Fashion’s very own version of the Oscars, The Met Gala, kicks off next week and you can bet there’ll be controversy, ‘fire fits, and an infinite source of material to be turned into memes. Here we look back at what went down last year.
To the untrained eye, the Met Gala might seem like any other red carpet extravaganza. But this is the one day of the year where a diverse melting pot of fashion’s elite, celebrities, and the uber-rich all come together to completely out-do each other with the most unwearable, bizarre and experimental of ‘fits.
Each year has a theme—and last year was a sartorial tribute to COMME des GARÇONS and fashion iconoclast Rei Kawakubo. (No idea who that is? Here’s why you should care.)
The ultra-exclusive charity event is chaired by none other than enshrined fashion deity Anna Wintour, and the U.S. Vogue editor-in-chief was joined in hosting duties by Katy Perry and Pharrell. As always, the event played host to a kaleidoscopic array of avant-garde ensembles, and we’ve rounded up the very best and worst of the Met Gala 2017 while we wait for Monday night.
Rihanna Can Do No Wrong, Ever
Did you really expect Miss Robyn Rihanna Fenty to disappoint? The self-anointed bad-gal chose to wear a sculptural number by The Met Gala’s honoree Rei Kawakubo, fresh from the latest COMME des GARÇONS runway. Blurring the sartorial lines between a monster-sized bouquet and a MoMA-worthy piece of art, Rihanna managed to make the gown’s infinite collection of fabric petals work with gladiator heels, bright pink eyeshadow, and a high-rise top knot.
Jaden Smith Accessorizes with His Own Dreads in Hand
Practicing philosopher Jaden Smith riled fans recently after shaving off his dreads for an upcoming role in the movie Life In A Year. Never one to disappoint, Jaden took to the most exclusive event on the fashion calendar wearing Louis Vuitton and clutching his old dreads in hand. It’s pretty rank move, to be honest. We don’t quite understand why he felt shorn locks of his hair somehow honored this year’s “Art and In Between” theme, but we’re sure Jaden will follow up with a painfully deep tweet to explain it all.
Wiz Khalifa Gets Lit
Wiz brought the smoking hot steez, literally. While he didn’t light up on the red carpet, his tailored Thom Browne ensemble was fire enough.
Kim Kardashian Does Her Best to be Basic
In a surprising turn of events, Kim Kardashian probably wore the most pared-back, toned-down, and achingly dull look of the night. The reality star went for a saintly white gown with strong peasant vibes by Vivienne Westwood Couture. While the dress itself is completely unoffensive, Kardashian’s choice to play it so safe is a personal attack.
Kendall Jenner Basically Gets Naked
Kendall isn’t exactly the first Kardashian to stage a bare-it-all moment, but that didn’t stop her from leaving very little (nothing) to the imagination on the red carpet. Kendall’s La Perla couture gown was simultaneously sheer, slit-up-to-there, and backless.
Virgil Abloh Brings Streetwear to the Met Gala
The OFF-WHITE designer didn’t opt for anything overzealous for his red carpet debut at the event. Instead, Abloh kept it simple with a Junya Watanabe T-shirt and an OFF-WHITE suit, but streetwear’s favorite polymath did tease a pair of forthcoming OFF-WHITE x Air Jordan 1 “Chicago” on his feet.
Migos Step Out in Matching Versace
The “Bad and Boujee” rappers seem to layer what looked like a couple zillion dollars in diamond chains in order to finish off their matching Versace suits. Not bad for a Met Gala debut.
They even posed for a quick pic with none other than fashion’s dark lord, Rick Owens (wearing Rick Owens), and his wife, muse, and general life force, Michele Lamy wearing a statement piece from COMME des GARÇONS’ SS12 White Drama collection
Frank Ocean Tries to Sprint the Red Carpet
Everyone’s favorite recluse, Frank Ocean, made a very, very brief red carpet appearance. Decked out in Balmain, Ocean quite literally ran away from the cameras, and his tedious tailored look definitely helped in flying under-the-radar.
Solange Wears A Sleeping Bag
Though the absence of Solange’s big sis (and goddess among mere mortals) Beyoncé was sorely felt, the younger Knowles continued her rep for ‘fire fits. The songstress opted for head-to-toe Thom Browne and, needless to say, she killed it.
Pharrell and his wife, Helen Lasichanh, Set the Internet Ablaze
Every year, The Met Gala offers the promise of at least one celebrity to step out in a particularly bizarre, jarring and whacky look. In a surprising turn of events, the sartorial gong for most outlandish look went to Pharrell’s wife, Helen Lasichanh. While Pharrell opted for a decidedly less interesting punky plaid shirt look, Helen wore a bright red sculptural ensemble that designer Rei Kawakubo personally picked out for her.
