See every Met Gala theme since 1973

Only one event has the power to unite models, designers, musicians, actors and other A-listers: The Met Gala.

Otherwise known as the Costume Institute Benefit, the annual event is a who's who of fashion, with celebrities, athletes, politicians, influencers and more dressing to the nines (actually, make that the 20s) as they rub elbows at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Met Gala's dress codes complement the event's theme, derived from the Costume Institute's spring exhibit. For example, the 2024 event's dress code is "The Garden of Time," paired with the new exhibition, “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.”

Here's a look back at Met Gala themes over the years.

2023: ‘Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty

Fashion lovers paid tribute to Karl Lagerfeld, the iconic and controversial fashion designer who passed away at the age of 85 in 2019 at this Met Gala. Lagerfeld was most known for working with Chanel and Fendi and developing his own line. Stars paid homage to Choupette, the cat he left behind.

The 2023 Met Gala Celebrating
The 2023 Met Gala Celebrating

2022: In America: An Anthology of Fashion

The 2022 theme was a sequel to the 2021 event. “Gilded Glamour" celebrated the exhibit called "In America: An Anthology of Fashion."

Blake Lively at The 2022 Met Gala (Kevin Mazur/MG22 / Getty Images)
Blake Lively at The 2022 Met Gala (Kevin Mazur/MG22 / Getty Images)

2021: In America: A Lexicon of Fashion

The Met Gala typically takes place in May, but the 2021 event was scheduled for September after a hiatus due to the pandemic. The theme centered around modern American fashion as the Costume Institute marked its 75th anniversary.

Billie Eilish  (Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic)
Billie Eilish (Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic)

2019: Camp: Notes on Fashion

Writer and activist Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay “Notes on ‘Camp’” inspired the 2019 Met Gala theme, which drew out kitschy fashion, ironic and exaggerated styles.

The 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes On Fashion - Arrivals (John Shearer / Getty Images )
The 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes On Fashion - Arrivals (John Shearer / Getty Images )

2018: Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

In collaboration with the Vatican, the 2018 exhibit highlighted traditions of religious dress. Attendees wore religious-inspired outfits replete with halos and angel wings.

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala (Frazer Harrison / FilmMagic)
Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala (Frazer Harrison / FilmMagic)

2017: Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between

Rei Kawakubo, who is known for her fashion brand Comme des Garçons, was honored at the Met Gala in 2017. Celebrities showed up dressed to impress in stark silhouettes and frocks that brought the drama.

2016: Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology

Celebrities took creative license while interpreting this theme, listed as “tech white tie” on the invitation. Some opted for glamorous ensembles while others went for an edgier vibe.

Taylor Swift and Lupita Nyong'o  (FilmMagic, Getty Images)
Taylor Swift and Lupita Nyong'o (FilmMagic, Getty Images)

2015: China: Through the Looking Glass

Per The Met, the 2015 exhibition explored "the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion and how China has fueled the fashionable imagination for centuries."

Rihanna (Timothy A. Clary / AFP via Getty Images)
Rihanna (Timothy A. Clary / AFP via Getty Images)

2014: ‘Charles James: Beyond Fashion’

Designer Charles James was known for his elaborate ball gowns, per The Met, and was most popular in the 1950s. Thirty-six years after his death in 1978, he was honored at the 2014 Met Gala with the theme "Charles James: Beyond Fashion."

2013: Punk: Chaos to Couture

Madonna, Katy Perry, Kerry Washington and Vera Wang (Getty Images, AP)
Madonna, Katy Perry, Kerry Washington and Vera Wang (Getty Images, AP)

Punk took over the red carpet in 2013, with celebrities and fashionistas donning studded gowns, faux mohawks and other edgy looks in honor of the Met Gala theme.

2012: Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations

The Met Gala paid homage to not one, but two fashion designers in 2012: Miuccia Prada and the late Elsa Schiaparelli.

