The Met Gala has always mattered to the art world, and it was designed to be a "grand fête" from the very beginning, according to the Metropolitan Museum. But these days, it feels like every year there's a bid to outdo the costuming that came before it—which means we are really, really being treated to some wild red carpet looks. Many of them are jaw-dropping in the way that inspires (see also: Rihanna's yellow robe from 2015), but just as many are jaw-dropping in the way that makes you go, "Huh??" We appreciate these just as much: Everyone on this list tried hard, and some of them really leaned in on a difficult theme. Even if it missed the mark or left us scratching our heads, we still love a gamble—without big swings, we wouldn't be discussing whether they worked or not. And I prefer an interesting outfit to a boring one.
Below, 32 of the weirdest, wackiest, wildest, strangest, and no-holds-barred outfits on the Met Gala red carpet.
Normally I would never dare to question Anna Wintour's fashion choices, ever, but I confess to being befuddled about this choice of bubble-hem bedazzled coat dress over pale green gown (even with the theme of "Dangerous Liaisons"). The '00s were a rocky time in terms of fashion, and even the most fashionable among us were no exception.
Described as a living charm bracelet (for the charms on her oversized jewelry as well as charms on her literal manicure), Elle Fanning embraced the “Camp: Notes on Fashion” theme by going over the top. I love the joy and the enthusiasm...but this feels like an outfit for a more casual event.
I guess if you're gonna look like a mix of characters from The Wizard of Oz and Blade Runner, this is the way to do it? Technically it's Joan of Arc-inspired (the theme was "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination") but it feels more uncomfortable than inspired.
This feels like a normal suit, right? Wrong!! He's carrying his own cut dreadlocks in his hand—he had to shave it for a film role. He said in an interview, "Since I couldn't bring my sister as a date, I brought my old hair." I mean...I guess if you miss your old hair, just bring it along?
Liv Tyler and Stella McCartney
In case you missed it, the Met Gala has never been a "casual" event, but the two daughters of famous musicians really went there with their matching "Rock Royalty" tees. Speaking about it later, “I didn’t come at it intentionally to be rebellious at all. I didn’t know what people wore,” McCartney explained to Vogue. Added Tyler, “It wasn’t really appropriate that we wore those shirts. Officially, we weren’t following the honors of the dress code. It was very cool and rebellious of Stella.”
This was Prabal Gurung for the "In America: An Anthology of Fashion” theme, and the individual pieces are cool (pink corset, pink bow and train in the back, black and white ostrich-y feathers, lime green platform heels) but together it was so much.
Emma Corrin has a cool, weird, sometimes wacky red carpet style (which is why they made this list, naturally!). The oversized jacket and patent booties make a cool shape, but—of course—the standout has to be the modernized tall bowler hat. According to British Vogue, "King of the Dudes" (New York socialite Evander Berry Wall) inspired them.
For the "Heavenly Bodies" Met Gala, Solange Knowles let Twitter choose her outfit for the night (it was a choice between five looks), and apparently the crowd decided that this was the standout. It's Iris van Herpen and kind of looks like a pitch-black latex flower to me.
Real talk: How does one eat in this? The theme was "Gilded Glamour," and Poonawalla took this theme exceptionally literally. I confess to being intrigued—on her Instagram, she explained that the look was inspired by the "golden cage" women find themselves in.
According to the Daily Front Row, Macklowe dressed in this armless Comme des Garçons number and explained, "I’ve gone as a flying squirrel with no arms tonight...I feel like I need a beer-bong helmet since I don’t have arms, so I can drink. I just hope someone who sits next to me will feed me.”
Sort of a cross between a peacock and a Portuguese man o' war, my favorite part of this outfit is Dion's leg jutting out from under the fringe. This Oscar de la Renta was apparently inspired by "Judy Garland and the glitzy costumes of the Ziegfeld Follies" (thematic for “Camp: Notes on Fashion”) and the headpiece was 22(!!) pounds.
When journalists first spotted this outfit, they were befuddled by the black sparkles on Minaj's face and body (there's a character in the Bond film Die Another Day who has diamonds embedded in his face and...this reminded me of that). But—it certainly is "Gilded Glamour"!
I don't quite know if this Valentino was quite on theme for “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” But McDormand was posing in the most fabulous and over-the-top way on the red carpet and told reporters that the completed look only took her "five minutes."
Apparently, Pugh shaved her head for the Met Gala—which is the cool, counterintuitive thing to do, of course—the better to wear this Valentino dress and headpiece. I kind of wish it was black and feathered from top to bottom (it sort of looks like a potted plant this way), but you can't fault the fearlessness.
EmRata always knows how to get people talking, so vintage Versace (from the 1992 collection) with all the colors seems like an intuitive choice for the Met Gala. The "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" theme totally makes sense here, but the skirt used to be more voluminous—and I think that might be what's missing.
