10 Vintage Met Gala Looks You’ve Never Seen Before

We’re still not over Jackie Kennedy Onassis in 1979.
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There’s no denying that there have been countless iconic Met Gala looks over the years, of increasingly theatrical nature. Yet, before the turn of the millennium, the Costume Institute’s annual ball was much more classic in style.

So many big names attended the event, from Cher and Paloma Picasso to Salma Hayek and Bianca Jagger, all sporting vintage glamour looks that make us low-key yearn for yester-year. Here, you’ll find all of our favourite vintage looks from the Met Gala, predating 2000.

Cher, 1974

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Theme: Romantic and Glamorous Hollywood Design

Cher’s 1974 look served as inspiration for hundreds of ‘naked’ dresses in years to come. The blueprint for the style that, these days, is loved by just about every female celebrity, Cher’s original take on the trend caused quite a stir among fashion’s elite. She re-wore the iconic piece on the cover of TIME magazine, and the issue was promptly banned in several cities, per Dazed.

Barbara Walters, 1977

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Theme: Vanity Fair: A Treasure Trove

Television journalist Barbara Walters dazzled in an iridescent Halston one-shouldered gown for the 177 Met Gala, which screamed luxury and class à la Vanity Fair. Combined with glitzy earrings and the tiniest purse you’ve ever seen, it will go down in the history books.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, 1979

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Theme: Fashions of the Habsburg Era: Austria-Hungary

With the theme of the Habsburg’s in mind, American royalty, Jackie Onassis stunned in a black Valentino strapless gown, complete with ruffled skirt and shrug. It was elevated by a sleek, voluminous hairstyle and of course, a pair of statement earrings.

Bianca Jagger, 1981

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Theme: The Eighteenth-Century Woman

For this regal theme, Bianca Jagger kept things elegant in a black gown, complete with floral applique and a voluminous skirt. The look turned out to be history making, with supermodel Kaia Gerber recreating it in 2021 for the theme, ‘In America: A Lexicon of Fashion’, right down to Bianca’s curly bob.

Carolina Herrera, 1983

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Theme: Yves Saint Laurent: 25 Years of Design

To celebrate the design genius of Yves Saint Laurent, designer Carolina Herrera attended the Met in her own label’s structured black column dress complete with a large almost wing-like shoulder cape, lined in white on the inside for contrast.

Paloma Picasso, 1989

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Theme: The Age of Napoleon: Costume from Revolution to Empire

Daughter of famed artist Picasso, Paloma made her own creative eye known at the 1989 Met Gala. She kept things simple, in a black figure-hugging gown, with an oversized gold necklace, and her husband, playwright Raphael Lopez-Sanchez, at her side.

Christy Turlington, 1992

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Theme: Fashion and History: A Dialogue

Turlington took her fashion historical references seriously this year, channelling Audrey Hepburn’s iconic Breakfast At Tiffany’s dress for the 1992 annual gala, complete with slick updo and copious pearl choker necklaces.

Naomi Campbell, 1995

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Theme: Haute Couture

Looking every bit the ‘90s supermodel, Naomi Campbell stunned at the 1995 Met Gala in a shimmering Versace gown.

Princess Diana, 1996

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Theme: Christian Dior

For her first and only appearance at the Met Gala, Princess Diana opted for a simple yet striking navy slip dress by John Galliano. She accessorised the look with a pearl and sapphire choker, which she famously wore when dancing with John Travolta at the White House in 1985. It would be the last time she wore the iconic jewellery before her passing.

Salma Hayek, 1997

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Theme: Gianni Versace

Wearing an iconic Versace look for the carpet honouring the designer, Salma Hayek took everyone’s breath away in this asymmetrical one-shoulder, cut out black dress that really hasn’t dated a single day since she wore it.

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