2011: ‘Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty’

After his death in 2010, Alexander McQueen's impact on the fashion industry was the focal point of the 2011 Met Gala.

Beyonce, Jay-Z, Michelle Williams, Kim and Kanye. (Getty Images)
Beyonce, Jay-Z, Michelle Williams, Kim and Kanye. (Getty Images)

2010: American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity

The Met Gala honored American women and their sense of style in 2019.

2009: The Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion

Models have long been designers' muses, so it seemed only natural that at least one of the Met Gala's themes would address their symbiotic relationship, as it did in 2009.

Ciara (Peter Kramer / AP)
Ciara (Peter Kramer / AP)

2008: Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy

Met Gala guests found chic ways to incorporate superhero costume elements into their ensembles for this fun theme.

The Metropolitan Museum Of Art Costume Institute Annual Gala - Arrivals (Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images)
The Metropolitan Museum Of Art Costume Institute Annual Gala - Arrivals (Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images)

2007: ​​Poiret: King of Fashion

The late fashion designer Paul Poiret, who died in 1944, was celebrated at the 2007 Met Gala.

MET Costume Institute Benefit Gala Presents
MET Costume Institute Benefit Gala Presents

2006: ‘Anglomania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion’

British fashion had a moment at the 2006 event. Per The Met, the exhibit examined "aspects of English culture that continue to capture the imaginations of Europeans and Americans, among them the class system, sport, royalty, pageantry, eccentricity, the gentleman, and the country garden."

MET Presents Anglomania: The Costume Institute Benefit Gala (Evan Agostini / Getty Images)
MET Presents Anglomania: The Costume Institute Benefit Gala (Evan Agostini / Getty Images)

2005: The House of Chanel

Chanel? Enough said.

LiL Kim, Jessica Simpson, Marilyn Manson and Dita Von Teese (Getty Images)
LiL Kim, Jessica Simpson, Marilyn Manson and Dita Von Teese (Getty Images)

2004: ‘Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century’

The theme in 2004 focused on "dress and its aesthetic interplay with art, furniture, and the broader decorative arts between 1750 and 1789," per The Met.

2003: ‘Goddess: The Classical Mode’

Activate goddess mode. The event's theme was relatively straightforward in 2003, with many guests opting for slinky styles that screamed "goddess."

2003 Met Gala (Getty Images)
2003 Met Gala (Getty Images)

2001: Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years

Few first ladies have had more influence on fashion than Jacqueline Kennedy. She was honored in 2001 as Met Gala attendees dressed in a range of elegant styles.

Hillary Clinton  (Evan Agostini / Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton (Evan Agostini / Getty Images)

1999: Rock Style

Rock fashion has its own edgy look. Some attendees took a more casual approach to dressing for the 1999 Met Gala, as a result.

Stella McCartney and Liv Tyler (Mitchell Gerber / Corbis / VCG via Getty Images)
Stella McCartney and Liv Tyler (Mitchell Gerber / Corbis / VCG via Getty Images)

1998: ‘Cubism and Fashion’

Art and fashion are often intertwined, which the 1998 Met Gala acknowledged with the theme "Cubism and Fashion."

Sigourney Weaver At The Metropolitan Museum Of Art For The 50Th Anniversary (Robin Platzer / Getty Images)
Sigourney Weaver At The Metropolitan Museum Of Art For The 50Th Anniversary (Robin Platzer / Getty Images)

1997: Gianni Versace'

Gianni Versace's career was highlighted at the Met Gala just months after he was murdered. Today, the Versace legacy is still going strong.

Madonna, Donatella Versace and Elton John  (Richard Corkery / NY Daily News via Getty Images)
Madonna, Donatella Versace and Elton John (Richard Corkery / NY Daily News via Getty Images)

1996: ‘Christian Dior’

Say it after us: "J'adore Dior." Designer Christian Dior's gorgeous designs were celebrated at the 1996 event.

