The Met Gala is basically the Oscars of the fashion world. Each year, the rich and famous gather at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and show off their most impressive looks. Most years, the event has a quirky or unusual theme that makes the dress code a lot more outlandish than your usual formalwear. Vogue editor Anna Wintour orchestrates the whole night, with the help of two or three lucky celebs who she hand-picks to be her co-hosts. It's the kind of event that we "normal folk" could only dream of attending... But hey, at least we get to look at the photos each year!
2018's somewhat controversial Met Gala theme was "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination." This led to all manners of extravagant outfits being paraded up and down the Red Carpet, ranging from nun-themed ensembles to ornate religious iconography. Some of the guests managed to pull the theme off with aplomb; others either ignored it entirely or had a bit of a fashion disaster. Some looks were divisive, some were universally praised, and others were relegated to the bottom of the fashion scrapheap. Here's what some of the world's fashion critics had to say about the best and worst Met Gala styles this year.
20 Best: Rihanna — "Reigning Goddess of the Met Gala Red Carpet"
As one of Anna Wintour's selected co-hosts for this year's Met Ball, Rihanna faced a lot of pressure to totally slay the style game on the red carpet. Luckily, The Hollywood Reporter's Booth Moore — and most of the world, to be honest — decided that she did just that. RiRi donned a sparkling, jewel-encrusted mini-dress by the designer John Galliano, sporting a matching coat and papal hat to complete the look.
As if that wasn't enough, she also wore a vintage Cartier pendant around her neck which dated from 1934. Impressive stuff!
Commenting on the look, Moore stated that Rihanna totally outdid all of the competition. She potentially courted controversy, having "stuck it to the patriarchal Catholic church by dressing as the female leader it's never had", but the risk was worth the pay-off. She was the "reigning goddess of the Met Gala Red Carpet", quite literally dazzling us all into submission.
It wasn't just Moore that adored RiRi's look: it received glowing praise from pretty much all sides. Time, alongside their positive review of the pop star's look, also highlighted her dedication to the night's theme. The papal hat that Rihanna wore was apparently borrowed from an actual cardinal — Cardinal Timothy Dolan — for the occasion. Now, that's going the extra mile!
19 Worst: Amal Clooney — "Faded Into The Background"
Alongside Rihanna and Donatella Versace, the prestigious human rights lawyer and activist Amal Clooney was the third person to co-chair this year's Met Gala. While this led to the same heightened expectations surrounding her outfit that Rihanna received, some critics felt that Clooney didn't quite hit the mark with her final look. Donning a Richard Quinn skirt, corset and cigarette-pant ensemble, Amal obviously looked totally stunning. However, Vanessa Friedman of the New York Times felt that the outfit was underwhelming compared to those of Clooney's fellow guests.
Friedman freely admitted in her review that "in another context", Clooney's look would have definitely been "newsworthy". However, she felt that it failed to attract attention amongst a crowd of weird, wonderful, and often unorthodox looks on the night. The outfit — designed by the same Richard Quinn whose fashion show in London this year was attended by the Queen, as the NYT highlights — merely "faded into the background".
Regardless of whether Friedman felt that Clooney's ensemble shone on the night or not, the reasoning and meaning behind it is definitely something to be celebrated. According to Quinn, Clooney chose to wear trousers as part of the look as "a statement to advocate female empowerment and modern religion." In the wake of the #MeToo scandal, the world of the rich and famous needs all of the feminist empowerment it can get.
18 Best: Blake Lively — "Most Regal In Red"
To be honest, Blake Lively could have shown up to the Met Gala in three trash bags that had been taped together and she'd still have looked gorgeous. However, she chose to push the boat out a little bit more than that and rocked up in this stunning Versace gown. Featuring a deep crimson base adorned with glittering jewels and a lengthy train, the dress took everyone's breath away — including the writers at Allure.
Molly Horan and Chelsea Stone assigned Lively the prize of the Most Regal Met Gala 2018 attendee, and I doubt many people would question that.
Lively looked positively queenly at all times and had the poise and grace to successfully manage that enormous train.
