The Boldest Met Gala Beauty Looks in History

Some truly iconic moments
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala, otherwise known as the Met Gala, is arguably the biggest fashion event on the calendar. The Gala falls on the first Monday of May each year, timed to mark the opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibition. What started as a simple fundraising event has been transformed into an exclusive party attended by actors, models, and designers.

This is an event where people are expected to take risks, not just with their outfits but with their beauty as well. Over the years, there have been some bold, brave and completely bizarre makeup looks. Think Cara Delevingne’s silver head, Sarah Jessica Parker’s infamous mohawk or when Jaden Smith brought his old hair as his date. 

Here are some of the most memorable beauty looks of Met Galas gone by.

Miley Cyrus, 2013

Miley Cyrus

The theme for the 2013 Met Gala was ‘Punk: Chaos to Couture’ and Cyrus‘ bleached, spikey hairstyle certainly feels very fitting. 

January Jones, 2013

January Jones

Mad Men actress January Jones was almost unrecognisable at the event in 2013. Pale skin, cutting cheekbones, bleached eyebrows and dramatic, disconnected cat-eye makeup create one unforgettable make up look.

Sarah Jessica Parker, 2013

Sarah Jessica Parker

Who could forget Sarah Jessica Parker‘s mohawk? It was perhaps the most impressive hair accessory at the 2013 Met Gala, set atop a fishtail-braided up do. 

Joan Smalls, 2014

Joan Smalls

Purple lipstick is not meant for everyone, but it is meant for Joan Smalls. Her violet lips packed quite an impact on the red carpet. Contrasted against her glowing complexion, the dark shade stood out amongst a sea of nude lips on the red carpet the year designer Charles James was honoured. 

Lady Gaga, 2015

Lady Gaga

Never one to stick to the status-quo, Lady Gaga pulled off one of the most daring beauty looks at the 2015 event, themed ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’. Bright pink shades on her cheeks and lips, plus you really can’t look past those striking eyebrows.

Lily Aldridge, 2016 

Lily Alridge

The theme in 2016 was ‘Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology’ and Lily Aldridge was definitely channeling a futuristic beauty look. Dripping in head-to-toe gold, the Victoria’s Secret model made the case for a bold beauty statement – from her luminous brows to bronze lips. 

Lupita Nyong’o, 2016

Luptia Nyong'o

Luptita’s gravity-defying up-do was one of the most talked about hairstyles in 2016, inspired by Nina Simone and traditional African hair. We’re still waiting to see if anyone can top this iconic look. 

Cara Delevingne, 2017

Cara Delevigne

Cara Delevingne is not one to shy away from a bold beauty look. The model and actress debuted her shaven head at the Gala in 2017, embracing the ‘Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between’ theme. Delevingne painted her head with metallic silver paint and finished the look with her classic strong eyebrows and glitter all over. 

Lupita Nyong’o, 2017

Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita’s vivid eyeshadow was a perfect homage to the abstraction and colour that defined Rei Kawakubo’s career. The stunning technicolour shades on her lids and rosy cheeks complimented her dress, creating a daring beauty look that followed the gala’s theme. 

Jasmine Sanders, 2018

Jasmine Sanders

For her first appearance at the Met Gala, Jasmine Sanders definitely made a bold impression. Her hair was styled in a long braid with with real roses intricately pinned into the plait. Pink, red and gold ribbons were wrapped around sections of her hair, with tiny pearls threaded throughout. The theme in 2018 was ‘Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination’ and Sanders’ hairstyle was definitely divine. 

Cynthia Erivo, 2018

Cynthia Erivo

Cynthia Erivo’s septum piercing looked seriously understated compared to her bejeweled eyebrows that suited the theme in the most unexpected way. Instead of opting for a headpiece or decorated gown like many other guests, Erivo wore a crown on her brows. Definitely a bold decision, but the colours of the jewels complimented her plum dress and platinum hair perfectly. 

Adwoa Aboah, 2018

Adwoa Aboah

The most unexpected beauty trend on the 2018 Met Gala red carpet? Short neon hair. British model Adwoa Aboah’s bright green hair colour was contrasted with a dramatic cat-eye to create an electrifying look. 

Emilia Clarke, 2018

Emilia Clarke

Pink all over was the motto for Emilia Clarke‘s eye-catching beauty look in 2018. The monochromatic bubblegum pink blush was offset with dark, bushy brows and red lips. 

