Count Down To the Met Gala With The 5 Best Designer-Celeb Dates
Did you feel the electric energy in the air today as you struggled to avoid resting your face on someone’s armpit on the packed L train? It’s the first Monday in May, aka the day that first year fashion students and major stars alike have been waiting for—the Met Gala, officially known as the Costume Institute Benefit, aka the mecca of celebrity fashion. Right now, eager crowds are preparing to make their pilgrimage to the outside of the Metropolitan Museum of Art to crane their necks at the famed steps for a glimpse at the “Oscars of fashion.”
Over the years, the Met Gala has become an institution of excess. Celebrities and designers dress up and walk the museum’s fabled steps to raise money for the Met’s fashion department—the only department of the museum that has to self-fund. While unfortunately no celebs are ready to strut up the steps of our walk-up, we’re ready to indulge in images of the event’s trademark fabulous gowns and costumes. This year, the party’s theme is Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, which is perfect for an age when we spend more time on the Internet than we do sleeping.
Designers always bring dates to the gala, and they’re usually quite a site to behold (remember Donatella Versace with J. Lo last year?). To celebrate the gala’s return, we looked back on the most iconic pairings to grace the scene over the years. We’re hoping for some good stuff tonight.
Lil Kim and Marc Jacobs (2005)
If you needed proof that 2005 was a strange and confusing time in pop culture, this is it. Lil Kim may have sadly fallen from her throne as rap royalty, but a decade ago she was flying high and going wild in a velvet dress that definitely matched the blanket our grandma has on her couch back home. As for Marc Jacobs, his outfit was substitute English teacher mixed with Robin William’s glasses in One Hour Photo. The glue that held it all together? 2005’s must-have accessory: a silver Motorola Razr. Fun fact: Jacobs and Lil’ Kim were, and to our knowledge still are, super close friends. He wrote Kim every week when she was imprisoned on perjury charges in 2006.
Justin Bieber and Olivier Rousteing (2015)
If Entourage took on the Met Gala but made a pit stop in China, you’d have last year’s outfit inspiration for this duo. Olivier Rousteing took a break from being Balmain’s young creative director to spend an entire month designing Bieber’s intricate gold and black dragon jacket, which made us feel like we were in an Only God Forgives fever dream. Elevated, elegant, but still fun—which is perhaps an allegory for Bieber’s recent album of insanely excellent bangers.
Sarah Jessica Parker and Alexander McQueen (2006)
Two years after America’s gay bible Sex and the City ended, SJP made a triumphant return to our hearts when she stepped out with iconic designer McQueen for the best commitment to material-matching since Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake’s legendary denim fest. The tartan overlords brought a heavy dose of gothic Scottish inspiration to the Gala for a 2006 moment that was as rebellious as it was expected. Much of McQueen’s genius came from a desire to take risks, and SJP has never been a stranger to outlandish fashion—put them together, and you’ve got a recipe for an iconic Met Gala look.
Cher and Bob Mackie (1974)
It’s been decades since this look dropped jaws to the floor, and nobody has been able to top it yet (well, Rihanna’s major dress at the 2014 CFDA awards may have taken the cake, but the gown’s designer Adam Selman told us directly that he was inspired by the look below). There was almighty power sewn into the furry sleeves and intricate detailing that Cher debuted in 1974, and it has served as a blueprint for all “naked dresses” since. Every episode of Toddlers and Tiaras combined wouldn’t come close to the beauty that the longtime creative duo made. This wasn’t Mackie’s first Cher rodeo, either. The legendary costume designer spent years designing the singer’s outfits—you know, the ones that made you gay.
Naomi Campbell, Iman, Dolce and Gabbana (2000)
If three is company, four is the fashionable orgy that we don’t want to take our eyes off of. At least that was the case when supermodels Naomi Campbell and Iman celebrated the turn of the new century by pairing up with legendary design duo Dolce & Gabbana for looks that were ready for a grungy afterparty. Slits and sheer were must-haves as the four celebrated surviving Y2K. If we learned anything about life through the Met Gala, it’s that it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission as you show up to the fanciest event of the year in a “Like a Virgin” t-shirt.
Images via Vogue and Elle.
Stay tuned to Milk for more from the Met Gala.