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.
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.
2023: Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty
2022: Gilded Glamour
2021: In 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
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
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”
2000: There was no theme
1999: Rock Style
1998: Cubism and Fashion
1997: Gianni Versace
1996: Christian Dior
1995: Haute Couture