As a tribute to this year’s cancelled MET Gala, Ffion Haf lists her fashion favourites from past years
Originally scheduled to take place on the first Monday of May, the 2020 Met Gala announced that it was postponed indefinitely on March 16th due to public health concerns regarding COVID-19. First established in 1948, the Met Gala has become well-known for its high profile guest list and displaying the best that current designers have to offer. The Gala was founded by fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert as a way to raise money for the newly-endowed Costume Institute and mark the opening of its annual exhibit. However, over the years it has developed into much more than a fundraising event, it has become a display of fashion as art, leaving no limit to the creative abilities of the imagination. Each theme is chosen with the utmost consideration – each having its own story to tell or history to teach.
Andrew Bolton, the curator in charge of the Costume Institute at the Met, discusses this year’s theme (‘About Time: Fashion and Duration’) with The New York Times: ‘Fashion is indelibly connected to time. It not only reflects and represents the spirit of the times, but it also changes and develops with the times.’ It has been described as inspired by the novels of Virginia Woolf and the theories of the early-20th-century French philosopher Henri Bergson. Whilst there will be no red carpet flowing down the steps of the Met this year, the show will go on: the 2020 Costume Institute exhibit will open this October. And as a tribute to this year’s cancelled Gala, here are my highlights of past Met Gala outfits:
1. Diana, Princess of Wales, in Dior (1996)
Princess Diana made her only appearance at the Met Gala in 1996. This navy blue lingerie gown, designed by Dior’s then creative director John Galliano, signalled a new, liberating moment. The fabulous gown displayed her fashion-forward attitude; slip dresses are still popular today, proving the royal was ahead of her time.
2. Rihanna in Guo Pei (2015)
Rihanna stole the show, nailing the China: Through the Looking Glass theme with a dress that took more than two years to create. Pei stated in an interview with Vanity Fair that “’he focus and the attention paid to this dress will make it remembered by the world… it is my responsibility to let the world know China’s tradition and past, and to give the splendour of China a new expression.’
3. Zendaya in Fausto Puglisi (2015)
Bringing a youthful sense of whimsicality to the proceedings, the starlet fully captivated in her Fausto Puglisi number, emblazoned with a bold sun motif that artfully took into account the evening’s Chinese theme. Each piece of the entire outfit was well-thought and matched perfectly, from her wrist and arm cuffs to the tiara-like headpiece, where the sharp sunbeam shapes were likewise repeated.
4. Blake Lively in Versace (2018)
If there is anyone I look forward to seeing on the steps of the Met each year, it would have to be Blake Lively. Without fail, each year she raises the bar with her stunning ensembles. This look perfectly blended the Met Gala’s ‘Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination’ theme, arriving in a gorgeous, embellished ruby-red and gold gown, the actress proved she’s a force to be reckoned with, and a heavenly sight for all eyes to see.
5. Gigi Hadid in Versace (2018)
Having attended the Met Gala every year since 2015, Hadid knows how to turn heads. This stunning Versace gown with stain glass window-inspired detail fitted flawlessly in accordance with the night’s ‘Heavenly Bodies’ theme – the dress was literally and figuratively made for her and only her to wear.
6. Billy Porter in The Blonds (2019)
Not only does Billy Poter know how to sell beautiful and artistic clothing, but he also knows how to make an entrance. Rather than simply walking the red carpet, Poter made a show of his ‘Sun God’ ensemble by arriving in a sedan chair, carried atop the shoulders of six men in homage to Ancient Egypt. The entrance served as half fashion moment, half performance art—perfectly executed on an evening when stars were asked to unleash their utmost creativity. The custom garment included a bejewelled catsuit outfitted with 10-foot wings, a 24-karat gold headpiece, as well as custom gold-leaf Giuseppe Zanotti shoes and fine jewels.
7. Harry Styles in Gucci (2019)
Harry Styles defied all expectations when he decided to put on a different type of ‘camp’, as opposed to the vast colours and shinning sequins seen frequently throughout the night of the 2019 Met Gala. The look combined traditionally feminine elements, such as the sheer fabric and pearl earrings, with masculine counterparts of the tailored trousers and his tattoos. It brought together an aesthetic ranging from the New Romantic movement to the Victorian era, while sticking to the camp theme of the evening.