Princess Diana at the Met Gala (NY Daily News via Getty Images)
Princess Diana at the Met Gala (NY Daily News via Getty Images)

1995: Haute Couture

Haute couture, which translates to "high fashion," was on full display at the 1995 Met Gala and attendees dressed in varying levels of fancy frocks.

1995 Costume Institute Gala at the Met (Penske Media via Getty Images)
1995 Costume Institute Gala at the Met (Penske Media via Getty Images)

1994: Orientalism: Visions of the East in Western dress

East meets West! In 1994, the event committee dreamed up a theme — "Orientalism: Visions of the East in Western Dress" — that united eastern and western styles.

Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala Exhibition of
Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala Exhibition of

1993: Diana Vreeland: Immoderate Style

After former Vogue editor and Costume Institute consultant Diana Vreeland's death, the event honored her contributions to the Met Gala with the theme "Diana Vreeland: Immoderate Style" in 1993.

John Galliano (Getty Images)
John Galliano (Getty Images)

1992: Fashion and History: A Dialogue

Much was left up to interpretation with this theme, which explored the “fashions of radically different historical periods.”

1992 Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala (Images Press / Getty Images)
1992 Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala (Images Press / Getty Images)

1990: Théâtre de la Mode — Fashion Dolls: The Survival of Haute Couture

The Met Gala's 1990 theme had quite the poetic lilt to it and focused on high fashion: "Théâtre de la Mode — Fashion Dolls: The Survival of Haute Couture."

Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute 1990 Gala (WWD / Penske Media via Getty Images)
Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute 1990 Gala (WWD / Penske Media via Getty Images)

1989: The Age of Napoleon: Costume from Revolution to Empire, 1789–1815

Napoleon Bonaparte's influence on fashion was on display at the 1989 Met Gala, where guests were urged to wear frocks inspired by the period between 1789 and 1815.

Anna Wintour (Ron Galella Collection via Getty)
Anna Wintour (Ron Galella Collection via Getty)

1988: From Queen to Empress: Victorian Dress 1837–1877

Who hasn't dreamed of dressing like a queen? Met Gala attendees got their opportunity to do just that in 1988 when the event honed in on Victorian era attire, most specifically on the period between 1837 to 1877.

Gina Lollobrigida (Ron Galella Collection via Getty)
Gina Lollobrigida (Ron Galella Collection via Getty)

1987: A Tribute to Diana Vreeland

After working for Vogue, Diana Vreeland joined the Costume Institute’s event committee in 1972 and helped take the Met Gala up a notch per Architectural Digest. In 1987, the event honored Vreeland while it hosted an exhibit called "In Style: Celebrating Fifty Years of the Costume Institute."

Donald Trump, Ivana Trump, Barbara Walters and Merv Adelson (Getty Images)
Donald Trump, Ivana Trump, Barbara Walters and Merv Adelson (Getty Images)

1986: Dance

Traditionally, dancers have worn everything from elaborate costumes to toned down leotards. Met Gala guests were left to interpret the theme in 1986 and showed up dressed to impress.

Diane von Furstenberg  (Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Diane von Furstenberg (Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

1985: Costumes of Royal India

The country's fashions were put in the spotlight in 1985 when the Met Gala highlighted costumes of royal India.

Bob Mackie, Cher (Rose Hartman / Getty Images)
Bob Mackie, Cher (Rose Hartman / Getty Images)

1984: Man and the Horse

Equestrians are stylish in their own right, but they don't necessarily scream "glamour." Nonetheless, the 1984 Met Gala took a more casual approach, focusing on equestrian attire.

Estee Lauder and family (Images Press / Getty Images)
Estee Lauder and family (Images Press / Getty Images)

1983: Yves Saint Laurent: 25 Years of Design

Fashion A-Listers celebrated 25 years of Yves Saint Laurent's designs at the 1983 soirée.

Fran Lebowitz  (Paul Bruinooge / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Fran Lebowitz (Paul Bruinooge / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

1982: La Belle Époque

La Belle Époque, a period of European history that started in the late 19th century, was the theme du jour in 1982 at the Met Gala.

