rihanna met gala 2023
Image: Valentino/Getty

Met Gala 2023: The best of the red carpet

01 May 2023 | Updated on: 02 May 2023 |By Zoe Gunn

All the latest from fashion’s biggest night out of the year

Grab your Chanel skirt suit and Fendi Baguette: the Met Gala 2023 is here and this year it’s held in honour of legendary designer, Karl Lagerfeld.

Hosted annually by American Vogue at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art to raise funds for the museum’s Anna Wintour Costume Center (previously the Costume Institute), the Met Gala has become the biggest and most fantastical red carpet event of the year. Traditionally held on the first Monday in May to mark the opening of the AWCC’s latest blockbuster exhibition, the gala enforces a strict formal dress code which, while not technically themed around the exhibition, often sees designer houses and their celebrity guests donning looks that are at least loose interpretations of the subject.

However, while past themes, including ‘camp’, ‘American fashion’ and ‘punk’, have offered designers plenty of room for flexibility and imagination, 2023’s exhibition – Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty – on the face of it offers decidedly less so. So, what exactly might we see on the red carpet as attendees attempt to dress, as the official invitation requires, ‘in honour of Karl’?

While best known for his decades-long career at the helm of Chanel – and there will undoubtedly be many attendees, including Vogue’s Anna Wintour, dressed by the house – Lagerfeld also held influential positions at labels including Fendi, Balmain, Patou, Chloé and his own eponymous brand. And, with a career spanning more than six decades, there are plenty of eras, design signatures and archival pieces from which to choose.

Also, expect to see a lot of monochrome. Lagerfeld was famous for his Steve Jobs-esque adherence to a strict uniform of tailored black suit, high-collared white shirt and immaculate pompadour in the later decades of his life – and with black and white looks proving popular on the red carpets of the Oscars and BAFTAs, we could well be in for an evening of monochromatic styles.

Alternatively, those looking to put a more playful spin on the dress code may look to other symbols of Lagerfeld’s life and career, such as his devotion to his pampered pet cat Choupette, for inspiration. One thing is for certain: tonight will showcase the boldest and most fabulous fashion you’ll see all year.

Join me as we discover who really understood the assignment…

Rihanna in Valentino

rihanna met gala 2023

Image: Valentino/Getty Images

Rihanna can always be relied upon for a show-stopping Met Gala look. While she was neither the only one to land on oversized camellias (a symbol of Chanel) or an extensive train, the combination of five metre dress and 14 metre silk faille cape in this bespoke Valentino Couture number is quite breathtaking. Apparently it took 30 seamstresses to create and I can fully believe it.

Florence Pugh in Valentino

florence pugh met gala 2023

Image: Evan Agostini/Alamy

Recently announced as a Valentino ambassador, Florence Pugh made quite the splash in her first official outing for the brand. Despite one commentator’s astute observation that she resembled a secretary bird (Google it), the head dress is actually my favourite part, recalling Kate Moss’ famous cover for The Face in 1990 and a great way to pull focus to her new buzzcut. The dress I don’t find to be all that flattering: the fabric isn’t great, the fit around the bust looks off and the reference to Karl Lagerfeld seems negligible.

Kim Kardashian in Schiaparelli

kim kardashian met gala 2023

Image: Evan Agostini/Alamy

There was a lot of speculation pre-event about whether any of the Kardashian-Jenners would make the cut this year after Vogue announced it would be culling the guest list. In the end Kendall, Kylie and Kim were all in attendance, with Kim’s Schiaparelli gown by Daniel Lee proving to be the most interesting. The pearls are an obvious Chanel reference but are very much done with a Schiaparelli reverence for the exaggerated and absurd.

Jared Leto

Jared Leto turned up at the Met Gala in full Choupette fancy dress which, well, okay. It's not fashion, it's a stunt, and, evidently, Anna Wintour wasn't going to let him in the door dressed like that as the costume was quickly whipped off to reveal, honestly, something quite disappointing. The heavy-duty embellishment and longline tunic give a high-fashion medieval warrior vibe but the fingerless gloves feel tokenistic. Could do better.