That in itself is something to celebrate! The gown itself took a whopping 600 hours to make, with the result being what Lively herself called her "favorite dress ever". You'd hope so after all of the time and effort that went into it!
While Lively's husband Ryan Reynolds didn't attend the Gala this year, the actress still paid tribute to him in her own unique way. According to Entertainment Tonight, the purse that she carried throughout the night was adorned with the family name, Blake and Ryan's initials, and those of their two children. Could these guys get any more adorable?
17 Worst: Katy Perry — "A Step Too Far For Fashion"
Katy Perry isn't exactly known for making understated fashion statements, and her ensemble at this year's Met Gala was no exception. While ostentatious is usually the order of the day at this event, Cosmopolitan's The Fug Girls believed that Katy went a bit too far this time around. While her gold Versace dress and matching thigh-high boots weren't too out there, her matching angel wings tipped the outfit way, way over the line of practicality. Perry could barely walk thanks to the feathery accessories adorning her back, and it's honestly a miracle that she didn't end up falling flat on her face.
While Perry's wings didn't cause the singer herself any harm, she very nearly accidentally injured a stylist on her way to the event! According to Evening Standard, Katy found it a bit difficult to keep her outfit under control, and it was one of her companions who suffered! The poor woman had to quickly dive out of the way to avoid getting a slap from this six-foot accessory. This wasn't the only near-disaster that Perry endured on the night: she almost didn't make it to the event after her car broke down! The world very nearly didn't get to see those angel wings at all.
16 Best: Zendaya — "Caused Quite A Stir"
While a few stars went for Joan of Arc-inspired looks at this year's Met Gala, Zendaya is the one who totally nailed it. Her Versace silver chainmail dress was paired with a newly cropped and dyed hairdo — yep, as Lauren Valenti for Vogue reported, that wasn't a wig! The actress actually did chop off her locks and dye them red for the occasion, with her stylist confirming that this was a deliberate homage to Joan herself.
The new look may be a departure from her old style, but it kinda suits her!
In general, Valenti had nothing but positive things to say about Zendaya's Met Gala look. She described the chainmail dress as "powerful", an accurate summary of a gown that looks like it could slay both on the runway and in battle. The "burnt crimson" hue of Zendaya's new hairdo is also on-trend: as Valenti notes, the color has been used a lot in the fashion industry lately, with many calling it "the new platinum blonde". The actress clearly had her finger on the fashion pulse when she was orchestrating her look! The end result impressed us all, and probably sent the fashion-loving medievalists of the world into a total frenzy.
15 Worst: Sarah Jessica Parker — "Bizarre and Over-The-Top"
While Sarah Jessica Parker's Met Ball outfit certainly fits the "Heavenly Bodies" theme, it maybe took the opulence of the event a bit too far. It's hard to know exactly where to look, to be honest! Is it the gold Dolce and Gabbana gown and matching train, with its deep red heart detailing? Or maybe the ornate headpiece, a cross between a lantern and a birdcage? While it's undoubtedly an impressive fashion statement worthy of SJP's immaculate taste, if minimalism is your thing, this outfit probably isn't for you.
Unfortunately, the entire ensemble didn't quite click for the Daily Mail's online fashion reporters. While they admit that Parker did look "beautiful" on the night, they claim that "her bizarre and over-the-top headdress meant that few eyes were able to remain on the ensemble for long." Harsh, perhaps, but not entirely unwarranted. As Harper's Bazaar reported, the headpiece contained a miniature nativity scene alongside its jeweled detailing. There really was a lot going on up there! Still, not everyone found her outfit to be "too much". Harper's reporter Lauren Fisher claimed that "SJP continues to master the art of the themed red carpet". Love it or loathe it, Parker's look certainly got everyone talking — and maybe that was her aim all along!
14 Best: Jared Leto and Lana Del Rey — "Ethereal Beings"
Who doesn't love a good couples' Met Gala costume? Well, okay, a POTENTIAL couple - nobody quite knows what's going on with Lana Del Rey and Jared Leto. Are they dating? Are they just friends who decided to coordinate their outfits and walk in together? To be honest, we wouldn't put anything past them. Whatever the case, they turned plenty of heads when they arrived at the Gala, and for all the right reasons.
