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10 Best Met Gala Themes of All-Time

Every year on the first Monday of May, the Metropolitan Museum in New York hosts a charity gala to celebrate fashion and its latest exhibition at the Costume Institute.

It always gets a lot of press and international visibility and media attention.

The main reason for this massive media attention is the guest list who are acclaimed celebrities.

They wear custom designs, couture gowns, and special accessories that have been secretly developed just for that occasion.

It is always a great display of handcraft, creativity, or innovation in materials and fabrics.

Rihanna and ASAP Rocky
Rihanna and ASAP Rocky (Source: Vogue)

The annual theme is carefully picked to tell a unique story every year. A-list celebrities combine their personal flair with the gala’s subject to create outstanding outfits on the red carpet.

The guests are expected to wear according to the theme.

Of course, the theme limits the creativity of the designers. However, the theme is essential for the specific story and the uniform and fair competition for the designers.

Now, without further ado, let’s read in detail about the 10 Best Met Gala Themes list of all time.

Quick Overview

Theme Year
1. In America: A Lexicon of Fashion 2021
2. About Time: Fashion and Duration 2020
3. Camp: Notes on Fashion 2019
4. Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination 2018
5. Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology 2016
6. China: Through the Looking Glass 2015
7. Charles James: Beyond Fashion 2014
8. American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity  2010
9. The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion 2009
10. Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy 2008

1. “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” (2021)

“In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” was the theme of the Met Gala 2021, and it was a celebration of American design.

The Met Gala theme in 2021 was something important to the exhibit.

Fans were anticipating American fashion’s rich and iconic history show at the Met Gala 2021.

Many celebrities were absolutely right about choosing a dress according to the theme, some of them could not figure out the meaning behind the theme.

Met Gala 2021
Met Gala 2021 (Source: Vogue)

Gemma Chan wore a Prabal Gurung gown that was inspired by Chinese-American actress Anna May Wong.

Timothée Chalamet, Hollywood’s golden kid, dressed as a modern-day royal in a Haider Ackermann tuxedo, and Converse Chuck Taylors, an American classic.

Moreover, he also co-hosted the show for the first time.

Additionally, the Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton highlighted the contribution of  Black designers.

2. “About Time: Fashion and Duration” (2020)

For the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the year 2020 was a pivotal moment. It was the institution’s 150th anniversary.

The Met planned to feature a 150-year-old history and present it along a “disruptive” timeline.

Well, the Met Gala was unfortunately canceled due to Coronavirus, and a virtual event was staged in its place.

Everybody had assumed that it would be dull and fans would not get to see their favorite celebrities in the iconic dresses.

However, the Met had other plans. It launched the #MetGalaChallenge, in which users replicated their favorite memorable ensembles from previous galas.

The virtual event titled “High Fashion Twitter Met Gala” became the moment for everyone to participate in the iconic event, otherwise known only for A-listers.

Even though the Met had to cancel the event, its theme surely features in the list of Best Met Gala Themes of all time.

3. “Camp: Notes on Fashion” (2019)

Well, the Met in 2019 chose a confusing theme, and the designers took good advantage of this confusion. Susan Sontag’s essay “Notes on ‘Camp'” from 1964 was the inspiration behind the title.

The red carpet for the gala was pink, and pink roses were put all over the carpet.

Moreover, the theme was supposed to be unnatural, artistic, and exaggerated. Perhaps this was the reason why Lady Gaga co-hosted the show.

Katy Perry in Met Gala 2019
Katy Perry in Met Gala 2019 (Source: Vogue)

In fact, artists possibly knew the main gist of the theme. The show was not looking for good taste but for something interesting.

Moreover, on Twitter, a pink flamingo emoji accompanied the hashtag “#MetGala.”

Guests, including Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, converted the party’s venerable building into a feather.

Each one of the artists and designers tried their hardest to live up to the occasion.

4. “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” (2018)

Well, we are just a tiny dot in the entire universe covered by heavenly bodies.

The theme for Met Gala 2018 was perfect in every sense.

Hundreds of holy artifacts, including tens of relics and objects transported over by the Vatican, were displayed as part of the celestial theme in 2018.

Rihanna ni Met Gala 2021
Rihanna ni Met Gala 2021 (Source: Vogue India)

Moreover, the theme created a dialogue between fashion and the museum’s masterworks of religious art.

On a special night, the venue looked magnificent and had a divine concept. Rihanna took the spotlight with her Pop inspired dress, and many claimed that she truly understood the theme.