Lil Nas X

lil nas x met gala

Image: Evan Agostini/Alamy

Now this is more like it. Lil Nas X has taken the idea of Choupette and, with the help of makeup artist Pat McGrath, turned it into art. Yes, he may only be wearing a silver thong, body paint and pearls but thought, care and a painstaking attention to detail have gone into this look. Bravo.

Hannah and Eddie Redmayne in Alexander McQueen

hannah and eddie redmayne met gala 2023

Image: Alexander McQueen

This is subtle but effective from Eddie Redmayne and I’m a big fan. McQueen is well known for its tailoring so it’s no surprise that it’s nailed Lagerfeld’s favoured jacket cut. What I love most, however, is that Sarah Burton has latched on to a detail as small as Lagerfeld’s fondness for brooches and gone to town with it. It’s a lovely tribute that has major visual impact.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Nick Jonas in Valentino

priyanka chopra and nick jonas met gala 2023

Image: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

They may have taken the easy route – this is basic red carpet fare with a couple of Karl touches thrown in – but they look good and the outfits work in tandem nicely. The real talking point here is Chopra Jonas’ necklace, which, Bulgari informs me, features the Bulgari Laguna Blu Diamond: an 11.6-carat Fancy Vivid Blue Diamond that, with an estimate of $25 million, is set to become the most expensive diamond ever offered for sale by the jewellery house when it goes up for auction at Sotheby’s next week.

Kristen Stewart and Sofia Coppola in Chanel

kristin stewart and sofia coppola met gala 2023

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Kristen Stewart is a longtime Chanel ambassador and Lagerfeld muse so it was always going to be Chanel for her. In keeping with her personal tastes, she eschewed a gown in favour of a take on white tie from the Cruise 2016/17 collection. I’m not convinced on the hair but the rest is spot on.


The unintended coordination makes Coppola look like Stewart’s slightly disapproving mother – which is a shame because she looks great. The Chanel aesthetic suits her down to the ground.


Halle Bailey in Gucci

halle bailey met gala 2023

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Another star giving bridal drama, Halle Bailey donned an embellished lace Gucci gown and matching ruffled cape for the Met Gala 2023. It’s a lot. It’s pretty but reads both a little too old and a little overwhelming for her. The De Beers jewellery is a great choice.

Jessica Chastain in Gucci

jessica chastain met gala 2023

Image: Evan Agostini/Alamy

The sunglasses! Frankly, it’s such an easy nod to Lagerfeld’s famous look I’m surprised we haven’t seen more of them – and Chastain is really making them work. She just looks cool; thanks in no small part of the new ice blonde dye job. Oh, and the gown is pretty great too.

Margot Robbie in Chanel

margot robbie met gala 2023

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Margot Robbie was the last celebrity to be handpicked by Karl Lagerfeld as a Chanel ambassador and, channelling an Old Hollywood vibe, I think she’s doing him proud. A remake of a 1993 Chanel gown first worn by Cindy Crawford, this won’t be the most attention-grabbing look of the night but it may well be one of the chicest.

Maya Hawke in Prada

maya hawke met gala 2023

Image: Evan Agostini/Alamy

This is nothing less than the elegance, grace and imagination we’ve come to expect from Mrs Prada. It’s no easy task to marry the aesthetic of a designer as iconic as Karl Lagerfeld while staying true to your own house, label and preferences but this incredible floral embellished cocoon coat and matching minidress is a perfect marriage of two of the most important designers of their day.

Lila and Kate Moss in Fendi

lila and kate moss met gala 2023

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A saccharine sweet mother-daughter moment from the Mosses. Both are in blush Fendi: Kate in a bespoke gown based on a piece from the SS23 Couture collection by Kim Jones with Tiffany jewellery and Lila in a Fendi Couture AW18 gown by Karl Lagerfeld. Adorable.

