A Look At All The Met Gala Themes Over The Years

Met Gala Themes Over The Years
Met Gala Themes Over The Years

Often dubbed Fashion’s Biggest Night, the first Monday of May has never been the same since 1971 when The Metropolitan Museum of Art held the first Met Gala. On 8 November 2023, Vogue revealed the theme for the highly anticipated 2024 Met Gala — Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion. As the world waits in anticipation for all the iconic moments to come this time, take a look at all the themes over the years.

Continuing their tradition of bringing out the most daring and spectacular red-carpet looks with their themes, the upcoming fashion gala will mark the debut of the spring 2024 exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. In this iteration, the exhibition will showcase approximately 250 pieces from the institute’s permanent collection, many of which have rarely been displayed publicly. Encompassing four centuries of fashion history, the exhibit will feature contributions from contemporary fashion figures like Phillip Lim, Stella McCartney and Connor Ives, alongside iconic designers such as Elsa Schiaparelli, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior and Hubert de Givenchy.

Speaking about the theme to Vogue, Max Hollein, the Met’s Marina Kellen French Director and CEO, said: “This innovative show will push the boundaries of our imagination and invite us to experience many facets of a work, to learn more about its history, and, ultimately, to gain a deeper appreciation of its beauty.”

Each year, the selection of the Met Gala theme involves meticulous thought, the narrative it weaves and the knowledge it imparts. For example, the 2018 Met Gala, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination highlighted myriad sacred artefacts from the Vatican.

So, in case the fashion history buff in you is curious about the 2024 motif and the past themes, we have listed out the Met Gala themes for each year from 1971 to 2024.

What is the 2024 Met Gala theme ‘Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion’ about?

Met Gala Themes Over The Years
A$AP Rocky in custom head-to-toe Gucci and Rihanna in a version of Chanel bride at the 2023 Met Gala, which was themed after Karl Lagerfeld (Image credit: Instagram/Rihanna)

On 6 May 2024, a dazzling array of actors, models, designers, athletes, politicians and global trendsetters will flaunt their looks at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the 2024 Met Gala. The theme, Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion, promises to unveil a treasure trove of the rarest and most exquisite pieces from the Costume Institute’s permanent collection.

However, here the main question arises — what is Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion? The main attractions will be the dormant, overlooked garments that hold delicate stories spanning over 400 years of history. It’s a unique twist that promises to awaken the hidden tales of these forgotten fashion pieces.

In simple words, the upcoming exhibition will focus on using research, dialogue and technology to recreate the immersive essence of the institution’s iconic outfits. The goal is to revive significant historical garments through immersive activations, capturing their scents, sounds, textures, and movements despite their physical inaccessibility. In alignment with this, the theme for this year’s show will be the concepts of ‘rebirth and renewal’.

A list of Met Gala themes from 1971 to 2024

Met Gala Themes Over The Years
Blake Lively at the 2022 Met Gala (Image credit: Instagram/Kristofer Buckle)

1971 – Fashion plate

1972 – Untailored Garments

1973 – The World of Balenciaga and The 10s, the 20s, the 30s: Inventive Clothes: 1909–1939

1974 – Romantic and Glamorous Hollywood Design

1975 – American Women of Style

1976 – The Glory of Russian Costume

1977 – Vanity Fair: A Treasure Trove

1978 – Diaghilev: Costumes and Designs of the Ballets Russes

1979 – Fashions of the Habsburg Era: Austria-Hungary

1980 – The Manchu Dragon: Costumes of China, the Chi’ng Dynasty

1981 – The Eighteenth-Century Woman

1982 – La Belle Époque

1983 – Yves Saint Laurent: 25 Years of Design

1984 – Man and the Horse

1985 – Costumes of Royal India

1986 – Dance

1987 – A Tribute to Diana Vreeland

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

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

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

1991 -No theme, as no concurrent costume exhibition was held

1992 – Fashion and History: A Dialogue

1993 – Diana Vreeland: Immoderate Style

1994 – Orientalism: Visions of the East in Western dress

1995 – Haute Couture

1996 – Christian Dior

1997 – Gianni Versace

1998 – Cubism and Fashion


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1999 – Rock Style

2000 – No theme

2001 – Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years

2002 – No theme

2003 – Goddess: The Classical Mode

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

2005 – The House of Chanel

2006 – AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion

2007 – Poiret: King of Fashion

2008 – Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy

2009 – The Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion

2010 – American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity

2011 – Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

2012 – Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations

2013 – PUNK: Chaos to Couture

2014 – Charles James: Beyond Fashion

2015 – China: Through the Looking Glass

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

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

2018 – Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

2019 – Camp: Notes on Fashion

2020 – About Time: Fashion and Duration (Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic)

2021 – In America: A Lexicon of Fashion

2022 – In America: An Anthology of Fashion

2023 – Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty

2024 – Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion


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(Hero and feature image credit: Instagram/Kim Kardashian, Taika Waititi and Jacquemus)