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PAUSE Editor Picks: The Best Met Gala Looks of All Time

The Best Met Gala Looks of All Time.

The Met Gala serves as a powerful catalyst for creativity and innovation in modern-day fashion and has done so since 1948 – when it was a midnight supper you could attend for fifty bucks. The Met Gala is one of the biggest fashion events and influences the industry as a whole.

Since its inception, the star-studded event has become a cultural institution, setting the tone for fashion discourse and serving as a barometer for the changing landscape of style, art, and expression.

The themes, designers, stylists, and attendees are challenged to interpret, reinterpret, and push fashion’s boundaries in order to reflect the zeitgeist.

With less than 24 hours left until its 2024 edition, PAUSE Magazine looks back at its most iconic moments. Here’s our editors’ take on the best Met Gala looks ever.

Johnson - Editor-in-Chief

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Met Gala 2015: Rihanna in Guo Pei.
The Met Gala reveals moments that last all year round and forever in our minds, but there’s no lasting moment, like no other, that has had us swept off the red carpet since 2015.
Almost 10 years ago, The Met Gala had a theme “China: Through The Looking Glass,” and we was all literally shaken through our glass screens. During the 2015 event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, all the guests attempted to dress the theme including Beyonce, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and Jlo. Beyonce’s moment was cute, swept all edges off, but other guests didn’t really steal the moment in 2015 frankly speaking. The night had calmly come to an end on the red carpet reporting, but last but not least, always arriving late, miss bad gal riri turned up to make one of her biggest statements in history. Rihanna walked in taking one of her the biggest fashion risk of all time, “Queen of the Night” as said by Andre Leon Talley. She wore a handmade custom Chinese cape by Guo Pei couture which took two long years to create. The long-length legendary cape was draping all across the Met Gala red carpet in bright shiny luxurious yellow and marked a moment that is unmatched forever.
This 2024 Met Gala I’m really looking forward to more risks and propelling moments.

PHOTO CREDIT: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Taija-Leorelle - Global Style Director and Associate Editor

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Met Gala 2019: Lady Gaga in Brandon Maxwell.
The Met’s 2019 “Camp: Notes on Fashion” Gala was one of the absolute best years for fashion with so many memorable looks, we had Zendaya dazzling us with her Cinderella-esque lit-up dress by Tommy Hilfiger, Jared in Gucci carrying a replica of his own head and Kim K dripping (almost literally) on the carpet in Mugler. 2019 unarguably gave us some of the biggest moments to date – but, my absolute top Met moment has to be Lady Gaga’s viral carpet appearance.
5 years later this still remains one of the Mets most iconic moments with Gaga delivering us not just 1, but 4 full looks. In typical Gaga fashion she served us all of the theatrics, with a 16 minute LIVE epic performance of her striping away layers of her look designed by Brandon Maxwell to unveil a whole new outfit. It started with her wearing a bold- pink bowed gown that featured a 25ft long train, to her stripped all the way down to her signature “Gaga look”- underwear, hosiery and platform boots, not to forget the Tiffany & Co jewellery and the accessories that were added in to create each new look.
We’ve waited and  waited but there has yet to be a moment that has topped this, Gaga also hasn’t graced the carpet since 2019, so her attendance this year is highly anticipated. Will anyone be able to gag us as much as Gaga did? I cannot wait to see what this year’s carpet has to offer.

PHOTO CREDIT: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)

Rhys Marcus Jay - Fashion Director

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Met Gala 2019: Odell Beckham Jr in Thom Browne.
Theme “Camp Notes on Fashion”, think pink… carpet! The Met Gala always proposes a dare to those who are fashion conscious, hey, even if you’re not, now is the time to sip some of that juice from the bedazzled chalice! 2019’s Met saw Michael B Jordan in  a sparkly number by COACH; GUCCI was a favourite this year for many celebrities, dressing Harry Styles in a jumpsuit, Dapper Dan in a tuxedo, and Dev Hynes in a colourful suit featuring a statement bandana – possibly inspired by Fashion Icon ASAP Rocky?
I digress, let’s get back to talking about OBJ as he made a daring touch down on the pink carpet in full Thom Browne! Doing it, and doing it well is our response to this look. The MET reigns supreme in creativity. Whilst wearing a kilt isn’t the norm for a man like OBJ, he get more fond of the option as the fitting progressed according to an article via GQ, it definitely screams a statement more than the traditional grey suit – a signature style c/o Browne.
The look, a deconstructed sleeveless vest, bow tie, shirt, kilt, signature socks and a mean but classy boot with an elevated sole finished with a trucker hat, and iced out jewellery to bring it home, making it feel relatable to him and his audience. This look is uncharacteristic from OBJ some might say, some is me but that’s what makes the look iconic! It’s a conversation, that is exactly what fashion and the Met Gala is all about. This gust of wind from OBJ has inspired a fresh take on Menswear, masculinity also. Dare I say it’s redefined the boundaries for men’s fashion enthusiasts. Let the conversation continue I say!

