Now & Then: The Met Ball’s Most Memorable Dresses

Take a look at some of the Met Ball’s most memorable looks.

Last night’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala (or the Met Ball, as it’s popularly known) is known as the event of the season for NYC’s fashion brigade. Along with the Oscars and Cannes film festival it’s one of high fashion’s most glamorous nights of the year with every photogenic fashion designer, model and starlet vying for the title of wearing the evening’s most photographed outfit.

The event has been an annual occurrence since 1948, when the Costume Institute was founded at the Met. It started as a rather dull affair until the legendary Diana Vreeland took over and injected the parties with their now signature flamboyance and flair.

Every year the gala is themed in accordance to an exhibit at the museum, this year is Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations. It’s a theoretical “discussion” between the late designer Elsa Schiaparelli, and Miuccia Prada. You can count on lots of the the shocking pink invented by Schiaparelli and plenty of Prada.

Take a look back at some of the most unforgettable looks from recent years:

Diana Princess of Wales & Liz Tilberis, 1996

When Princess Diana went to the Met Ball in 1996, her stunning navy blue silk sheath with black lace detailing was a marked departure from her more demure eveningwear. The dress was John Galliano’s first creation as creative director at Dior.

Sarah Jessica Parker with Alexander McQueen, 2006

In  2006, Sarah Jessica Parker celebrated the opening of the Anglomania: Tradition and Transgression exhibit in British Fashion by wearing a strapless gown made with layers of tulle and tartan by UK designer, Alexander McQueen.

Anna Wintour in Chanel couture, 2008

If you thought Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief was powerful enough, note Queen of the Met Gala herself, Anna Wintour harnessing the superhero power of Chanel couture for the Met’s Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy theme in 2008.

Model muse Kate Moss, 2009

It was fitting that Kate Moss, arguably the decade’s most famous model, was the night’s main attraction for the opening of the Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion exhibition in 2009. Moss wowed in a gold lamé dress by her designer date for the evening, Marc Jacobs. She accessorized with a matching pair of YSL Tribute’s and a eye-catching turban by British millinery star Stephen Jones.

Livia Firth with husband, Colin Firth 2011

To celebrate the groundbreaking Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibit in 2011 eco fashion pioneer, Livia Firth wore Stella McCartney’s first-ever sustainable gown. Embroidered with reclaimed vintage beads, the skirt was made from Manila hemp, a fiber that requires very little water to harvest. Beneath the dress was a jumpsuit made from handspun organic silk, all her accessories were vegan.

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Rowena Ritchie

Rowena is EcoSalon’s West Coast Fashion Editor and currently resides in San Francisco, CA.