Katy Perry wore an exquisite gown with huge angelic wings on the red carpet beside Rihanna.

Read About Met Gala 2022 Overview

5. “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” (2016)

Well, the Met created the theme to represent the technological revolution in the fashion industry.

After all, it was the technological apex of the era, and the Met Gala did the right thing at the right moment.

Many of the guests, including Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, and Emma Watson, wore futuristic clothes on the red carpet.

Kim Kardashian chose an all-silver Balmain suit with sculpted shoulders.

Emma Watson
Emma Watson (Source: Teen Vogue)

However, our cute Emma Watson embraced sustainability. She immediately captured a lot of attention through her choice.

Emma got an enormous appreciation from fans all over the world.

Additionally, to stay faithful to the theme, Beyoncé wore a latex Givenchy gown.

6. “China: Through the Looking Glass” (2015)

In 2015, the Met Gala chose a theme suitable for an emperor to honor China’s influence on Western design.

The exhibition, which featured outfits from Chanel, Alexander McQueen, and Christian Dior Haute Couture, was a collaboration between the museum’s Department of Asian Art and the Costume Institute.

Celebrities wore oriental-inspired costumes on the red carpet to pay homage to the Asian culture.

Zendaya 2015 Met Gala
Zendaya 2015 Met Gala (Source: Pinterest)

Rihanna, who donned a now-iconic gold floor-length robe designed by Guo Pei, was the most prominent celebrity on the show. She was wearing a gown designed by a Chinese designer.

Moreover, the theme was important to renew the harmony between east and west.

This exhibition became the “fifth-most-visited exhibition” in history. Well, the Met was trying to bring the attention of billions of population, and they indeed became successful, didn’t they?

7. “Charles James: Beyond Fashion” (2014)

Interestingly, sometimes the Met Gala honors a specific part of the world, and sometimes it gives tribute to history.

However, in 2014, the museum honored an important individual in the world of fashion who is less well-known to the general public. Well, the man was Charles James.

With a showcase of 100 of his most notable designs, the Charles James theme was colorful, and people absolutely loved it.

Beyonce At Met 2014
Beyonce At Met 2014 (Source: Glamour)

The stars wore lavish gowns and structured costumes in keeping with the theme, but they added their own creativity.

Ball gowns of the elegant and larger-than-life sort were in abundance at the reception.

Sarah Jessica Parker wore an Oscar de la Renta-designed ball gown as a tribute to the iconic fashion designer.

8. “American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity” (2010)

The Met Gala 2010 had the subject of a depiction of women’s evolution and change throughout history in the United States.

It was the first time when Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection drew the event.

The Met Gala theme in 2010 surely inspired women all over the world to keep on believing in their fashion and innovate the whole industry.

Met Ball 2010
Met Ball 2010 (Source: Vogue)

Moreover, it looked at how the contemporary woman’s image had changed from the 1890s through the 1940s.

Kerry Washington, Jessica Biel, and Emmy Rossum wore American labels Thakoon, Ralph Lauren, and Kenneth Cole, respectively.

Many fans are anticipating that Met Gala should try to put a similar theme in the recent events and honor women for their contribution to fashion.

Read About 14 Unforgettable Met Gala Red Carpet Fashion

9. “The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion” (2009)

The Met Gala theme of 2009 focused on prominent twentieth-century fashion models who influenced fashion in their respective eras.

Moreover, the Met made the right choice to pay tribute to the model. Several fans admired this theme.

Rihanna sparkled in a Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo jacket with exaggerated puff sleeves and skinny slacks, as she often does on the red carpet.

Met Ball 2009
Met Ball 2009 (Source: Vogue)

Kate Moss, who co-hosted the event with Marc Jacobs, Anna Wintour, and Justin Timberlake, wore another stunning ensemble.

Madonna, meanwhile, stood out in a greenish Louis Vuitton minidress with sensuous thigh-high boots.

Giorgio Armani, Pierre Cardin, Karl Lagerfeld, Christian Dior, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Prada, and Gianni Versace were among the designers included in the exhibition.

10. “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy” (2008)

At the Met Gala 2008, superhero costumes as well as actual superhero costumes from movies, inspired the whole event.

It was a period before Twitter users could roast celebrities. Hence, they could easily get away with everything from mediocre to glamorous fashion choices.

Met 2009
Met 2009

David and Victoria Beckham were among the celebrities who received a lot of media attention throughout the show.

Christina Ricci wore a candy pink chiffon draped over the classic, ultra-cinched Wonder Woman corset.

Read About 17 Best Met Gala Dress Ever



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