This look made a bunch of "worst of" lists, which feels rude in retrospect (Madonna is never not giving us tantalizing lace—so why shouldn't she continue doing it?). She called it a "political statement" on Instagram, adding, "The fact that people actually believe a woman is not allowed to express her sexuality and be adventurous past a certain age is proof that we still live in an age-ist and sexist society."
Sarah Jessica Parker
There were a lot of headpieces at the 2015 Met Gala (the theme was "China: Through the Looking Glass," and it feels like that might need some nuance). It's Philip Treacy, and Parker later told Vogue, "“The headpiece had traveled from the UK, and it arrived in customs, but it wasn’t in our possession—and it was Sunday...We had no assurance it was going to be in our hands by Monday.”
"Wacky" should be Janelle Monáe's middle name—she never, ever goes partway on the red carpet, so the Met Gala is her time to shine. FYI, the Thom Browne black and white coat was later taken off (halfway up the stairs!) to reveal a sheer pannier dress and bikini underneath. “It’s a perfect threesome of me, Thom, and Karl,” she told journalists with a laugh.
Helen Lasichanh and Pharrell Williams
I feel like I had an action figure that looked like this! I'm totally kidding, this Comme des Garçons look is very cool (although, as always, I worry about how she would eat at the ceremony). Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I'm more distracted by Pharrell's ripped Comme des Garçons jeans.
Lil Nas X
Lil Nas wasn't the only one to interpret the Met Gala theme “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty" as "I'm going to go as Lagerfeld's much-loved cat, Choupette," but he certainly was the most detailed. With a Dior thong and tons and tons of silver paint and gemstones, it took 10(!) hours to make.
Kim Kardashian is usually pretty game for any red carpet look (she appears again on this list) but it's noteworthy that she wasn't actually sure about this Balenciaga look at first. She told Vogue, "But [Balenciaga’s creative director Demna Gvasalia] and the team were like, 'This is a costume gala. This is not a Vanity Fair party where everyone looks beautiful. There’s a theme and you have to wear the mask. That is the look.'"
Kim Kardashian instantly turned into a meme for this floral Givenchy look, and later admitted a) she wasn't wild about having her first Met Gala being when she was "very pregnant," and b) was totally freaked out about the response. "I was crying, like, the whole way home because I just couldn’t believe it. There were all these memes about me and this couch!" Now she loves it, though.
I mean. If you're Katy Perry, and you're going to the Met Gala, you literally light up the red carpet. This Moschino piece is for "Camp: Notes on Fashion," and it is very, very that. It weighs 40(!) pounds, and Perry told reporters she would not be sitting down...before singing a couple bars from Sia's "Chandelier."
For her inside "Camp" Met Gala look, Katy Perry changed out of her original chandelier look and upgraded to...a burger! Perry, ever the good sport, sat down from time to time (so her legs disappeared and she just looked like a burger with a head), and people tried to jokingly take bites out of her all evening.
It's very difficult to beat Frank Ocean carrying a green robot baby on the red carpet with him—apparently to promote his luxury brand Homer. I think what gives me pause here is that the baby is so uncanny valley (as in, so close to looking real as to be alarming—it literally moves its head and arms) that I can't stop staring. Which was probably the point.
Doja Cat's cat costume didn't stop at face prosthetics and claw nails—she literally conducted interviews as a meowing cat (lol!). One of a few attendees who also honored Karl Lagerfeld's cat Choupette, this was a slightly more low-key—but still iconic—anthropomorphized version.
Rihanna's Met Gala outfits are often legendary, but her more recent looks (including this one while she was pregnant) have become so over-the-top that they're basically modern art. This Valentino look made her look like an enormous rosebush, and it had a huuuuge train but still somehow looks comfy.
Rihanna and A$AP Rocky
Iconic. When you have to show up to a glam event but you wanna be comfy...just come in duvets!! To be honest, A$AP Rocky totally steals the show (sorry, Rihanna), looking like something your grandmother would have lovingly handmade to decorate your couch.
Grimes' whole vibe is (as Reddit describes it) "neo-medieval ethereal," so this modernized armor-chic look is actually very on theme. But of course, the elephant in the room is that enormous sword, which was heavy and real—although not sharp, apparently. Phew.
Alessandro Michele and Jared Leto
Jared Leto has had many a wild Met Gala look—by this point, it's kind of his specialty to show up in something so weird and wacky that he overshadows everyone else on the red carpet—so this twinning moment with the creative director of Gucci is so 2022.
For a theme honoring Karl Lagerfeld, lots of attendees honored the designer's cat. But Jared Leto won the award of "most on the nose" by literally showing up as the cat Choupette. The most hilarious part of this, to me, is that he didn't take off the head right away...so people were very confused.
Nothing to me will ever be more eerie than Jared Leto carrying his own head to the Met Gala. (It certainly is campy, so it fits with the theme??) Leto was having an absolute ball throughout, and even (ack) inexplicably tossed his head to Shaun Mendes (ack) while they were on the red carpet (ACK).