Amanda Seyfried in Oscar de la Renta

amanda seyfried met gala 2023

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Amanda Seyfried went full showgirl for the Met Gala 2023. Constructed from little more than a nude corseted bodysuit and a lot of chains, it’s a brave choice but also one that immediately stands out as perhaps not fitting the bill quite so well as some of the other gowns we’ve seen so far. More news on the story behind the dress when it comes in…

Brian Tyree Henry in Karl Lagerfeld

bryan tyree henry met gala 2023

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And we have our first Karl cosplay of the evening. Brian Tyree Henry looks fabulous; he’s taken Lagerfeld’s signature look and turned it up to 11. The pearls. The exaggerated shirt sleeves. The Italian widow lace ruffles. Here for all of it.

Anna Wintour in Chanel and Bill Nighy

anna wintour and bill nighy met gala

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Tonight’s inimitable host, Anna Wintour, has been a loyal client of Chanel for decades so there was never any question as to which house she would be turning to for this evening’s outfit. The coat is gorgeous – as is her rather dapper escort, Bill Nighy.

Gisele Bündchen in Chanel

gisele met gala 2023

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Leave it to a super to really work the red carpet. Attending her first Met Gala since 2019, Gisele chose an archival Chanel striped sequin gown and dramatic feathered cape that she had previously worn for a 2007 Harper’s Bazaar Korea photoshoot.

Nicole Kidman in Chanel

nicole kidman met gala 2023

Image: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Now, this is a clever one. Nicole Kidman is wearing the exact same dress (plus some Harry Winston dazzlers) that she donned to dash down the streets of New York for a Chanel No 5 perfume advert directed by Baz Luhrmann in 2004. And if Karl liked it then…

Gabriela Hearst, Maude Apatow in Chloé, Olivia Wilde in Chloé and Vanessa Kirby

gabriela hearst, maude apatow, olivia wilde and vanessa kirby met gala 2023

Image: Associated Press/Alamy

Met Gala photographers love a girl gang and, when they look this good, why not? If this image is anything to go by, embellishment and sparkle are going to reign supreme this evening. Loving Gabriela Hearst’s call back to Lagerfeld’s 1981 guitar dresses for Chloé.

Penelope Cruz in Chanel

penelope cruz met gala 2023

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Met Gala co-chair Penelope Cruz offered up a major bridal moment in this heavily embellished, hooded gown from the Chanel Couture SS88 collection. Lagerfeld was famed for his stunning bridal couture looks so I reckon he’d approve of this choice.

Dua Lipa in Chanel

dua lipa met gala 2023

Dua Lipa at the MET Gala 2023. Image: Evan Agostini/Alamy

Co-chair of the night Dua Lipa stepped out in a voluminous corseted gown that is instantly recognisable as Chanel. An archival piece from the Chanel Couture AW92 collection, finished with an absolute gobstopper of a Tiffany necklace, this is a brilliant way for a young star to honour the theme while also tapping into current trends.

Rita Ora in Prabal Gurung & Taika Waititi

rita ora and taika waititi met gala 2023

Image: Evan Agostini/Alamy

Rita Ora kicked off proceedings in suitably dramatic fashion with the first oversized train of the evening. The Prabal Gurung dress has drama but I’m not sure exactly what homage it’s paying to Lagerfeld. Waititi’s silk dressing gown, slippers and pearls get-up, on the other hand, is exactly what I imagine Lagerfeld hosting dinner parties in.

Emily Ratjakowski

emily ratajkowski met gala 2023

Image: Evan Agostini/Alamy

Emily Ratajkowski offered an interesting take on Chanel’s signature quilting in a gown finished with plenty of couture elements (the beading, the feathers, the tulle layers) that recall Lagerfeld’s many, many high fashion catwalks. It may not be the most memorable look of the evening but it gets a big tick from me.