The First Monday in May: Our Favorite Met Gala Looks Over the Years - Arts & Culture

Who will look the best tomorrow? Who will look the worse? Who won’t try, at all?

Tomorrow is The First Monday in May (in the US, at least). In fashion parlance, this means it’s the Met Gala, the 27th held since its first iteration in 1995, and the first back in its traditional timeslot since COVID-19 made its appearance: The First Monday in May.

Last year’s celebration, held in September after a few doozy months of pandemic living, had the theme In America: A Lexicon of Fashion was a triumphant return to glamor, although the event was a little strange: it seems very little of the attendees understood the theme, and the guests were not the smashing names we have come to recognize as mainstays of the party.

This year is In America: An Anthology of Fashion, making it a part two to the previous shindig. According to the head curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Andrew Bolton, this theme provides a historical context for last year’s Lexicon.

“The stories really reflect the evolution of American style, but they also explore the work of individual tailors, dress-makers, and designers,” he told Vogue.

Does this mean people will finally understand the theme? Probably not, because none of the guests ever seem to, except for the heavy fashion players who tend to go all out like Lady Gaga or Sarah Jessica Parker.

The rest of the celebrities prefer to play it safe, and the social swans of Manhattan could care less: they paid a table to be there, so they will dress however they please.

Here is a list of our favorite looks in years past.

Jenna Lyons in JCrew

At the height of Jenna Lyons’ stint at JCrew, it was impossible not to see her in any outfit and not want to imitate the look she put out. Her Met Gala look for 2012 was one such example: widely tried out by everyone else, we all looked like silly tryhards. Not everyone can be Jenna Lyons.

Kirsten Dunst in Rodarte

That same year, Kirsten Dunst wore this two-piece orange skirt suite dress by Rodarte. Depending on whom you spoke to, they other loved it or hated it. We loved it. Someone said she looked like a schoolmarm. In defense of this choice, we’ll say that Dunst does give off schoolmarm vibes, and it is for reason that we love it.

Rarely does it happen when the person is wearing the outfit, and it is equal to the outfit wearing the person. This was one moment where it all came together.

Blake Lively in Versace

Blake Lively is one of those actresses who play it safe: arrive in a shimmery gown and pose. Lively has an image to stick to (blonde bombshell) and while this choice occasionally ends up with naysayers calling her basic, it has worked well for over the years.

In 2018, with the theme Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination, Lively went all out with this dramatic extravaganza, looking like a beatific saint walking down (or up, in this case) the red carpet. It was the perfect look.

Kacey Musgraves in Moschino

In 2019, the theme was Camp, which again, lead to much confusion on the red carpet: some people tried very hard, some didn’t, but Kacey Musgraves in Moschino turned up at her Barbie best. A+ for Kacey Musgraves!

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