15 Unforgettable Met Gala Moments: From Princess Diana's Debut to Solange and Jay-Z's Elevator Showdown

The lack of an event this year has left a void that we're going to fill with these iconic moments from Met Galas past

By Natalie Finn, McKenna Aiello 04 May, 2020 1:00 PMTags
Watch: Met Gala Postponed Indefinitely Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

We know. A May without a Met Gala is like a red carpet without Rihanna.

Very blah.

But while the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute had to indefinitely postpone its 2020 benefit due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic—better dressed in sweats at home than be sorry—we're choosing to live in the past when it comes to what fashion's biggest night has had to offer in terms of excitement, drama, romance and eye-popping style Moments through the years.

Because you shouldn't have to spend your first Monday in May devoid of Met Gala coverage.

OMG Met Gala Looks of All-Time

So please enjoy this quick trip down memory lane, up the staircase and into the room where it all happens, every year except this one.

Elevator Showdown

The 2014 Met Gala will forever go down in infamy thanks to certain elevator ride featuring Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Solange Knowles. Leaked surveillance footage showed the rapper being physically attacked by Bey's little sister in the lift at NYC's Standard Hotel, which prompted the notoriously private trio (aka, this "united family") to release a rare public statement. Though we'll probably never know exactly what caused the altercation, Beyoncé's remix of "Flawless" alluded to it when she rapped, "Of course sometimes s--t goes down when there's a billion dollars on an elevator." 

London Calling

Princess Diana attended her first and only Met Gala in 1996, a year before her shocking death. Though her lingerie-inspired gown—designed by John Galliano for Dior—proved controversial among those who felt she should have worn something more conservative (which she almost did, concerned she might embarrass her teenage son, Prince William), the navy satin slip dress was an instantly iconic look.

To date, the Princess of Wales and Princess Beatrice are the only members of Britain's royal family who have attended the Met Gala, though it's hard to imagine Prince Harry and Meghan Markle being left off the guest list next year.


Let's keep this short and sweet, shall we? Each and every time Rihanna ascends the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a moment in Met Gala history is made. We bow down over and over again. 

Hiddleswift Is Born

Swifties can trace Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston's romance back to the 2016 Met Gala, where they had a full-on dance party. Less than a month later, the pop star and Calvin Harris would go their separate ways and she'd enjoy a whirlwind summer romance with the British actor.

Queen of His Heart

George Clooney and Amal Clooney made their Met Gala debut as husband and wife in 2015, and Amal would return as a co-chair of the event in 2018. 

When Life Gives You Lemons

Just one week after Beyoncé dropped Lemonade, which shed new light on her and Jay-Z's marital turmoil, the performer showed up to the 2016 soiree without her usual plus-one. (Cue mass hysteria from the Beyhive.) She did have the support of Solange that evening, who coincidentally was dressed in lemon yellow.

Kim Heads Due North

Kim Kardashian won't soon forget her very first Met Gala in 2013, where she (and a soon-to-be born North West) arrived alongside Kanye West in an eye-popping floral print by Givenchy. Two years later, Kim poked fun at herself by wearing the same floral design for Halloween. "Still fits," she captioned the moment on social media. 

A Legendary Pair

Sarah Jessica Parker and designer Alexander McQueen were very on the nose when they rocked matching tartan plaid to the Met Gala in 2006, themed "AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion." These punks were in perfect harmony.

Three's a Crowd

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but this one of Jeremy Scott sandwiched between his 2016 Met Gala dates Nicki Minaj and Demi Lovato is worth so much more. After the former Disney star accused the rapper of throwing "shade" on Instagram, she further alluded to the awkward event (without naming names) in an interview with Billboard. "I had a terrible experience," she recalled in 2018. "This one celebrity was a complete bitch and was miserable to be around. It was very cliquey."

Rule Breakers

What happens inside the Met Gala stays inside the Met Gala, or at least that was Anna Wintour's goal when she banned selfies in 2015. But two years later, several attendees gathered in the bathroom to take this sneaky snapshot. The result? A Kodak moment that will stand the test of time (and probably didn't involve Kodak). 

A Heavenly Surprise

In 2018, Madonna appeared atop the stairs of the Great Hall with an unforgettable production of "Like a Prayer." The performance, which also featured the pop icon's rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," fit right in with the event's theme that year, "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination." Stairway to heaven, indeed. 

Thank You, Next

Dressed in the revenge catsuit to end all revenge catsuits, Bella Hadid expertly navigated what could have been quite the awkward interaction with ex-boyfriend The Weeknd and his date for the 2017 Met Gala, Selena Gomez. An insider told E! News that the supermodel kept her distance from the couple throughout the evening, but Bella and the "Blinding Lights" singer ended up reconciling a year later. Then broke up again.

Hair Today... In My Hand

Jaden Smith redefined fearless fashion when he brought his freshly chopped dreadlocks with him to the Met Gala in 2017. The unlikely accessory not only raised eyebrows, but also started somewhat of a tradition for the model and artist. In 2018, Jaden the gold certification plaque for his song "Icon" was his Met Gala date.

Calling a Truce

For a blink-and-you-missed-it moment at the 2018 Met Gala, Cardi B and Nicki Minaj appeared to put an end to their ongoing feud after photographers spotted the rappers conversing with Jeremy Scott. That is until about four months later, when the pair were involved in a heated altercation at a New York Fashion Week party involving a red high heel and resulting in a nasty bump over Cardi's eye.

The ladies eventually buried the hatchet, safely, over Instagram, agreeing to "keep it positive and keep it pushing."

Belle of the Ball

Claire Danes enjoyed a real life Cinderella moment when she arrived at the 2016 Met Gala in a light blue ball gown fit for a tech-savvy Disney princess. It turned out that the Homeland star's Zac Posen-designed confection featured thousands of hand-sewn L.E.D. lights that illuminated the dance floor.  

And don't worry, like Madonna's cone-shaped bra phase, this too shall pass.

We will reconvene when we can for huge stars, fresh looks, favorite couples, exciting anecdotes, side-eye-fueled drama and a whole new appreciation for just about everything.