Hugo, Holzer, & Warhol At The Met Gala (Sonia Moskowitz / Getty Images)
Hugo, Holzer, & Warhol At The Met Gala (Sonia Moskowitz / Getty Images)

1981: The 18th Century Woman

How do you pack an entire century of fashion into one night? The Met Gala pulled it off with panache in 1981. A publication from the Met describes the theme and highlights the "opulence, charm, wit, intelligence" that women exhibited in the 18th century.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala
Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala

1980: The Manchu Dragon: Costumes of China, the Ch’ing Dynasty

Between 1644 and 1912, the Manchus ruled China during the Ch’ing dynasty, and the Met Gala encouraged attendees to dress in fashions inspired by this time in 1980. A publication from The Met highlighted Manchu dragon robes, ecclesiastical robes, theater costumes and more.

Metropolitan Museum of Art 100th Year B-day Benefit (WWD / Penske Media via Getty Images)
Metropolitan Museum of Art 100th Year B-day Benefit (WWD / Penske Media via Getty Images)

1979: Fashions of the Hapsburg Era: Austria-Hungary

The 1979 Met Gala event was a who's who of fashion and challenged attendees to dress in ensembles reminiscent of the Hapsburg Era.

Jackie Onassis (Ron Galella Collection via Getty)
Jackie Onassis (Ron Galella Collection via Getty)

1978: Diaghilev: Costumes and Designs of the Ballets Russes

Just two years after the "Glory of Russian Costume" theme, the Met Gala looked to Russia again with its 1978 theme, "Diaghilev: Costumes and Designs of the Ballets Russes." The Ballets Russes was a well-known ballet company in the early 20th century, which ceased to operate in 1929.

Halston, Diana Ross and Steve Rubell (WWD / Penske Media via Getty Images)
Halston, Diana Ross and Steve Rubell (WWD / Penske Media via Getty Images)

1977: Vanity Fair: A Treasure Trove

Per The Washington Post, the 1977 event featured items from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s own collection.

Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan (Ron Galella Collection via Getty)
Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan (Ron Galella Collection via Getty)

1976: The Glory of Russian Costume

Met Gala attendees got a blast from fashion's past in 1976 as they explored the following theme: "The Glory of Russian Costume." The exhibition had clothes on display that, until then, hadn't been seen outside the Soviet Union.

Imelda Marcos and Christina Ford  (Ron Galella Collection via Getty)
Imelda Marcos and Christina Ford (Ron Galella Collection via Getty)

1975: American Women of Style

The Met Gala put American women's passion for fashion in the spotlight in 1975.

American Women of Style exhibit (WWD / Penske Media via Getty Images)
American Women of Style exhibit (WWD / Penske Media via Getty Images)

1974: Romantic and Glamorous Hollywood Design

Is there anything more romantic than the Old Hollywood aesthetic? We think not, and the Met Gala committee seemed to agree in 1974 when it celebrated the glamour of Hollywood.

Wallis Simpson And Mildred Hilson Arrive At The Met (TPLP / Getty Images)
Wallis Simpson And Mildred Hilson Arrive At The Met (TPLP / Getty Images)

December 1973: The 10s, the 20s, the 30s: Inventive Clothes

Two Met Galas in one year? Yep, 1973 was a special year. The second event focused on the following theme: "The 10s, the 20s, the 30s: Inventive Clothes."

Halston and Baby Jane Holzer (Ron Galella Collection via Getty)
Halston and Baby Jane Holzer (Ron Galella Collection via Getty)

March 1973: The World of Balenciaga

The Met Gala began in 1948, but got its first theme in 1973, thanks to Vreeland. "The World of Balenciaga" highlighted the designs of Cristóbal Balenciaga.

Cristobal Balenciaga  exhibit (WWD / Penske Media via Getty Images)
Cristobal Balenciaga exhibit (WWD / Penske Media via Getty Images)

This article was originally published on TODAY.com