All the past Met Gala themes over the years up to 2024

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Benefit, known around the globe as the Met Gala, will take place May 6, 2024, in New York City. 

The Spring 2024 exhibition, titled “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion,” will highlight the sensory experience behind clothes and their transitory nature. But the dress code of the 2024 Met Gala — typically related to the exhibit’s theme — is “The Garden of Time.” The dress code is a reference to the 1962 J.G. Ballard short story of the same name, which explores the finite aspects of nature and life. 

Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s announcement of the Costume Institute’s spring 2024 exhibition, “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” in New York on Nov. 8, 2023. The Costume Institute Benefit, also known as the Met Gala, will take place on May 6 to celebrate the exhibition opening.

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The exhibit is funded largely by contributions from the Met Gala, where every year the biggest and wealthiest names gather to show off the best in fashion.

Vogue Magazine’s Anna Wintour has co-chaired the event since 1995 and is joined this year by Zendaya, Bad Bunny, Chris Hemsworth and Jennifer Lopez.

2023 Met Gala theme: “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty”

The 2023 Met Gala Celebrating
Doja Cat attends The 2023 Met Gala Celebrating “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City. 

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The Met Gala honored the late designer Karl Lagerfeld in 2023 with a night of references to his style and his immense influence in the fashion world. Some wore Lagerfeld’s designs for Chanel, Fendi, Balmain and Chloé, while others twisted his unique way of dressing, which combined black, white and leather for his daily wear, and later in life inspired the creative behind his eponymous label. There were also plenty of cat odes at the gala, a tribute to Lagerfeld’s beloved feline friend Choupette, 

2022 Met Gala theme: “In America: An Anthology of Fashion”

The second installment of a two-part exhibition on fashion in the United States, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” celebrated two centuries of American identity through fashion’s eyes. “Gilded Glamour” graced the gala’s red carpet and American history references were prevalent. The most recognized garment belonged to Marilyn Monroe. The nude, form-fitting number shined on the style icon while she serenated then-president John F. Kennedy for his birthday in 1962. Kim Kardashian wore the dress after entering a deal with the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum to bring the garment out of its display. The uproar was immediate, as some alleged possible damage to the dress. Ripley’s was forced to respond denying the heated claims. 

2021 Met Gala theme: “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion”

Co-chair Billie Eilish attends The 2021 Met Gala Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13, 2021 in New York City. 

Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

The first of two parts, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” wove together identities of the everchanging U.S. through time, exploring the emotions behind the country’s evolving culture. Instagram sponsored the event and brought to the carpet executives turned celebrities, including author, viral influencer and director of fashion partnerships at Instagram Evan Chen, and the social app’s chief Adam Mosseri. After a pause for the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, social hesitance was still evident and masks were incorporated into some of the night’s designs. Of note, Billie Eilish wore an Oscar De La Renta dress for a cause, calling for the historied house to end its ties to fur.

2019 Met Gala theme: “Camp: Notes on Fashion”

The 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion - Arrivals
Jared Leto attends The 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 06, 2019 in New York City.

Dia Dipasupil/FilmMagic)

Guests brought their imagination to the pink carpet for the 2019 “Camp: Notes on Fashion” gala rendition. Gender-bending was evident and many looks turned heads, like Jared Leto’s interpretation of Alessandro Michele’s world of Gucci. Lady Gaga’s iconic Brandon Maxwell looks told a story of style with each step the singer took outside of the Met. Framed around Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay “Notes on ‘Camp,'” the gala brought to life the whimsical and effervescent nature of fashion.

2018 Met Gala theme: “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”

Cardi B arrives for the 2018 Met Gala on May 7, 2018, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.


The 2018 Met Gala theme drew inspiration from Catholicism. “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” explored religious iconography and the influence of medieval art in fashion. Guests brought to life looks that referenced papal garments and displayed biblical artifacts like crosses, angel wings and halos. The theme’s ties to the history of Christ were not well received by some critics who thought fashion should stay out of the church. 

2017 Met Gala theme: “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between”

Ambassador Caroline Kennedy attends “Rei Kawakubo/Commes Des Garcons: Art of the In-Between” at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2017 in New York City. 

Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic/Getty

The 2017 event paid tribute to Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo and her Comme des Garçons avant-garde designs that play with the body’s shape and form. Duality, a motif for the exhibit, highlighted almost four decades of her work. Guests brought to the event pops of red from Kawakubo’s palette, intricate embellishments and sheer fabrics. Caroline Kennedy and Rihanna embraced more fantastical designs, pairing shape-shifting silhouettes with florals, inducing more authenticity to a much-subdued theme interpretation. 

2016 Met Gala theme: “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology”

Beyonce Knowles attends ‘Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology‘ Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2016 in New York City.

Photo by James Devaney/GC Images

The influence of technology in fashion turned the 2016 Met Gala into a spectacular display of metallics and cutting-edge designs. Many of the garnmets appeared too intricate and precise to be man-made, an ode to the artisans all over the world who piece together exquisite Haute Couture creations by pouring thousands of hours into each work. CBS News spent the day with supermodel and entrepreneur Karlie Kloss, who wore a sleek white Brandon Maxwell number that referenced classic men’s tailoring paired with Alaïa-esque angular cuts.