One person who was impressed by Del Rey and Leto's getup was Time Magazine's Cady Lang, who hailed their outfits the "Best Group Look" of the night.
They both opted for dramatic attire, to say the least! Leto went for what Lang calls a "Baroque Jesus" look, with his long hair and beard definitely giving him a resemblance to the Son of God. He wore head-to-toe Gucci, finishing the ensemble with a golden crown.
Del Rey also sported garments from the same designer, opting for a "sacred heart" —themed gown that featured model daggers "piercing her heart". Her white dress was adorned with gold detailing, while a feathered head-piece sat atop her flowing locks. According to Lang, the pair looked like "ethereal beings". To be honest, it's hard to disagree with that assessment.
13 Worst: Kate Moss — "The Dress Was Far Too Plain"
One of the most anticipated guests at this year's Met Gala was British model Kate Moss. As Harper's Bazaar reported, this was Moss' first Gala in almost a decade! According to Marie Claire, this was due to visa issues that prevented her from returning to the States during this time. Whatever her reason for staying away, all eyes were on the outfit that would mark her triumphant Met Gala return.
Sadly, some spectators were left a bit disappointed by Moss' somewhat understated outfit. The Daily Mirror's 3 AM column actually included the model amongst their worst-dressed guests of the night! Kate opted for a classic Little Black Dress from Yves Saint Laurent with feathered detailing on the neckline, seemingly ignoring the "Heavenly Bodies" theme completely. Unless the black feathers were supposed to resemble a "fallen angel" of some sort? It seems a bit tenuous, to say the least...
To the Mirror, the dress was "far too plain" for the event in question. In their eyes, Moss should have opted for something more in line with the "opulence and imagination" associated with the Met Gala. However, they did acknowledge that Kate looked "beautiful" anyway. To be honest, it'd be difficult for her to make any outfit look bad, whether it's "Heavenly Bodies" — related or not.
12 Best: Nicki Minaj — "Sultry Dress and Bejewelled Headpiece"
If there's one thing about Nicki Minaj at the Met Gala that got everyone talking, it certainly wasn't her outfit! As Billboard reported, she was spotted in conversation with her long-time nemesis, Cardi B, but things looked considerably warmer between the two than previous events would suggest. Cardi later stated that her feud with Nicki had largely been played up by the media and that their Met Gala chat was a part of healing the "issue" between them. Interesting! Something tells us we haven't heard the last of this beef and potential reconciliation...
Anyway, back to Nicki's stunning Oscar De La Renta gown.
The rapper certainly turned heads on her way into the event with her bright red dress, and many commentators were living for it.
Time Magazine praised her "sultry dress and bejeweled headpiece", revealing that Nicki's aim had been to play to the more "sinful" side of the Gala's theme. Apparently, this was a subtle link to her upcoming new album, Queen. Minaj claimed that she's going to be playing the "bad guy" more in her music, hence her sinful attire at the ball. We're intrigued! Whatever her motivations for choosing her final outfit, she undoubtedly pulled the look off with aplomb.
11 Worst: Kim Kardashian-West — "A Cross Between A Genie and An Oscars Award"
While this may be one of the more controversial entries on this list, it's true that not everyone was a fan of style icon Kim Kardashian-West's gold ensemble at this year's Met Gala. Admittedly, the dress did show off her trademark curves pretty well, and the incorporation of crosses into its design definitely fits the "Heavenly Bodies" theme. However, some critics felt that it was a lazy and "safe" choice for Kim compared to some of the more outlandish fashion statements of the evening.
Writing for the Daily O, Radhika Bhalla was particularly harsh regarding Kardashian-West's attire. She described it as "a cross between a genie and an Oscars award", obviously focusing on the overwhelming amount of gold that Kim sported. Bhalla also suggested that the dress was "unimaginative at best", an unusual move for a celeb who often gets quite creative (and quite nude) for her personal photoshoots and Instagram photos.
Not everyone felt that Kim's dress was lacking, however. As Cosmopolitan reported, some of her fans claimed that her look was a carefully crafted homage to the Holy Grail, the chalice that Jesus is said to have sipped from at the Last Supper. The Grail is often depicted as having the same golden sheen as Kim's dress. Coincidence? Fashion commentators think so! Kardashian fans think not! It looks like the jury is still out on this one.
