The highlight of the fashion industry’s social calendar and star-studded event has unsurprisingly also been the site of some of the most unforgettable celebrity moments.
Throughout the years, the Met Gala has been the site of some unforgettable celebrity moments—from Lady Gaga’s elaborate striptease to Rihanna’s riveting performance on top of a dinner table. And who could forget when Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston were first caught dancing flirtatiously with each other, kindling the Hiddleswift phenomenon? Take a walk down memory lane with this list of the craziest celebrity moments at the Met.
Kim Kardashian unearths Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” dress, 2022
In a move that delighted fans and enraged fashion conservators in equal measure, for 2022’s “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” gala, Kim Kardashian turned to the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum in Orlando to borrow a very special piece: the form-fitting Jean-Louis dress that Marilyn Monroe wore to serenade John F. Kennedy on his birthday in 1962. “Everything had to be specifically timed and I had to practice walking up the stairs,” Kardashian told Vogue of the strict precautions in place to protect the dress, which had been sold at auction for an astonishing $4.8 million in 2016.
Timothée Chalamet heads to the red carpet on foot, 2021
Tapped to co-chair 2021’s “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” gala with Naomi Osaka, Amanda Gorman, and Billie Eilish, Timothée Chalamet arrived at his very first Met with—what else?—a literal throng of screaming fans in his wake. In a work of virtual performance art live-streamed on Instagram, Chalamet strolled to the museum from the Frick Madison, where he’d collaborated with French artist JR and the composer Nicholas Britell on a dazzling installation. Needless to say, people were all too eager to follow along—both virtually and in person.
Lady Gaga bares it all, 2019
There are, quite simply, no words for the performance Lady Gaga put on at the 2019 Met Gala for “Camp: Notes on Fashion.” The actress and singer showed up in a fuchsia Brandon Maxwell cape gown with a 25-foot train, taking off layer after layer until she was writhing on the steps of the Met in lingerie, fishnets, and sky-high heels. Nobody does it better!
Jared Leto accessorizes with his own head, 2019
Why stick to jewelry or watches when you can walk down the Met Gala carpet holding your own head as the ultimate accessory? That’s exactly what Leto did in 2019, courtesy of Gucci (the severed heads first appeared on the fall 2018 runway), and it was both terrifying and impossible to look away from.
2 Chainz “proposes” to Kesha Ward, 2018
It was the moment nobody expected: On the red carpet for the “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” gala, rapper 2 Chainz proposed to partner Kesha Ward. Ward thankfully said yes, as the crowd of photographers snapped and cheered away—but not so fast. As it turned out, 2 Chainz had also popped the question to Ward five years earlier, at the BET Awards. (What can we say: The man likes a grand gesture!) The pair would finally marry in August.
Katy Perry’s outfit needing an open-top vehicle, 2018
For “Heavenly Bodies,” Katy Perry descended upon the Met wearing a custom Versace creation complete with angel wings. It was one of the night’s more meme-worthy ensembles—and the best part was that it needed an open-top vehicle to get to the venue. Ahead of the red carpet, the singer was spotted taking a casual drive on the Manhattan streets, her theatrical wings out for all normal pedestrians to see.
Jaden Smith carries his own dreadlocks down the red carpet, 2017
Several weeks before attending the Met Gala celebrating “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between,” Smith chopped off his bleached dreadlocks for a role in the film Life in a Year. As it turned out, they would find a second life on the red carpet, where he carried them in his hand. “I couldn’t bring my sister as a date,” Smith explained somewhat cryptically at the time, “so I brought my hair.” Perhaps in homage to her viral hit, “Whip My Hair”?
Lady Gaga surprises Donatella Versace with a birthday cake in 2016
The Italian designer spent her 61st birthday at the 2016 Met Gala. Her close friend Lady Gaga thankfully made sure it was a memorable one, surprising Donatella with a three-tired, gold-dipped cake emblazoned with the Versace logo.
Hiddleswift is born during a dance-off in 2016
Eagled-eyed fans received their very first sign of Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston’s summer romance at the 2016 Met Gala, where the pair was captured on camera flirtatiously shimmying at the Temple of Dendur.
Beyoncé hits the red carpet solo after Lemonade in 2016
After Beyoncé premiered her groundbreaking visual album Lemonade, the singer was subject to a lot of speculation, particularly regarding the state of her marriage to Jay Z. About a week later, Queen Bey surprised everyone by appearing solo on the Met’s red carpet, wearing a nude latex Givenchy number (cue the Internet jokes about whatever happened to “Becky with the good hair”).
Amal Clooney and George Clooney make their relationship Met Gala official in 2015
It was their first time stepping out at the Met Gala as Mr. and Mrs. Clooney, and they certainly did not disappoint. George, in a black Armani tuxedo, looked like a happy newlywed, but it was Amal who ultimately stole the show in a custom-made John Galliano for Maison Margiela crimson leather dress.
Rihanna dances on a table in 2015
Rihanna might have kicked off a meme bonanza at the 2015 Met Gala in her golden Guo Pei fur-trimmed dress, but her other biggest moment of the evening was opening the performance of her song “Bitch Better Have My Money” on top of a dinner table.
The Olsen Twins’ very first Met Gala in 2005
At just 19 years old, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen attended their very first Met Gala in 2005. Needless to say, their style has greatly evolved since then, as the duo grew from tween darlings into industry powerhouses.
Liv Tyler and Stella McCartney keep it casual in 1999
How do you know you’re really rock royalty? When you can show up to the Met Gala in DIY T-shirts.
Princess Diana attends in 1996
If Princess Di showed up to the Met Gala in 1996, does that mean there’s still hope of an appearance by the Princess of Wales in the future?
The ageless Supers first hit the scene in 1995
It’s hard to believe this photo of Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, and Kate Moss was taken over two decades ago. What makes it even better? They’re all still Met Gala mainstays.
Jackie O. graces the party in 1979
Decades before her inimitable style became the focus of the Met’s 2001 exhibit “Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years—Selections from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum,” our First Lady of Fashion attended the Met Gala as a guest, in 1979.
This article was originally published on Vogue.