Met Gala History: The Costume Institute’s Most Famous Dresses To Inspire You
Are you looking for a chance to feel like a celebrity? The world-renowned Met Gala is the perfect place for fashion and art enthusiasts to get inspiration from iconic designers, celebrities, and more.
This annual event has been held since 1948, with attendees such as Beyoncé, Anna Wintour, Kendall Jenner, and many more.
From red carpet moments to high-fashion couture designs - prepare yourself for a journey through some of the most famous dresses in The Costume Institute’s collection at the Met Gala throughout history!
As a fashion stylist, staying up-to-date with the latest trends and fashion is important. The Met Gala is a great place to find inspiration and get ideas on what’s hot.
This guide will take you through some of the most memorable dresses, so you can stay on-trend and get the perfect look for your next event!
Best Met Gala Dresses to Inspire You
The Costume Institute Ball is perhaps the last Hollywood event with a place for real fashion. Such fashion does not pursue profit and followers but reflects pure art.
Here are my favorite outfits that you can take as a reference for your next event:
Cher in Bob Mackie, 1974
The first Met Gala took place in 1948. But its modern history began in 1974. It evolved from a housewife gathering to a lavish Ball and the industry’s most anticipated event, leading to a thematic exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
One of the first events was devoted to “romantic and glamorous Hollywood,” which obliged the guests to come in all the most brilliant and expensive. Singer Cher put on for the occasion a completely transparent dress with embroidery, trimmed with snow-white feathers on the hem and sleeves.
The author of this dress was the designer Bob Mackie, who subsequently made even more resonant images for Cher. However, although they went down in history, they did not have any influence on fashion development.
At the same time, the “naked” dress from the Met Gala was repeated by his colleagues more than once and is quite popular even today!
Princess Diana in Christian Dior, 1996
The celebration of 1996 was dedicated to the collections of Christian Dior and gathered around him devoted admirers of his talent. The designer of the brand, John Galliano, came to the Metropolitan Museum arm in arm with Diana Spencer, divorced from an English prince who had not lost the love and recognition of the public.
For her, Galliano sewed a rather modest outfit in linen style, which, of course, stood out from the rest. In addition, Diana picked up the legendary necklace of seven strands of pearls and sapphire and the Lady Dior handbag, which other guests of the Met Gala wore in different variations.
Amber Valletta in John Galliano, 2004
In addition to working in a French house, Galliano was engaged in his brand, creating what he wanted without adhering to the canons of the historically established DNA. He showed all his follies at Haute Couture Weeks and the Met Gala.
In 2004, when the Ball was themed around the 18th century, he made a layered skirt in film for Amber Valletta, which exuded John’s favorite theatricality. A corset by Maggie Norris and a high powdered wig went well with her, making her a representative of the Enlightenment.
This outfit rocked the boat of the Met Gala and steered it towards outlandish design fruits that were out of place at the Oscars but resonated with the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Daphne Guinness in Alexander McQueen, 2010
Daphne Guinness, Alexander’s favorite muse and the only woman to walk in Alien shoes, came to the Metropolitan Ball in a creamy feather and fringe gown.
The heiress of the brewing empire wore it right in the window of Barney’s department store in the presence of buyers and the media, who turned their cameras on her even before the event began.
Like all of McQueen’s couture looks, this outfit was an art object that could be seen from afar. He once again demonstrated his extraordinary ability to combine the techniques of different eras and create something unique.
Miley Cyrus in Marc Jacobs, 2013
In 2013, Miley Cyrus, who was just about to transform from Hannah Montana to New York’s premier freak, stepped out of a limousine in a Marc Jacobs mesh dress. He is not as frank as we often see him on shows, but he is very eccentric.
The emphasis was made on the short hair of the singer, raised in a mohawk typical of punks. With it, Miley looked like a girl from the 90s, a devoted fan of Kurt Cobain.