10 Best: Chadwick Boseman — "Isn't Afraid Of Taking A Style Risk"
Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman has shot to new levels of fame following the release of his solo Marvel movie and Avengers: Infinity War this year. As People notes, he gained a reputation for being a fashion-forward guy on the press tour for Black Panther, so we were all excited to see what kind of look he would pull out for the Met Ball. Would he go for a more understated outfit, or fully embrace the "Heavenly Bodies" them? Would he continue to impress with his fashion sense, as he has for the past six months?
For their part, the fashion editors at People certainly weren't disappointed — they described Boseman's Atelier Versace look as leaving them "thrilled", praising its "baroque swirls and tasseled cape".
In their eyes, the actor "isn't afraid of taking a style risk", and it definitely paid off for him this time around. It's rarer for male celebrities to stick to the theme of each Gala, but Boseman did so — and he nailed it. Having four very visible ornate golden crosses on the front of your cape certainly gets the message across! His sparkling gold Christian Louboutin loafers were also a joy to behold, adding another splash of color to his predominantly cream ensemble. Boseman's entire outfit was well-thought-out, and it showed.
9 Worst: Kylie Jenner — "Left Viewers Unimpressed"
It turns out Kim wasn't the only member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan who left fashion fans disappointed at this year's Met Gala. While Kylie Jenner warmed all of our hearts with her adorable show of affection for baby daddy Travis Scott, her outfit led to many observers feeling left out in the cold. The Independent included the young star among their worst-dressed of the night, stating that her off-theme "secular ensemble" failed to turn many heads. Wearing a black Alexander Wang gown and bejeweled sunglasses, she apparently "left viewers unimpressed".
Even fashion magazine Vogue was pretty muted in its assessment of Kylie's outfit, describing the dress as "closer to the beauty mogul's everyday style" than her previous Met Gala looks. It gave very little praise, instead choosing to play up the fact that Jenner didn't stray too far from her "usual wardrobe". Considering the Met Gala is all about glitz, glamour, and eccentricity, that's hardly a compliment. To be fair, though, it was her first major red-carpet appearance since giving birth to baby Stormi. Give the girl a break! If she did want to dress down somewhat at what Vogue calls "one of the year's most frantic" events, then that's her prerogative.
8 Best: Ariana Grande — "Our Jaws Dropped"
This year's Met Gala was a pretty poignant night for Ariana Grande. As Harper's Bazaar reported, it was the young star's first red carpet appearance since the Manchester Bombings almost a year ago. 23 of Grande's fans lost her lives in that shocking event, so the singer understandably took some time away from the spotlight. She's back now, though, and blew us all away at her first ever Gala.
Sarah Siegel of PopSugar was a particular fan of Grande's look.
Ariana's was one of the most overtly-on theme outfits of the night: what could represent "Heavenly Bodies" more than wearing a dress printed with snippets from Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling design?
Siegel states that "our jaws dropped" when Grande came floating into the Gala, and it's not a surprise. That Vera Wang gown is pretty breathtaking, to say the least!
Siegel was also a fan of Grande wearing her hair in her signature high ponytail. The singer always remembers her style roots, even if she's at the most prestigious fashion event of the year! She accessorized with a sheer bow that Siegel favorably compared to a "Renaissance headpiece." Again, Grande seemed to be sticking fast to the night's theme — and it paid off!
7 Worst: Selena Gomez — "Her Makeup Artist Clearly [Dislikes] Her"
Selena Gomez seemed to have a bit of a bronzer and fake tan disaster at this year's Met Gala. Many commentators picked up on the odd hue that the singer was emitting, including Babe's Ari Bines. Bines boldly stated that Gomez' "makeup artist clearly hates her"! While this may be a bit strong, the artist in question really should have laid off on the orange. Even Gomez herself seemingly realized that her look fell flat: as People reported, she posted a video on Instagram after the Gala that jokingly showed her running away from her "pictures from Met". Poor Selena!
