Iconic looks from Met Gala history

With The Met Gala fast approaching and the celebrities finalising their outfits, CARBON takes a trip back in time to see the most iconic looks from the past 10 years.

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (2011)

Some may say this look from Blake Lively was slightly unexpected in regards to what she may usually be spotted in, but she without a doubt stole the show this year.

Blake wore a Grecian inspired look from the Chanel 2009 Fall couture collection, the same year she became the face of the brand.

Blake Lively

Another show stopper in 2011 was that of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. She was seen wearing a stunning hot-pink silk Burberry gown.

Features included a thigh-high split, open shoulders, deep v neck and a tie detail waist. She paired the look with nude strappy heels and a matching clutch and wore her hair in a 40’s inspired side swoop.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley


Prada: Impossible Conversations (2012)

Beyoncé stole the hearts of the viewers back in 2012 with this stunning last minute piece. Beyoncé didn’t decide she was going to attend that year until the day of the event, and still managed to look breathtaking.

The dress was a piece by Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci, featuring a dramatic sheer dress with a super-long purple feathered train design. A unforgettable look for the Met Gala.

Florence Welch

Showing off a long sleeved dandelion embroidered organza tiered dress was Florence Welch. This stunning gown designed by Alexander McQueen was certainly one to watch in 2012.

Paired with matching embellished sandals and a classic McQueen clutch, Florence rocked the red carpet from start to finish.

A dark lip finished off the look perfectly and gave it the vampy edge it was after.

Punk: Chaos to Couture (2013)

Miley ditched her usual crop top and instead opted for this stunning long-sleeved netted dress by Marc Jacobs. Fans of Miley might have thought the Morticia Adams inspired look was quite tame for the star, but her hair did all the talking.

The bleach blonde spiky do was an eye-catcher for sure and pulled the punk look together perfectly.

Miley Cyrus

Material Girl Madonna turned heads in 2013 when she stepped onto the red carpet in nothing but a fishnet bodystocking and a grey studded tartan Givenchy blazer.

Paired with magenta stilettos and some black hold-ups, wearing a bobbed brown wig and to top it all off, a crucifix hung above her derriere. This look was certainly one to remember.


Sarah Jessica Parker

Charles James: Beyond Fashion (2014)

This year’s looks were inspired by white tie and decorations, but the theme was to be interpreted differently by many.

Sarah Jessica Parker was seen wearing a large gown by Oscar de la Renta, with his name in red script across the back tail of the dress. Truly a piece of art. The star paired the dress with white above the elbow gloves and an updo, keeping the attention on the outfit.

Kirsten Dunst

Kirsten Dunst definitely made a statement on the red carpet of the 2014 Met Gala with her Star Wars inspired outfit. The Rodarte dress starred an image of the death star, and as you can imagine, star wars fans went wild for it.

Keeping it simple and elegant, Dunst paired the dress with a clean updo, simple silver jewellery and a classy red lip to top it off.

China: Through the Looking Glass (2015)

Nicknamed “The Yellow Empress Dress” and weighing almost 23 kilos, Rihanna stole the show back in 2015.

Guo Pei spent 2 years creating this show-stopping piece and wanted to evoke an image of the queen, especially with its 16-foot long train trailing behind the star. The look was completed with stilettos and a headdress fit for a queen.


Fashionably late, Beyoncé turned heads with her bedazzled Givenchy creation as she stepped onto the red carpet during the final moments. Its criticism came from the piece having very little to do with the years theme, which is what the whole point of the Met Gala is after all.

Although a stunning gown to look at, it lacked finesse and showed more skin than anything else.


Zayn Malik & Gigi Hadid

Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology (2016)

A couple who stayed true to the theme through and through is Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid in their matching robotic-looking ensembles.

Gigi wore a gunmetal gown with a metallic bustier and sheer skirt by Tommy Hilfiger whilst Zayn wore a suit by Versace, accessorised with metal armour sleeves. Gigi kept in keeping with the metal theme in her accessories with her heavy armoured rings.

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian wowed in 2016 with her silver metallic long-sleeved Balmain dress with a thigh-high slit. The gown was paired with a statement silver ear cuff and matching silver stilettos to finish off the look.

Kim’s outfit matched the theme perfectly which explored the intersection of haute couture and machine-made fashion.

According to Kim, this year she wanted to be a “Blingy, sexy robot”.

Avant-Garde (2017)

Maison Margielas’ piece was seen from a mile away and carried off effortlessly by Katy Perry back in 2017. We saw her sport a red tulle and silk chiffon dress layered with a décortiqué wool coat and embroidered satin ribbon embellishment.

The look was complete with a red silk tulle veil covering Perry’s face, a stunning polished headpiece and bright red boots, a real vision in red.

Katy Perry

Go big or go home, I think we can all agree on which Zendaya went for in 2017. Stepping out in her tropical parrot printed Dolce and Gabbana gown was certainly a bold move, but it was worth it with her stealing the show.

Although not quite fitting the avant-garde theme of the evening, its eye-catching colours and shape won the hearts of viewers. She paired the dress with afro hair and a bright coral lip.


Cardi B

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination (2018)

Dripping in pearls, Cardi B made a lasting impression for her first-ever Met Gala, not that you’d be able to tell the way she worked the red carpet.

The impressive Moschino look, from the dress to the gloves, gown and headpiece were embellished in beads and ornate jewels. The look also features a daring thigh-high split as well as a satin overskirt, aligning perfectly in theme with catholic imagination.

Blake Lively

Another great year for Blake Lively was 2018 with her 600 man hour made Versace dress. The ruby and gold gown featuring extensive and intricate beading was truly a work of art.

The top of the dress featured a jewel-encrusted gold corset, showcasing her figure beautifully. The train was a deep red with two sheer panels and gold embroidering. To top off the heavenly bodies inspired look, she wore a spiked headpiece, making Lively look angelic.

Camp: Notes on Fashion (2019)

Harry Styles exceeded expectations this year with his sheer frilled black blouse and tailored trousers Gucci look.

Harry Lambert, Harry’s stylist worked to combine feminine and masculine features to create an elegant but camp look.

“I think everyone was expecting Harry to be in sequins, bright colours and a crown, but we decided on a different type of ‘camp’ that hopefully would surprise”

Harry Lambert
Harry Styles

Kylie and Kendall blew everyone out of the water with their 2019 twinning feathered Met Gala gowns.

Kylie was seen wearing a lilac feathered naked look dress and matching lilac wig whilst Kendall wore a Cher inspired orange naked look feathered dress.

The sisters designed their dresses with Donatella Versace and created some stunning pieces in the process, definitely creating some Met Gala history.

Kylie & Kendall Jenner

Billie Eilish

In America: An Anthology of Fashion (2021)

In 2021, we saw Billie ditch her classic black hair and baggy clothes for the most elegant of looks by designer Oscar De La Renta.

The frothy blush gown was inspired by the tulle dress that Marilyn Monroe wore to the Oscars back in 1951.

Despite the volume on Billie’s stunning sheer dress, it was featherlight, a dream for both her and the viewers.

Kim Kardashian

One look which caught everyone’s eye was Kim Kardashian’s 2021 look. Kanye West and Balenciaga collaborated to create this head-turner for Kim. The black fully covered gown was something which hadn’t been seen on anyone at the Met Gala before but Kanye’s love of minimalism certainly shone through.

Kim was covered head to toe in stark black, including a fully covered face and hands. The look featured a long ponytail coming out the back of the head, but that was all.

So here it is, CARBONS round up of the most iconic looks from the past 10 years of Met Gala. We can’t wait to see what this year has in store for us all.

By Hollie Wakefield