Behold, the Most Unforgettable Moments in Met Gala History

From Princess Diana’s notable appearance in 1996 to Lady Gaga unveiling several outfits in front of our eyes in 2019, we’ve rounded up the most memorable moments in Met Gala history.

By Kisha Forde May 02, 2022 3:00 AMTags
Watch: BEST Met Gala Looks of All Time: Jennifer Lopez, Zendaya & More!

If the steps of the Met could talk, we'd bet they would have stories for days.

For the Met Gala—fashion's biggest night—some stars take the definition of "dress-up" to another level. Who could forget, for example, when event co-chair Lady Gaga rocked not one but four unbelievable ensembles in 2019?

Two years later, Lil Nas X proved the "Bad Romance" singer wasn't the only one capable of a little dressing down (and back up) for the world to see. For his 2021 Met Gala look, the "Old Town Singer" changed twice to show off three very distinctive looks—one of which included a Versace suit of gold armor.

And no one was quite ready for 2021's jaw-dropping all-black look, courtesy of Kim Kardashian (thanks to a mask that covered her entire face). Not only did her polarizing outfit inspire countless memes, it also left everyone with one question: How was she was able to see anything in that attire? 

Most Memorable Met Gala Entrances in Recent Years

But some Met Gala moments go down in infamy because of what happened behind the scenes. Who could forget the shock waves sent around the world in 2014 when Solange, Beyoncé, and Jay-Z were caught on video in an elevator hours after the trio attended the annual ball?

Whether it's the unforgettable fashion choices or things that seemed to unravel after the main event, we've rounded up some of the most memorable moments in Met Gala history:

Kim Kardashian Arriving (Literally) Unrecognizable

For her red-carpet entrance at the 2021 Met Gala, the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star had the world buzzing with her shocking faceless all-black look: a custom ensemble designed by Demna Gvasalia, creative director of Balenciaga. And if you're wondering how Kim was able to see through the material of her outfit, turns out, she couldn't!

"The whole evening of the Met Ball, Kim couldn't see, and she couldn't breathe," mom Kris Jenner revealed during a November 2021 interview. "So, my boyfriend Corey [Gamble] was walking around—we were all together and he was leading her to where we were supposed to go and helping with her ponytail. It was suddenly—he was somebody pulling her around, and a hairstylist all at the same time."

Three Times the Looks

Lil Nas X gives us what's he got until he can't anymore. The singer changed twice during his entrance for the 2021 Met Gala. One of his looks, which included a Versace suit made of gold armor, has still left stars in our eyes.

The Couple That Slay Together...

RiRi makes the list time and time again for her groundbreaking fashions, but Rihanna Navy went into a frenzy when the star walked the red carpet of the 2021 Met Gala with boyfriend A$AP Rocky. It was fate for the two to arrive as one of the last couples of the evening, since they practically shut down the carpet with their adorable entrance.

London Calling

Princess Diana attended her first and only Met Gala in 1996, a year before her shocking death. Her lingerie-inspired gown was 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), but the navy satin slip dress—designed by John Galliano for Dior— was an instantly iconic look.

Through 2019, 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 not making their own grand entrance one of these days.


We'll keep this short and sweet: 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. 

Elevator Showdown

The 2014 Met Gala went down in infamy thanks to a certain elevator ride starring Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Solange Knowles. Leaked surveillance footage showed the rapper being physically accosted by Bey's little sister in the lift at NYC's Standard Hotel while his wife made no move to intervene, prompting the notoriously private trio to release a rare public statement reassuring anyone who was interested (aka, everybody) that they remained a "united family."

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."

Hiddleswift Busts a Move

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 singer 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's North Star

Kim Kardashian won't soon forget her very first Met Gala in 2013, where the expectant reality-TV superstar arrived alongside Kanye West in an eye-popping floral print by Givenchy. Daughter North West was born a month later—and 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. 

Mad for Plaid

Sarah Jessica Parker and the late Alexander McQueen punked out in matching tartan at the Met Gala in 2006 to celebrate "AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion."

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 rather priceless. 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 in which she opened up about her less-than-dreamy night two years prior. 

"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 in the Met Gala, or at least that was Anna Wintour's goal when she banned selfies in 2015. What is this, the Oscars?!

But two years later, Kylie Jenner's crew 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.

Feeling of Dread

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 envelope-pushing artit. In 2018, the gold certification plaque for his song "Icon" was his Met Gala date.

Belle of the Ball

Claire Danes 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 confection featured thousands of hand-sewn L.E.D. lights that illuminated the dance floor.  

The Real Transformer

Lady Gaga schooled all comers in the art of "Camp: Notes on Fashion," the theme of 2019's Met Gala, when she arrived in a voluminous pink Brandon Maxwell ballgown that was only the beginning. Several nesting-doll looks later, she was down to her luxe skivvies and the crowd was on its knees.

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