2015 Met Gala theme “China: Through the Looking Glass”

Rihanna arrives at the 2015 Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala benefit in honor of the museums latest exhibit China: Through the Looking Glass May 4, 2015 in New York.

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

While the 2015 Met exhibit scoped a wide history of artifacts and influence from Asian art, the gala came down to just one word: Rihanna. Dawning a sunny yellow cape that cascaded down the steps of the Met, the singer and fashion icon elevated the meaning of attending fashion’s biggest night. The couture garment designed by China’s Guo Pei took two years to make, Rihanna told Vanity Fair. The look quickly comes to mind around the world when the first Monday in May is discussed.

2014 Met Gala theme: “Charles James: Beyond Fashion”

Taylor Swift attends the “Charles James: Beyond Fashion” Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 5, 2014 in New York City.

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The Costume Institute has been celebrating those behind fashion since its inception, and in 1973 it began hosting the gala within the museum itself, Vogue recounts. Fashion authority Diana Vreeland brought to life “The World of Balenciaga” after exiting Vogue as editor in chief, and her tribute to Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga left a blueprint for other designer-centered celebrations that followed. 

In 2016, couturier Charles James’ work went on display at the Met and guests embraced brilliant gowns with his grandiose touch. James’ tailored and structural approach to the female form, mixed with modern fabrics, brought elegance and regalia to the occasion.

2013 Met Gala theme: “Punk: Chaos to Couture”

Miley Cyrus attends the Costume Institute Gala for the ‘PUNK: Chaos to Couture’ exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  

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Anti-establishment influence inked its way into the Met’s history in 2013. Started in the 1970’s, the punk movement gave guests a reason to wear garments embellished with the spirit of teen disobedience and air of grungy D.I.Y personal style. Madonna honored the era with fishnets, metal studs and silver chains adorning a Givenchy mini plaid blazer by Riccardo Tisci. Rebellion was also apparent in the hairstyles exhibited, most notably by singer Miley Cyrus, a fashion fanatic, whose short, spiked look paired perfectly with her risque fishnet Marc Jacobs gown.

What was the first Met Gala theme?

The Costume Institute started holding benefits in 1948, but it was Diana Vreeland who brought themed galas to the next level as a Met consultant, according to Vogue. Vreeland brought to life “The World of Balenciaga” in 1973, much like the Met Gala as we know it today, after exiting Vogue as editor in chief, and her tribute to Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga left a blueprint for other designer-centered celebrations that followed.

Full list of past Met Gala themes over the years

Inspecting the art of the world’s most famous designers and houses, declaring the impact of global cultures and movements, and defining the prevalence of certain style icons, the Met Gala has explored many themes throughout The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute history. Here’s a look at the Met Gala throughout the years:

  • 1973: The World of Balenciaga
  • 1974: Romantic and Glamorous Hollywood Design
  • 1975: American Women of Style
  • 1976: The Glory of Russian Costume
  • 1977: Vanity Fair: A Treasure Trove of The Costume Institute
  • 1978: Diaghilev: Costumes and Designs of the Ballets Russes
  • 1979: Fashions of the Habsburg Era: Austria-Hungary
  • 1980: The Manchu Dragon: Costumes of China, the Chi’ng Dynasty
  • 1981: The Eighteenth-Century Woman
  • 1982: La Belle Époque
  • 1983: Yves Saint Laurent: 25 Years of Design
  • 1984: Man and the Horse
  • 1985: Costumes of Royal India
  • 1986: Dance
  • 1987: In Style: Celebrating Fifty Years of the Costume Institute
  • 1988: From Queen to Empress: Victorian Dress 1837–1877
  • 1989: The Age of Napoleon: Costume from Revolution to Empire, 1789–1815
  • 1990: Théâtre de la Mode – Fashion Dolls: The Survival of Haute Couture
  • 1992: Fashion and History: A Dialogue
  • 1993: Diana Vreeland: Immoderate Style
  • 1994: Orientalism: Visions of the East in Western Dress
  • 1995: Haute Couture
  • 1996: Christian Dior
  • 1997: Gianni Versace
  • 1998: Cubism and Fashion
  • 1999: Rock Style
  • 2001: Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years
  • 2003: Goddess: The Classical Mode
  • 2004: Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century
  • 2005: The House of Chanel
  • 2006: AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion
  • 2007: Poiret: King of Fashion
  • 2008: Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy
  • 2009: The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion
  • 2010: American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity
  • 2011: Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
  • 2012: Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations
  • 2013: Punk: Chaos to Couture
  • 2014: Charles James: Beyond Fashion
  • 2015: China: Through the Looking Glass
  • 2016: Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology
  • 2017: Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between
  • 2018: Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination
  • 2019: Camp: Notes on Fashion
  • 2021: In America: A Lexicon of Fashion2022: In America: An Anthology of Fashion
  • 2023: Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty2024: Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion

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