A Walk Down Memory Lane: The Met Gala Themes Over the Years

A Walk Down Memory Lane: Met Gala Themes Over the Years

by Isabella Ortiz

The 2023 Met Gala has arrived and we are so excited to see the look of our favorite celebrities. The theme for this year's Met is "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty." This theme examines life and creative legacy of the late designer who's work has helped shape the industry.

Importance of a Theme

Each year the MET dictates the dress code, important celebrities and designers are challenged to design looks that are both a fashion statement and on theme. This night is a display of fashion as an art form, showcasing the immense labor that goes into creating the show-stopping looks worn by the attendees.

Let's take a look down the memory of this iconic carpet and discuss the variety of different themes over the years. 

2023: Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty

The "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty" theme celebrated the work of Karl Lagerfeld. The dress code was to honor his work designing for many houses including iconic brands: Patou, Balmain, Chloé, Fendi and Chanel. Many attendees pulled inspiration from his designs.

Dua Lipa in Chanel

Our favorite look from the night was Penelope Cruz (photo in the middle). Her bridal chic dress has a long white veil over her low bun. Charlotte Tilbury did Cruz's makeup and gave the Met Gala co-chair a bare lip and classic smoky eye. It is a great archive piece, very modern, yet still beautiful and glam .

2022: "In America: An Anthology of Fashion"

"In America: An Anthology of Fashion," was set to honor the American contribution in fashion. Andrew Bolton, head curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute tells Vogue, “The stories really reflect the evolution of American style, but they also explore the work of individual tailors, dress-makers, and designers." 

Image may contain Tie Accessories Accessory Fashion Premiere Human Person Red Carpet Red Carpet Premiere and Suit

An iconic look that gained a lot of traction was Kim Kardashian wearing Marilyn Monroe's when she sang Happy Birthday to John F. Kennedy. Kardashian felt is was the perfect way to represent America. However, others did not feel the same, and there was some controversy around Kardashian's comments on the strict diet she had to follow in order to fit in the dress, losing 16 pounds in a very short amount of time.

2021: In America: A Lexicon of Fashion

"In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" was a tribute to American fashion. A modern take on fashion based on expressive qualities and freedom to celebrate a new generation of designers. Andrew Bolton shares to Vogue, "I centered the 2021 event around the question, 'Who gets to be American?'" The question was originally posed on a red, white, and blue ilk sash shown on the runway for the Prabal Gurung's 10th anniversary collection.

 "American designers are at the forefront of conversations around diversity, inclusivity, sustainability, gender fluidity, and body positivity,” Bolton states. “The framework of the show enables us to focus on the younger designers who are engaging thoughtfully and deeply with those ideas."

Met Gala 2021 Red Carpet: See Every Celebrity Look, Outfit & Dress Here |  VogueThe co-chairs for the 2021 Met included: Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Amanda Gorman and Naomi Osaka.

2019: Camp: Notes on Fashion

"Camp: Notes on Fashion" according to Susan Sontag's 18964 essay "Notes on Camp" says it, "provides the framework for the exhibition, which examines the elements of irony, humor, parody, pastiche, artifice, theatricality, and exaggeration are expressed in fashion."

The theme allowed designers to have creative control and have fun with the looks. There were many mixed reviews with this theme because there was not much cohesion between the guests different choices of outfits.

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 06: Lady Gaga arrives at the 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes On Fashion at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for THR)

2018: Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination 

"Heavenly Bodies" is arguably one the best themes from the Met Gala. The divine theme had hundreds of holy items on display including artifacts sent from Vatican. Many celebrities showed up to impress; one of our favorite looks was Rihanna dressed as the pope.

Rihanna Just Won the Met Gala Again, This Time With A ...

The Most Literally Catholic Looks at the 2018 Met Gala | Vanity Fair

2017: “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between”

"The Art of the In-Between" theme was a toast to the Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo and featured her art. The theme was devoted to the Japanese label Comme Des Garçons. Many of the looks were avant-garde inspired. 

Our favorite look was Zendaya's colorful gown. The yellow ball gown featured a pattern of red parrots and flowers, and red fabric trim flowing off the shoulder and the train.

The Met Gala is always an iconic night. Which theme was your favorite?

  • May 03, 2023
  • Category: News
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