The Most Iconic Met Gala Dresses Of All Time Include This Princess Diana Look

by Danielle Naer

Each year, on the first Monday in May, the worldwide style set flocks to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for what's arguably the biggest night in fashion. But in 2020, things are a little different. With the function postponed to the fall, this May won't include a red carpet graced by Valentino-plumed Naomi Campbell or gowned Lady Gaga. Still, with some 70 years in the making (since its inception all the way back in 1948), there are plenty of iconic Met Gala dresses that deserve a closer look — and now is as good a time as any to do a full audit of frocks from its rich history.

Rivaled by only the Academy Awards, The Met Gala is the event in which celebrities pull out all the stops. And thanks to the event's creative themes, the variety from year to year keeps things exciting. Take, for example, Rihanna's maximalist marigold coat dress by Guo Pei for 2015's "China: Through The Looking Glass" theme. In a similar colorway, but on the far end of the spectrum, you have Kate Moss' slinky tank dress, which appeared 20 years prior in the midst her runway peak. 20 years before that, the '70s gave us a crystal-dripped Cher — so, you can expect that 2020 will be the welcomed kickoff to the next decade of iconic looks.

As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder — so, while you're not tuning into the red (or, sometimes pink) carpet this season, browse the best of Gala's past, ahead.

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Jackie Kennedy Onassis (1979)

Donning a Valentino frock suspended in ruffles, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' look seemed to immortalize the frilled aesthetic as a signature brand code forever.

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Christy Turlington (1992)

Turlington stacked pearl strands neck-high and wore a simple black dress, creating an ultra-polished look with a Holly Golightly feel.

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Bianca Jagger (1974)

Bianca Jagger's cherry-red, sequin-spangled frock and matching beret is the retro version of a monochrome look that's making the rounds today.

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Cher (1974)

Cher's naked dress look has seen many revisions — but this one in particular, dripped in feathers and crystals, is well worth shouting about. Designed by Bob Mackie in 1974.

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Kate Moss (1995)

1995 was the year of the simple tank dress — just ask Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Moss, whose unembellished, pastel-colored frocks made the biggest splash. Moss' Calvin Klein design featured an open back.

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Naomi Campbell (1995)

Naomi Campbell is the closes thing we have to Met Ball royalty, and her disco-glam look by Versace all the way back in 1995 practically solidified it forever. Fast-forward 25 years later, and she still puts the competition to rest effortlessly.

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Victoria Beckham (2006)

Victoria Beckham's 2006 Met Gala look was as fiery as it gets. The designer and former Spice Girl chose a red-hot Roland Mouret cupcake gown and strap-y satin sandals.

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Gwyneth Paltrow (2013)

Gwyneth Paltrow's fuchsia Valentino frock in 2013 featured a shoulder-dipped element that totally took the gown up a notch.

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Sarah Jessica Parker (2013)

Also in 2013, SJP displayed her prowess when it comes to print-mixing — and her affinity for a bold footwear moment. She wore a Giles gown with a mohawk headpiece by Philip Treacy.

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Princess Diana (1996)

It should come as no surprise that the royal behind the "Lady Dior" bag would wear the designer to her last Gala before her passing the following year. The piece was a first from John Galliano, plucked from his debut couture collection from the brand.

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Donatella Versace (1999)

Look familiar? The dress would break the internet at the 2000 Grammy Awards on J.Lo. 20 years later, the piece got a third life, when it went down the runway with J.Lo, again, at Versace's Spring 2020 show.

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Ariana Grande (2018)

Draped in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling, Grande's Vera Wang gown for previewing the "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination" exhibition was right on-theme.

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Lady Gaga (2019)

In custom Brandon Maxwell, Gaga's show-stopping, 16-minute entrance act declared her the Queen of Camp — if she wasn't already.

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Rihanna (2015)

Wearing a sunny Guo Pei coat dress, Rihanna certainly declared her impetus over the event, having become a Gala co-chair a few years later.

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Kim Kardashian West (2013)

There's no denying the show-stopping power of her most recent Gala, for which she covered May Vogue and stopped traffic in a waist-cinching Mugler dress. But, it's worth looking backwards — to 2013, where a very-pregnant KKW attended her first Met Gala as Kanye's date in a floral Givenchy bodycon dress too.

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Beyonce (2016)

In a beaded latex Givenchy look (which also featured a handful of sparkling diamond rings), Beyoncé redefined the term bodycon at the 2016 Met Gala.

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J.Lo (2019)

If it's even possible, J.Lo's 2019 Met Gala gown outshone her sparkling engagement ring from A Rod. In quintessential brand royalty, her gown was designed by none other than Versace.

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Anna Wintour (2019)

And, last but not least, the force behind it all — Anna Wintour, who has presided over the event since 1995. Here, she wore custom Chanel, as she did each year for the event — except this piece was extra-special, as it was one of the last pieces Karl Lagerfeld would design before his passing.

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