Perhaps the best part of the Met Gala is not necessarily how attendees dress, but how they interpret and/or adhere to the theme. Lord knows we’ve seen some hits and misses, some that take it much, much too far, and some that don’t do nearly enough. The consistency, however, lies in the competition—with each industry titan invited attempting to do the other.
This year’s theme (“camp”) asks celebrities to live without limits, color outside the lines, and stretch their wings further than they ever have. Ironically, there are many looks from Met Galas past that more than fit the 2019 theme, and in preparation for tonight, we are reliving them. We’re well aware we’ve merely scratched the surface with this round-up, but still, #campforever.
Beyonce: 2015, 2016
In celebration of China, Beyoncé delivered us one of the most memorable naked dresses of all time. With multi-colored crystals covering very little but just enough, Queen Bey shut the red carpet down inspiring a million memes and prom dresses. Honoring Rei Kawakubo the next year, she arrived in full condom-esque attire—a pear-adorned latex dress that would’ve held in her body heat like a sauna. Icons only.
Sarah Jessica Parker: 2015, 2018
No one owns head gear like SJP, who arrives every year at the steps of the Met with date Andy Cohen. It’s peak camp energy, and nothing screams “I won’t settle for anything less than the throne” than variations of a crown every, damn year. Hats off (no pun intended).
Bella Hadid: 2017
How much do you love that Bella Hadid, who attended the previous Met Gala with boyfriend The Weeknd, arrived in a figure-hugging, backless, glittery catsuit to see her former flame with new girlfriend, Selena Gomez. Truly iconic, very camp.
Well before her face was pumped full of fillers, Cher, the embodiment of camp, arrived at the Met Gala in 1985 in a dress that no doubt informed Beyoncé’s choice exactly 30 years later. A sheer, diamanté turtleneck bodice into a velvet skirt would still pop today. We love.
Madonna: Every year
No one, NO one does camp like Madonna, who shows up and shows out every year. From the boob-baring lace ensemble to camo magic to full Jeremy Scott, Madonna always owns the red carpet and we have little choice but to stan—even if we also cringe a little.
Naomi Campbell: 2011
Generally, Naomi Campbell serves sweet angel or Glamazon goddess when she attends the Met Gala, but her Alexander McQueen-themed look is a different story. In a sheer, fluffy, streamer-inspired dress and platform peep-toes, Campbell delivered campy goodness, and for that we are forever grateful.
Kendall Jenner: 2017
A thorny thong and sheer chainmail dress? Take Kendall Jenner to a Fourth of July party on Fire Island, STAT.
Jennifer Love Hewitt: 2017
JLH’s sole Met Gala seemed to be in 1999, and she proved she’s more than worthy of a John Mayer song. The floor-length feather skirt with a crop top is a moment to remember forever.
Katy Perry: Every year
Like Madonna, Katy Perry always (for better or worse) does the absolute most, and for that we must give her props. The former MG host’s looks aren’t always going to make headlines for their elegance or expert interpretation of the theme, but you can’t deny the fact they’re always very, very camp.
Kate Moss: 2011
The supermodel has brought her signature simplicity to almost every Met Gala carpet, but there was one year that Moss broke her own rules and really turned heads. A backless, gold mini dress with attached half-cape, gold pumps, and a matching turban was everything.
Rihanna: 2015, 2017
For those Met Gala fanatics, you’ll know Rihanna really turned up the heat in recent years. We’ve excluded her Pope look, because—despite its camp-ness—it deserves to forever live in the religious theme, but her other outfits have done nothing less than paid our bills, cleared our skin, and irrevocably made us better people.
Lana Del Rey: 2018
The mask, the lace, the absurd headdress, the even absurder chest piece, Jared Leto, and the worst wig in history—bow down to your queen of camp.
Kim Kardashian: 2013
May we never forget.