Cara Delevingne, 2018

Cara Delevingne

In 2017, Cara Delevingne shaved her hair and painted her head silver. The following year, she managed to actually out-do herself. Her beauty look consisted of a pixie cut with purple streaks, gold highlighting across her brows and ears, and a deep berry lip. Delevingne’s black veil accentuated the drama of her makeup, while simultaneously hiding it. However, her purple tips had a hidden meaning that suited that year’s religious theme. Violet holds symbolic religious significance and is often associated with mourning, pain and suffering of crucifixion. Points for taking a risk and for following the gala’s theme. 

Rihanna, 2017


Rihanna’s 2017 Met Gala look made history when she stepped out in a face full of vibrant fuchsia blush. 

Zendaya, 2018

Zendaya at the 2018 Met Gala. (Credit: Image: Getty)

Zendaya perfectly nailed this Joan of Arc-esque look for the 2018 Met Gala — right down to the cropped copper bob. 

Hailey Bieber, 2018

Hailey Bieber at the 2018 Met Gala. (Credit: Image: Getty)

Although she played her makeup relatively safe, Hailey Bieber debuted a bold new hairstyle at the 2018 Met Gala. Rather than opt for a celestial headpiece like many other celebs did in pursuit of the year’s theme, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination, Hailey went for a high-impact strawberry colour instead. 

Jennifer Lopez, 2019

Jennifer Lopez at the 2019 Met Gala. (Credit: Image: Getty)

J-Lo literally embodied 2019’s glitzy brief with this fully-beaded wig. In keeping with the theme, she opted for a hint of purple eyeshadow to match her impressive diamond-encrusted necklace. 

Lily Collins, 2019

Lily Collins at the 2019 Met Gala. (Credit: Image: Getty)

Lily Collin‘s bold beauty at the 2019 Met Gala took inspiration from Priscilla Presley’s iconic wedding to Elvis. Taking notes from Priscilla’s signature hair and makeup, Lily coiffed her hair into a larger-than-life bouffant, and opted for lashings of black mascara and purple eyeshadow.

Lady Gaga, 2019

Lady Gaga at the 2019 Met Gala. (Credit: Image: Getty)

Nothing says ‘camp’ quite like Lady Gaga’s take on the 2019 theme. We can’t get enough of her ultra long lashes, which are almost as dramatic as her red carpet entrance. 

Megan Fox, 2021

Megan Fox at the 2021 Met Gala. (Credit: Image: Getty)

Megan Fox channelled ’50s model Bettie Page at the 2021 Met Gala, debuting cropped bangs and a super long plaited hairstyle. To compliment her sultry gown, the actress opted for classic Old Hollywood glam, with a red lip and accentuated eyes and brows.

Barbie Ferriera, 2021

Barbie Ferriera at the 2021 Met Gala. (Credit: Image: Getty)

Barbie Ferriera channelled the elegant glamour of the 1920s with three perfectly placed pearls at her parting, super thin brows, and a wash of soft purple eyeshadow. 

Gigi Hadid, 2021

Gigi Hadid at the 2021 Met Gala. (Credit: Image: Getty)

Gigi Hadid went red with a super sleek high pony tail in honour of the 2021 theme, In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion. The ’60s do’ was perfectly complimented by a sky blue shade of eyeshadow.

Naomi Osaka, 2021

Naomi Osaka at the 2021 Met Gala. (Credit: Image: Getty)

Co-chair Naomi Osaka’s stunning outfit and beauty look paid homage to her heritage. Her sculptural hairstyle and unique makeup was described by makeup artist Jessica Smalls as a “modern-day Geisha look.” 

Kim Kardashian, 2022

Kim Kardashian at the 2022 Met Gala. (Credit: Image: Getty)

Love it or hate it, Kim Kardashian‘s Marilyn-inspired look will go down in the history books. Kim took inspiration from Marilyn’s signature blonde locks, and dyed her own dark hair platinum for the night.

Kaia Geber, 2022

Kaia Gerber at the 2022 Met Gala. (Credit: Image: Getty)

Kaia Gerber perfectly interpreted 2022’s theme of  ‘Gilded Glamour’ in the form of ultra-voluminous curls and lilac eyeshadow. She finished the exaggerated beauty look with expertly-placed hair clips, encrusted with jewels no less. 

Tessa Thompson, 2022

Tessa Thompson at the 2022 Met Gala. (Credit: Image: Getty)

Tessa Thompson was a blushing beauty at the 2022 Met Gala. The actress’ more-is-more approach to blush proved the perfect accompaniment to her soft rose gown, and a berry lip worked to tie the look together. 

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