Heads up, ladies, it’s Anna Wintour’s favorite time of the year! Set to take place on Monday, May 6th, the highly-anticipated 2019 Met Gala is fast approaching. This year’s theme is Camp: Notes on Fashion. We’re predicting over-exaggerated styles and over-the-top accessories. Hopefully, Pharell leaves his hat at home.
The Met Gala was established over 50 years ago, so needless to say there have been countless incredible fashion moments since then. Let’s take a walk down memory lane before we see the insane costumes from this year’s event and promptly forget all about the old ones. Read on as we review some of the most iconic Met Gala outfits and explore the designers behind the ~lewks~.
Rihanna and Guo Pei in 2015
Before Rihanna stepped onto the Met Gala red carpet wearing that iconic yellow
omelet cape, Chinese designer Guo Pei had been creating couture for more than 30 years. In fact, this exact masterpiece had been designed for a 2012 show in China and it had been at in Guo’s studio until it was snapped up by Rihanna for the big event.
Weighing about 55lbs with a 16ft train, this look wasn’t an easy one to pull off—literally. In fact, when it was first presented in China, the model made it only halfway down the catwalk before the show had to be paused so she could remove the garment and head backstage. At least it probably counted as her cardio for the week?
Fitting for the China: Through The Looking Glass theme, the fur-trimmed cape featured over 50,000 hours’ worth of hand embroidery and took two whole years to make. Let me repeat. Two. Whole. Years. Describing her inspiration behind the design, Pei said, “When I had this design in mind, I [was thinking of] a woman that can carry weight on her arms. It’s a dress she has to lift, like she can lift the whole world. I always have a woman like that in mind.” Sooooo… Rihanna? Rihanna.
Blake Lively and Atelier Versace in 2018
Blake Lively’s dress was so long that she literally had to take a party bus to the 2018 ball. First stop senior prom, next stop Met Gala? Inspired by royalty and the renaissance to match the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination theme, Lively and her gown captivated audiences. Her long train was carefully embroidered, and her jeweled corset reportedly took 600 hours to create. I did the math, and you could watch all seven seasons of Game of Thrones 12 times in the time it took to make this corset. The look was complete with sheer panels on either side of her legs and a custom halo that featured 100 carats of champagne diamonds.
In case you didn’t know that Blake Lively is better than you, this piece was custom made for her by Atelier Versace. In case you didn’t know that Blake Lively is better than you part two, she wore $2 million worth of Lorraine Schwartz jewelry to complement her look—this included the custom headpiece, bangles, earrings, and her Lorraine Schwartz engagement ring. Schwartz’s pieces are often worn by celebrities on the red carpet, and her jewels have been spotted on people like Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, and Angelina Jolie. Very casual, no big deal or anything.
Kim Kardashian and Balmain in 2016
Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology was the theme for the 2016 Met Gala, and Kim Kardashian didn’t disappoint. Kim and Kanye rolled up to the red carpet in coordinating Balmain—Kim in a futuristic silver dress and Kanye sporting a silver jacket, icy blue contact lenses, and ripped jeans. The Balmain pieces were beautiful, but tbh I feel like the boldest fashion move might have been wearing jeans to the Met Gala.
Kim’s garment was created by Olivier Rousteing, a French designer who became the youngest Creative Director of Balmain in 2011 at age 25. Since his takeover, he’s brought a fresh eye (and some insane cheekbones) to the luxury brand.
As anyone who’s seen KUWTK might expect, this look wasn’t the only outfit that was considered. Speaking about the evening before the Gala, Kim said, “When I landed in New York at midnight, I immediately went to see Olivier for a 1am fitting, and we literally cut skirts in half, created tops from dresses, and stayed up until 4am to get the perfect option that we felt fit the theme.” Who knew Kim K was such a DIY queen? I would say that’s relatable, but I can barely turn a regular T-shirt into a crop top without f*cking up. Other potential looks included a gown with jeweled shoulders and sleeves and another that was embellished with pearls and a giant gem in the center of the bodice. In total, Kim received four custom-made dresses from Rousteing before the event.
Rihanna and Comme des Garçons in 2017
Rihanna is the queen of the Met Gala. This is a fact, and anyone who disagrees can fight me. The theme of the 2017 ball was Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons, and in true Rihanna fashion (ha), the singer stepped out onto the red carpet in an attention-grabbing piece. She wore a textured garment that was cut from jacquard florals which made her dress three-dimensional. The piece was designed with an asymmetric hemline and cut-outs, and was first featured in the Comme des Garçons Fall 2016 collection.
It reportedly took Rihanna an hour to get into the strappy Dsquared2 red heels she wore to the gala, and I can’t even imagine how long it took to get them off. Her hair was styled into a top bun, and her makeup complemented the pink shades of the dress with rosy eyeshadow and blush that blended together. On anyone else, that makeup would’ve looked like a 5-year-old discovered their mom’s blush and went to town, but it worked on her.
The 2017 gala was quite the tribute to Rei Kawakubo, who rarely agrees to shows or interviews. Goals, pretty much. She established Commes des Garçons in Tokyo in 1973 and has developed the brand into what it is today—an inventive and stand-out establishment.
Stay tuned for a recap of all the iconic looks we’ll see this year! Until then, feel free to look at pictures of old Met Galas and feel poor.
Images: Karwai Tang/Getty Images; Shutterstock (3)