A Nostalgic Look Back At Every Met Gala Theme From 1995 To Now

From Heavenly Bodies to Superheroes.
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With the 2023 Met Gala just around the corner—this year’s event will be held on May 2, 2023 (Australian time)—there’s never been a better time to look back at our favourite moments from the famous red carpet.

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As is the case each year, the Met Gala chooses a theme in line with the adjoining exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. From Catholicism and Punk to Camp and this year’s theme, Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty, it often references a specific designer, period or movement within fashion. And whether it’s honouring Gianni Versace or the house of Chanel, the theme sets the tone for outfits on the night, with celebrities and designers planning months in advance to create the perfect gown-meets-costume.

Since 1995, when the Met Gala as we know it started, the themes have been the Met Gala’s biggest point of difference from any other red carpet. Unlike the Oscars or the Golden Globes, the fashion world isn’t bound by traditional black-tie rules. Instead, imagination runs free and virtually anything goes. The results? Think Rihanna as the Pope and Beyoncé in a naked dress.

Below, we’ve rounded up every single Met Gala theme over the past 28 years, so you can improve your Met Gala trivia ahead of the 2023 red carpet. 

Rihanna in 2018

2023: Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty

2022: Gilded Glamour 

2021In America: A Lexicon of Fashion

2020: Postponed due to the pandemic 

2019: Camp: Notes on Fashion

2018: Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

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

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

Karl Lagerfeld and Blake Lively at the 2011 Met Gala
Karl Lagerfeld and Blake Lively at the 2011 Met Gala

2015: China: Through the Looking Glass

2014: Charles James: Beyond Fashion

2013: Punk: Chaos to Couture

2012: Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations

2011: Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

2010: American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity

2009: The Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion

2008: Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy

Nicole Kidman at the 2005 Met Gala
Nicole Kidman at the 2005 Met Gala

2007: Poiret: King of Fashion

2006: AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion

2005: The House of Chanel

2004: Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century

2003: Goddess: The Classical Mode

2002: There was no theme

2001: “Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years”

Salma Hayek at the 1997 Met Gala
Salma Hayek at the 1997 Met Gala

2000: There was no theme

1999: Rock Style

1998: Cubism and Fashion

1997: Gianni Versace

1996: Christian Dior

1995: Haute Couture

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