Katy Perry’s Veiled Disaster
The “Bon Appetit” singer was one of this year’s co-chairs at The Met Gala, but she boldly eschewed wearing COMME des GARÇONS, opting for a lacy, eye-popping custom piece by Maison Margiela. The internet has already shunned the look as a crime against fashion and even compared Perry’s mishmash of chrome and red tulle to Beetlejuice’s bride.
Did Kylie Jenner Copy a Bygone Beyoncé Look?
Kylie posed on the red carpet with designer Donatella Versace wearing a sheer jeweled number by the storied Italian fashion house. Kylie might have sharpened her fashion credentials in a platinum bob wig and a naked Versace dress, but that hasn’t stopped the internet from comparing her look to Beyonce’s iconic Givenchy look from the Met Gala in 2015.
Zöe Kravitz Got the Millennial Pink Memo
The Big Little Lies Star opted for a lavish caped dress by Oscar de la Renta, and it was a solid sartorial choice. Those folds of black ruffles underneath the skirt might seem standout, but it was that black off-the-shoulder train that really channeled authentic “Comme” vibes. Completely over-the-top.
The singer chose to amp it up in a tooty-fruity look by Dolce & Gabbana, but it’s that halo of glorious, natural curls that’s the winner.
A$AP Rocky Gets “Goopy” With Gwyneth Paltrow
A$AP Rocky and actress Gwyneth Paltrow made a “conscious coupling” on the red carpet, both looking pure and demure in Calvin Klein. Gwyneth hasn’t attended the Met Ball in years, (she slammed it as boring), but given that Condé Nast is launching her lifestyle magazine GOOP in print, she probably owed Anna Wintour one.
Rocky abandoned formal wear, in favor of a Fall 2017 CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC white “205” turtleneck under a black long-sleeve denim shirt and matching straight leg jean. Ms. Paltrow, meanwhile, wore a Calvin Klein By Appointment pale pink one-shoulder sequin cocktail dress with angled front slit.
Selena Gomez and The Weeknd Play It Way Too Safe
Selena Gomez and The Weeknd might have just made their relationship red carpet official at the 2017 Met Gala, but their looks totally paled in comparison to everyone else’s, to be quite frank. While there’s nothing wrong with Gomez’s romantic silk-chiffon Coach dress or The Weekend’s slick Valentino tux and Cartier brooch, we were expecting something a little more extreme to mark such an “official” moment. Especially given that the Starboy’s ex-beau Bella Hadid was working the red carpet in a racey mesh catsuit by Alexander Wang.
Janelle Monae Is a Literal Swan
Janelle Monae slaughtered the Met Gala red carpet (along with a family of swans). It’s exactly the kind of oddball ‘fit you expect from an event like The Met Gala that traditionally always has an avant-garde dress code. Monae looked perfectly dreamy in a sumptuous white gown with black accents by Ralph and Russo dress.
Nicki Minaj Opts for an H&M Look
Minaj might have worn a custom look by a fast-fashion brand, but it didn’t stop her from conquering that red carpet. There were plenty of special details, such as Swarovski crystals, vinyl roses, and even an iconic image of Rei Kawakubo crafted into the look’s belt to ensure the “Queen of Rap” still held court.
Lil Yachty Wears a Top-Hat
Lil Yachty’s dapper Monopoly-man-esque look stole the show. The 19-year-old rapper showed up on the red carpet in an all-white tuxedo while holding a cane. To, quite literally, top it all off, Lil Boat paired a top hat to complete his outlandish Moschino ensemble.
Diddy and Cassie Bring the Drama
Thankfully, we can always rely on Sean “Diddy” Combs on a show-stopping arrival. To make sure their red carpet moment was the most memorable of the night, Diddy and his lady love, Cassie, coordinated their outfits in some very dramatic black-and-white looks. Cassie kept it majestic in a gown by On Aura Tout Vu, whereas Diddy donned Rick Owens and Louboutin shoes. To add another layer of theatrics, Diddy then took to lounging on the steps while waiting for Cassie to pose for the cameras.
Future Keeps it Consistent
Future proves he is really out to conquer the menswear game. He was a front-row fixture at Paris Fashion Week this past season, and he’s certainly not shying away from sharpening those fashion credentials. Wearing a made-to-measure full look by Swedish retail giant H&M at this year’s Met Gala, he updated his effortless Atlanta swag with a new twist.
Gigi Hadid Is So Beige
You’d think Gigi would take her role as a millennial fashion icon a little more seriously. Is there really anything Met Gala worthy about this nude dress? Nope, not at all.
Want to see more Met Gala finery? Take a look at some of the Met Gala’s most ridiculous outfits ever.