PHOTO CREDIT: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Thomas - Junior Online Editor

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Met Gala 2021: Frank Ocean in Prada.
A public sighting of Mr. Frank Ocean can never be snuffed at, and 2019’s Met Gala now immediately springs to mind when I think of iconic Met Gala moments. Despite not quite hitting the “Camp: Notes on Fashion” nail on the head, what Frank does well is be unapologetically himself, opting for a velvety smooth Prada co-ord that oozes a sense of effortless style, an art that Frank has come to master over the years.

As per usual, the notoriously reclusive figure somehow manages to deflect attention away from himself as he hit the red carpet with his mascot robo-baby, putting on for his then new jewellery brand, Homer, by dressing his animatronic sidekick in a custom onesie whilst donning a shining diamond necklace. Wherever you stand on this fit and its applicability to the dress code, there’s no hiding away from the fact this was a moment.

PHOTO CREDIT: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum

Lynn - Features Editor

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Met Gala 2006: Alexander McQueen in Alexander McQueen.

As far as Met Gala’s go, the Met Gala of 2006 undoubtedly delivered one of the most iconic fashion moments, courtesy of Alexander McQueen and Sarah Jessica Parker’s daring interpretation of the theme “AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion.” Ever unafraid, McQueen’s creation epitomised fashion and style audacity, blending elements of tradition with a rebellious edge.

His well documented attention to detail was evident in every aspect of the ensemble, from the incredibly tailored silhouette to the daring embellishments that pushed the boundaries of menswear. With this groundbreaking look, McQueen not only celebrated traditional Scottish style (a nod to his Scottish heritage which was extremely important to him) but also challenged conventional notions of masculinity, leaving an indelible mark on the fashion landscape that we’ve seen maintained by the likes of ASAP Rocky’s 2023 Gucci Met Gala look and continues to resonate to this day.

Harkening back on the most memorable Met Gala moments, McQueen’s 2006 masterpiece undoubtedly ranks among the very best, a testament to the enduring legacy of a visionary in the world of fashion.

PHOTO CREDIT: Peter Kramer/Getty Images)

Marcus - Writer

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Met Gala 2019: Frank Ocean in Prada.

For all we know, pre-pandemic Frank Ocean had a crystal ball telling him what menswear would look like in 2024. In a move that initially sparked disinterest across social media, Ocean’s Prada Gabardine Anorak paired with a professional white dress shirt and tie quickly became a talking point at the 2019 Met Gala. His take on “Notes on Camp” included a pair of rigid-cut trousers with a straight-leg finish, buoyantly sitting above a pair of soft-sole Chelsea boots.

The simplicity of the look in comparison to the grandiose outfits that followed is what makes this one of the best Met Gala looks in the modern day. From a man whose music supersedes soul and emotion, it was refreshing to watch him strut in such a fundamentally relaxed outfit. Each piece has seen itself restructure menswear today, whether it’s pairing dress shoes with streetwear-influenced denim, bringing back the shirt and tie in a casual setting, or the macro trend of pairing what our dads used to wear with garments engineered for today’s fashion climate. It may not turn your head if you catch it on the street, but it most definitely served as a cornerstone for menswear at the gala.

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images via Vogue.

Michael - Advertising Assistant

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Met Gala 2013: Miley Cyrus in Marc Jacobs.

It’s no surprise that I instinctively went straight to 2013’s “Punk: Chaos to Couture” when asked to get nostalgic about the Met Gala. Like every single year, there were too many misses to recall (I guess Hollywood isn’t the most punk place on earth), but if anyone was going to understand the assignment, it was obviously going to be Miley.

As making headlines and rattling feathers became somewhat expected of her as she entered her ‘Bangerz’ era, the year’s theme of rebellion couldn’t have come at a better time to prove that she had well and truly left her former life as Hannah Montana behind. Dressed by Marc Jacobs in a risqué floor-length fishnet dress with bleached spikes that would put an electrocuted man to shame, the Morticia Addams-inspired look was so simply executed yet exuded so much attitude.

It’s a left shout but I guess that’s the divisiveness that punk is all about.

PHOTO CREDIT: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for The Huffington Post

Jas - Contributing Writer

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Met Gala 2018: Solange Knowles in Iris van Herpen.

‘Heavenly Bodies’ was undeniably one of the best themes in Met Gala history, producing some of the most iconic celebrity fashion moments to date. But out of all them and even after all these years, Solange’s outfit is the one that lives rent-free in my head. The story behind the singer’s choice of attire is equally as interesting.

The day before the 2018 red-carpet event, the younger Knowles sister posted a poll of five different options on X, formerly known as Twitter, with the caption “dead ass about to let y’all pick my Met Gala look cuz i can’t handle the anxiety rn . . . which saint shall I draw energy from and pull up to the function as?” The winner was a black, high-shine, sculptural dress from Iris van Herpen’s Fall 2012 couture collection.

Topping off the ensemble with a do-rag and a woven halo headpiece was a stroke of genius – 5 out of 5 stars.

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images / Dia Dipasupil

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