen Bey arrived just a few weeks after the drop of <em>Lemonade</em> without her husband rapper Jay-Z. The <em>CR</em> girl ditched the ball gown and wore a subversive latex Givenchy dress in an embrace of fetish fashion. It's even rumoured that each of the pearls individually cost $8,000. </p>
Beyonce, 2016

For the 2016 Met Gala, titled "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology," Queen Bey arrived just a few weeks after the drop of Lemonade without her husband rapper Jay-Z. The CR girl ditched the ball gown and wore a subversive latex Givenchy dress in an embrace of fetish fashion. It's even rumoured that each of the pearls individually cost $8,000.

<p>The actress made a show-stopping entrance alongside designer Zac Posen, who designed her voluminous sky-blue gown. Sewn by hand, the dress was crafted with organza and fibre optics which allowed the gown to glow in the dark. Danes' dress was so big that she had to rent a large bus to transport her to the event. </p>
Claire Danes, 2016

The actress made a show-stopping entrance alongside designer Zac Posen, who designed her voluminous sky-blue gown. Sewn by hand, the dress was crafted with organza and fibre optics which allowed the gown to glow in the dark. Danes' dress was so big that she had to rent a large bus to transport her to the event.

<p>The model wore a Chanel haute couture suit to the 2017 Met Gala. What was particularly captivating about this look was the sleek silver painted hair in one of the most memorable beauty looks in Met Gala history. </p>
Cara Delevingne, 2017

The model wore a Chanel haute couture suit to the 2017 Met Gala. What was particularly captivating about this look was the sleek silver painted hair in one of the most memorable beauty looks in Met Gala history.

<p>Smith wore custom Louis Vuitton in a simple, relaxed look. Before the event, he chopped off his hair to wear as an accessory, causing a memorable met moment. “I couldn't bring my sister as a date, so I brought my hair" Smith said. </p>
Jaden Smith, 2017

Smith wore custom Louis Vuitton in a simple, relaxed look. Before the event, he chopped off his hair to wear as an accessory, causing a memorable met moment. “I couldn't bring my sister as a date, so I brought my hair" Smith said.

<p>This <a href="https://www.crfashionbook.com/culture/g20267245/met-gala-2018-celebrity-fashion-looks/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:past year's Met Gala" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">past year's Met Gala</a>, "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination<em>," </em>followed the dialogue between fashion and Catholicism. The theme itself was controversial by including the church in adapting pontifical vestments for haute couture. Mom-to-be Cardi B wore a dazzling custom Moschino gown by Jeremy Scott.</p>
Cardi B, 2018

This past year's Met Gala, "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination," followed the dialogue between fashion and Catholicism. The theme itself was controversial by including the church in adapting pontifical vestments for haute couture. Mom-to-be Cardi B wore a dazzling custom Moschino gown by Jeremy Scott.

<p>"I don't want to blend in" said American screenwriter Lena Waithe. Amongst the gilded gowns, Waithe took the theme metaphorically in an embrace of the LGBTQ+ community with a cape by Carolina Herrera displaying the pride flag. "You talk about church and Catholicism, it's about-you were made in God's image...The theme to me is be yourself," Waithe said. </p>
Lena Waithe, 2018

"I don't want to blend in" said American screenwriter Lena Waithe. Amongst the gilded gowns, Waithe took the theme metaphorically in an embrace of the LGBTQ+ community with a cape by Carolina Herrera displaying the pride flag. "You talk about church and Catholicism, it's about-you were made in God's image...The theme to me is be yourself," Waithe said.

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