This outfit became, for her, a pass to the pages of the world press, which discussed the grid more than any other outfit. In addition, it became very popular even for ordinary girls who wanted to create an amazing look at any event!
Beyoncé in Givenchy, 2015
In 2015, Beyoncé was nicknamed the queen of the evening, even despite the singer’s non-compliance with its theme. Ponytail, platform shoes, and a completely transparent dress covered only the puffy star’s most piquant places.
This dress, like others, was sewn by Riccardo Tisci, who is not afraid to take risks and explore unexpected fashion avenues. His dress for Bey is still remembered by many as one of the most daring and bold outfits in the history of the Met Gala.
Her appearance at the Ball was so brilliant that it made visitors forget about the exhibition and about other women who were trying in every way to grab a piece of Beyoncé’s glory.
Claire Danes in Zac Posen, 2016
Another miracle of technology was presented at the Met Gala 2016 by Zac Posen, who built a real Cinderella dress for Claire Danes. The designer sewed 30 packs of small batteries into his organza dress, which, in subdued lighting, made the outfit shimmer and sparkle fabulously.
They took pictures with Claire that evening as with a museum piece. And although there were a lot of objects for discussion around her, this Ball will be remembered solely for her attire, which proved that the future of fashion has already arrived.
Interestingly, renowned designers use this technique in many casual outfits today!
Katy Perry in Maison Margiela, 2017
In 2017, the singer Katy Perry came to the Ball in a dress from the 2016 spring-summer couture collection Maison Margiela. The red dress, embellished with appliqués and draperies, still made it to the list of the best dresses of the evening.
The main decoration of the already richly decorated outfit was a mask on Katie’s head, on which the word Witness was embroidered with black thread. This embroidery is the name of the fifth and, so far, the singer’s last album, which she presented a month after the Ball.
Against the backdrop of endless “naked” dresses and puffy “princess dresses,” Katie’s dress looked at least original, responding to two evening tasks at once: to surprise and inspire.
Blake Lively in Atelier Versace, 2018
The theme of the Ball in 2018 was “Fashion and Catholicism.” And Blake Lively did a great job. The actress has repeatedly said that she does not use the services of a stylist: the actress herself went to Versace to design her iconic outfit together. It took more than 600 hours to create a luxurious image.
The Atelier Versace team, led by Donatella Versace, came up with a two-tone burgundy and gold-tone dress with a long train.
The perfect pair of shoes, which Christian Louboutin prepared especially for the celebrity, completed the image. Besides, her look was complemented with luxurious jewelry presented by jewelry designer Lorraine Schwartz.
Lady Gaga in Brandon Maxwell, 2019
Who, if not Lady Gaga, could become the main star of the evening at the event? The theme is “Camp: Notes on Fashion.” The singer did not limit herself to one outfit but changed clothes right in front of the photographers as many as four times. American designer Brandon Maxwell invented all outfits and their transformations.
First, the celebrity appeared before the photographers in a puffy dress with a long fuchsia train and a large bow on her head. Next, the designer went arm in arm with his ward and helped her unbutton the first dress, under which was the second - black to the floor without straps.
Under the black outfit was another fuchsia-colored dress - this time laconic in lingerie style and with thin straps. To finish the outfit, Lady Gaga added large sunglasses decorated with rhinestones.
And for the final, the celebrity prepared the most outrageous outfit - the singer remained in front of the guests in underwear, black mesh tights, and high heels.
The history of the Met Gala is a great source of inspiration for designers, and its participants are often fearless in taking risks. Such events prove that fashion can move beyond traditional boundaries and be an opportunity to create something unique and extraordinary.
The Met Gala is where celebrities push the envelope and present their vision of fashion. It closes the page in couture history and opens up new directions - to create something incredibly beautiful and unexpected.
So, did you take any fashion inspiration from this article? If you want to stand out with your outfit, be bold and not be afraid to experiment. After all, fashion is about having fun and expressing yourself!