Unfortunately, it wasn't just Gomez' beauty look that set tongues wagging. Her angelic white dress was also a miss with commentators, with Babe branding it a "themeless maternity dress." Presumably, they didn't mean that literally, unless there's something Selena isn't telling us! Harper's Bazaar reported that the piece was "nightgown inspired", which perhaps wasn't the best choice for such a formal event. There's no denying that it was beautifully made, though: the gown was constructed from vintage silk and hand-made lace. A quote in Gomez' handwriting was also reportedly sewn onto one of its ribbons! That has to be the ultimate exercise in giving a dress a personal touch.
6 Best: Kate Bosworth — "Beautiful In This Catholic Bride Look"
In a move that's sure to inspire brides-to-be everywhere, Kate Bosworth brought her own brand of wedding couture to this year's Met Gala. The actress practically floated into the room in her Oscar De La Renta gown, bringing some innocent bridal grace to the event. What could be more Catholic than that?
As Harper's Bazaar noted, De La Renta was actually the fashion house that designed Bosworth's actual wedding dress back in 2013; she clearly has a taste for this prestigious brand, and we can see why!
Harper's did pick up on the subtle differences between the two dresses, however. Bosworth's real-life wedding dress was an "unembellished", "simple and elegant" affair. In contrast, her Met Gala gown was littered with gold detailing and gave off some serious "gothic romance" vibes.
Bosworth's Gala look gained her much praise from commentators and fans alike, with the fashion team at Harper's being particularly enamored with her style. Junior fashion editor Caroline Tran branded Bosworth "so beautiful in this Catholic bridal look", while fellow writer Natasha Harding added that the actress "totally stole the show". Harding particularly praised the gown's delicate train and scalloped veil, calling the two items "a match made in heaven."
5 Worst: Tom Brady — "Magician" Or "Comic Book Villain"?
To give NFL star Tom Brady some credit, his Met Gala look was a lot more intricate and detailed than those of his fellow male attendees. Rather than opting for a simple suit-and-tie combo, Brady sported a Versace ensemble that included gold detailing on the lapels of his jacket. It may not sound like a lot, but hey, it's better than nothing!
Unfortunately, many of Brady's fans didn't see things that way. While random Twitter users aren't exactly official "fashion critics", they sure seem to think they are, as poor Tom found out. As Men's Health reported, many people mocked his choice of jacket for seeming to resemble all manner of weird and wonderful costumes. Some fans joked that he looked like a magician; others thought he looked more like the villain in a spy thriller or a superhero movie.
According to USA Today, even former Patriots player Drew Briscoe mocked Brady, stating that "it looked like he lost a bet or something." Brady then tried to shift the blame by saying that it was his wife, Gisele Bundchen, who picked out the offending item of clothing. To be honest, it seems like a big deal was made out of nothing here. Compared to some of the night's outfits, Brady's look was incredibly tame!
4 Best: Gigi and Bella Hadid — "In Sync As Usual"
Sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid are experts at slaying us with in-sync, on-trend red carpet looks. This year's Met Gala was no exception! Despite rumors that she's reunited with her ex-boyfriend Zayn Malik, Gigi rocked up to the event alone. Vogue praised her Versace gown, a dramatic piece that was "bedazzled" to give it a feathered effect — or, as the magazine noted, to look like an "angel's wings"! Way to hit the "Heavenly Bodies" theme!
Vogue interpreted the gown as being more "saintly" than some of the night's other outfits — including that of Gigi's sister, Bella!
In contrast to Gigi's angelic look, Bella opted for a darker, edgier ensemble. She paired a Chrome Hearts latex corset with a pretty dramatic lacy black cape, giving us definite "sinner" vibes. Was this contrast between the sisters planned, or just a happy coincidence? It's difficult to know! However, one thing that's certain is that they both garnered a lot of praise for their unique outfits on the night. Elle highlighted the on-theme relevance of Gigi's stained-glass-like front panel in her gown, while Glamour praised Bella for being able to cart around her ten-pound veil all night. Yep, that's right: she had a TEN POUND VEIL sewed to her head. That's some extreme dedication to fashion right there.
