10 Celebrities Who Ignored the Met Gala Theme and Just Looked Hot — A History

Celebrities who straight up breezed past Met Gala themes

Imagine: you’ve got a fun new outfit in your wardrobe, and you’re desperate to bust it out. You’ve got the perfect event to debut it at — maybe your ex is there, maybe the new object of your affections, maybe there’ll be plenty of photo opportunities. Either way, you’re good to go until you find out there’s a theme. You’re left with your sexy dreams crushed, trying to figure out how you’ll thirst trap-ify a Shrek costume.

It’s a universal frustration, and celebrities are no exception. As we anticipate the 2023 Met Gala, we’re looking at relatable celebs who were brave enough to ignore the theme.

They may have ended up on worst-dressed lists, but they turned up the heat while doing so. Now, hats off to the heroes who didn’t wear capes because they were focused on looking hot.

A Lot of Dudes:

Kanye West, doing the least
Kanye West, doing the least at the Camp: Notes on Fashion 2019 Met Gala Image Credit: Getty/Dia Dipasupil

First, let’s hear it for the boys! It goes without saying that while LGBTQIA+ and female attendees regularly get shredded for their choices on the Met Gala red carpet, men dialling it in in black tuxes or zipper hoodies rarely get called out for fashion flops. Kanye West at the Camp: Notes on Fashion 2019 Met Gala is a case in point.

2022 Met Gala: Gilded Glamour, 2022

Hailey Bieber, Saint Laurent

Hailey Bieber in Saint Laurent at the 2022 Met Gala
Hailey Bieber letting her glazed donut skin do the talking, Image Credit: Getty/Mike Coppola

Bieber’s backless Saint Laurent look was inspired by a runway confection Jerry Hall wore at the label’s Spring/Summer 2002 show.

While Hall is an American icon, there was nothing notably gilded, nor American, about the dress or the designer. But as we’ve noted previously, the image of Bieber that sparked the Milk Bath nail trend will no doubt end up in the Smithsonian Portrait Institute, so she may have been playing the long game.  

HoYeon Jung 

How we look when someone tells us the theme is “Shrek” Image Credit: Getty/Theo Wargo

Squid Game” star HoYeon Jung wore a suede mini dress by Louis Vuitton to the 2022 Met Gala. It felt like more of a contemporary nod to 1960s go-go dancers than it did to the gilded age. Still, we loved her half-up twist and cascading mermaid locks, styled by Jenny Choo. And her beauty look — created by Nina Park using Chanel cosmetics — was inspired by the watercolours of American painter Joh Singer Sargent.

Nicola Peltz Beckham, Valentino

Nicola Peltz wearing Valentino at the 2022 Met Gala
Nicola Peltz Beckham breezed past the theme at the 2022 Met Gala. Image Credit: Getty/Dimitrios Kambouris

Nicola Peltz Beckham‘s “at the Met Gala we wear pink” Valentino moment brought drama. Still, there was nothing gilded or particularly American about her gown. Sure, it was a pretty feat of architecture, but it was not particularly on theme.

In America: The Lexicon of Fashion, 2021

Emma Chamberlain, Louis Vuitton

Emma Chamberlain attends the 2021 Met Gala in Louis Vuitton
Emma Chamberlain, an all American girl in a all Parisian label Image Credit: Getty/Theo Wargo

Proving you can slay the red carpet while ignoring the brief, Emma Chamberlain ended up on best-dressed lists everywhere in a Louis Vuitton minidress with diamond cut outs and a sculptural, asymmetric hem. Her beauty look was all Byredo, and her bob was a sleek nod to the 60s. There was nothing directly American about it; and we love that for her! 

Zoë Kravitz, Saint Laurent 

Zoe Kravitz enjoying a sparkling, see through moment on the 2021 Met Gala red carpet.
Zoë Kravitz causing stirring up controversy in Saint Laurent at the 2021 Met Gala. Image Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty

We would hate for a theme to deprive us of one of the sultriest looks to ever grace the Met Gala red carpet, so we’re thanking our lucky stars Kravitz ignored the brief and sashayed her way past thirsty photographers in her sheer metal mesh Saint Laurent gown with a matching thong. She referred to the hate she received for the look as “crazy” in an interview with Elle. We’re calling it “jealous”.

Camp: Notes on Fashion, 2019

Taylor Hill in Ralph Lauren

Taylor Hill wearing Ralph Lauren and breezing past the "camp" theme at the 2019 Met Gala
Don’t let a theme get between you and some good Ralph Lauren. Image Credit: Getty/Dimitrios Kambouris

Ralph Lauren doesn’t typically scream “camp” to us, and there was nothing camp about Taylor Hills 2019 Met Gala look. However, that doesn’t mean we weren’t sick with envy over her stunning old Hollywood hair style, Brooke Shields brows and feline flick. Go off Taylor.

Karlie Kloss, Gucci 

Twitter was not impressed with Karli Kloss, and she caught a lot of heat for her Gucci mini. Indeed, the supermodel caught so much heat she “opened up” on her YouTube channel about her “worst ever” Met Gala look. Sure, it was little prom queen-esque, but she would have been the cutest girl at the dance.

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, 2018

Gisele Bündchen in Versace 

Gisele Bundchen in Versace at the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination Met Gala
Short of Catholicism and imagination, but heavenly nonetheless. Image Credit: Getty/Jackson Lee

Arguably, Gisele Bündchen has a celestial body, so maybe this was on theme. 

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, 2011

Anna Wintour in Chanel 

Anna Wintour, ignoring the Alexander McQueen theme in Chanel
Anna Wintour missed the theme at her own party in Chanel. Image Credit: Getty/Kevin Mazur

If the host of the Met Gala wore Chanel to an Alexander McQueen-themed Met Gala, we don’t know how the other girlies on this list ever stood a chance. 

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