3 Worst: Miley Cyrus — "Pretty Basic"
The word "basic" isn't usually something you'd associate with Miley Cyrus' sense of style — or with Miley Cyrus at all! However, this is the criticism that the New York Post leveled at the singer after being disappointed with her Met Gala outfit. The website questioned where Miley's "wild-child pop provocateur" persona had gone, and called her off-theme Stella McCartney gown "depressingly basic". To be fair, it was a pretty simple dress compared to some of the outfits of the night — but Cyrus still looked stunning wearing it!
As Elle reported, this was Cyrus' first Met Gala appearance in three years, meaning some observers may have expected her to come back with a bit more of a bang. Then again, her choice of color scheme maybe shouldn't have been much of a surprise: the singer has worn black to all three Gala events that she's attended. This time around, she did include a small reference to the "Heavenly Bodies", wearing cross earrings and a cross choker. Still, it was an understated ensemble from an artist who was once notorious for her outlandish sense of style and often provocative fashion choices. Everyone's taste in garments changes over time, though - maybe this new, slinkier Miley is here to stay, at least for a little while!
2 Best: Amanda Seyfried — "A Gown Fit For A Glowing Goddess"
If there was one star that showed up to this year's Met Gala looking like an actual goddess, it was Amanda Seyfried. She basically transcended the "Heavenly Bodies" theme and became a particularly fashion-forward angel herself. Numerous commentators gushed over the actress' stunning outfit, with PopSugar leading the crowd of newly-ardent Seyfried devotees. Fashion reporter Kelsey Garcia called Amanda's dress "a flowing gown fit for a glowing goddess", and stated that the actress resembled a "true Shakespearean heroine."
Seyfried's Renaissance-inspired Prada dress didn't just look incredible, it also incorporated numerous tiny details that drew it ever closer to the "Heavenly Bodies" theme.
For one, as PopSugar reports, the shade of yellow used in the gown is the exact color of the flag of Vatican City - the official home of Catholicism. Seyfried's ornate tiara gave us definite "Kingdom of Heaven" vibes, and her simple yet gorgeous makeup look made her angelic eyes pop. What more could you want from a Met Gala look, really?
Adorably, Seyfried didn't just see the Gala as a chance to show off her impeccable sense of style. She also made it into a super-cute date night with her husband, Thomas Sadoski! According to StyleCaster, the couple engaged in some serious PDA throughout the night, and couldn't have looked much happier if they tried. Relationship goals right there!
1 Worst: Shailene Woodley — "Ill-Fitting Tin Man Costume"
It's hard not to feel a bit sorry for Shailene Woodley following her 2018 Met Gala appearance. In a way, her look was always doomed to feature on the "not" rather than "hot" lists from the night. She aimed for the same Joan of Arc theme that Zendaya absolutely nailed, and was always going to be unfavorably compared to her fellow actress' Versace masterpiece. Woodley basically lived everyone's nightmare of showing up at a party wearing the same dress as somebody else.
However, even if Zendaya had chosen a different angle of the "Heavenly Bodies" theme to pursue, we're not sure Shailene's look would have fared much better. Critics received it with lukewarm praise at best, and harsh criticism at worst. In the latter camp were the fashion team at Flare, who couldn't find anything particularly good to say about Woodley's ensemble. Her dress was described as an "ill-fitting Tin Man costume", while her "fringe job" was also deemed a "hot mess". The Daily Mirror agreed with this assessment, noting that Woodley's Ralph Lauren look was actually better suited to the "Manus x Machina" Gala theme from 2016. For a dress that took 50 hours to construct, this metallic masterpiece proved to be too dull for the Gala on the night.
References: The Hollywood Reporter; Time; The New York Times; Allure; Entertainment Tonight; Cosmopolitan; Evening Standard; Vogue; Daily Mail; Harper's Bazaar; Time; The Daily Mirror; Harper's Bazaar; Marie Claire; Time; Billboard; Daily O; Cosmopolitan; People; Vogue; The Independent; PopSugar; Harper's Bazaar; Babe; People; Harper's Bazaar; Harper's Bazaar; Harper's Bazaar; USA Today; Men's Health; Vogue; Elle; Glamour; New York Post; Elle; PopSugar; StyleCaster; Flare; The Daily Mirror