Beauty

The Best MET Gala Hair Looks of All Time

The first Monday in May is almost here, and it’s the perfect time to debut a brand new cut or style. In fact, MET Gala hair transformations have been a staple of the event for the past several years. And with this year’s theme, ‘The Garden of Time,’ providing ample opportunity for the botanical and the edgy, we’re on the edge of our seat for what the stars and their beauty teams could be planning for this year.

The MET Gala, actually called the Costume Institute Gala, is a fundraising gala held for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in Manhattan. The Gala itself is a huge social event, organized by Vogue. The hand-picked attendees come from the highest tiers of fashion, film, music, sports, and even social media. And they are expected to go all out with their outfits.

This Year’s MET

2024’s exhibition is entitled “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.” It explores the delicate nature of fashion, centered around 17 pieces that cannot ever be worn again. The Costume Institute’s chief curator, Andrew Bolton explained to Vogue that this collection includes some incredibly fragile pieces. “These are the ‘Sleeping Beauties’ of the title,” Bolton says.

This year’s dress code is based on a short story by English novelist and essayist J.G. Ballard, “The Garden of Time.” We’re expecting a lot of botanical headpieces this year, needless to say.

Co-chaired as always by Vogue‘s Editor in Chief, Anna Wintour, the event will also welcome Jennifer Lopez, Zendaya, Bad Bunny and Chris Hemsworth as celebrity co-chairs.

The Best MET Gala Hair Looks

The rumor mill is already turning, with Kim K going pink and Rhianna hinting that her look this year will be her most different yet. We’re expecting this year to have its fair share of MET Gala hair transformations. And it feels like the right time to take a look back at the best hairstyles ever to grace the red carpet.

Did your favorite look make our list?

1 / 14

Christy Turlington, 1992

With a smooth and sleek updo to compliment that gorgeous neck of pearls, Christy Turlington’s 1992 MET Gala look was one for the books. Clearly paying homage to Audrey Hepburn, Turlington’s vintage Hollywood aesthetic lit up the red carpet at the time, and still stands out as one of the most sophisticated and elegant looks of all time.

christy turlington met gala hair 1992
PL Gould/IMAGES/Getty Images

2 / 14

Amber Valletta, 2004

Taking a swing in the ostentatious direction, this powdered wig–inspired hairstyle from Valletta screams regency and romantic. According to a just-released Vogue interview, Valletta said host Anna Wintour asked her to “go for it.”

Back then, she says “nobody was really dressing to theme,” or had a stylist team like they do now. Valletta’s sky-high bouffant and powdered-curls were exactly what Wintour was hoping for. With a precedent set, the following years would only see bigger and more complex hair looks for the red carpet.

amber valletta met gala hair 2004
Evan Agostini / Getty Images

3 / 14

Kate Moss, 2009

Wearing Marc Jacobs (on her arm as her date, and as her look’s designer), Moss sparkled in full silver on at the MET Gala in 2009. Finishing her look was the sleek turban she wore, creating a major fashion statement that we’re still talking about years later.

kate moss met gala 2009
Patrick McMullan / Getty Images

4 / 14

Rihanna, 2015

How could this look not make this list? With a sleek and gorgeous red bob, Rihanna wore a golden filigree headdress that made her look like a walking piece of artwork.

Back in 2020, she told Vanity Fair that she felt like “a clown” in the whole ensemble, afraid that no one would get it. Instead, the moment is pure fashion history and established her as a heavy-hitter at the MET Gala.

rihanna met gala 2015
Karwai Tang / Getty Images

5 / 14

Jayden Smith 2017

“Since I couldn’t bring my sister as a date, I brought my old hair,” Smith told Vogue at the time.

We couldn’t talk about MET Gala hair without mentioning the time then-18-year-old Jayden Smith brought his chopped-off dreadlocks to the red carpet as an accessory. Married with the Dracula-inspired look (including a fanged grill), Smith looked every bit the eccentric he’s known to be.

jayden smith met gala hair 2017
Noam Galai/FilmMagic/ Getty Images

6 / 14

Zendaya, 2018

This Joan of Arc-inspired look was actually a wig! Could have fooled us, as the perfectly cut and colored red bob looks made for Zendaya.

The edgy cut perfectly complimented her medieval warrior look, and she can be our knight in shining armor any day.

zendaya met gala 2018
Noam Galai / Stringer / Getty Images

7 / 14

Lady Gaga, 2019

All about camp, this style was created by hair and wig art designer, Frederic Aspiras, using GHD hair products. A platinum bob accented with literal hair bows (as in bows made of hair), this artsy look went perfectly with Gaga’s big, statement-making eyelashes and multiple costume reveals.

Known for her big fashion and out-there looks, Gaga’s MET Gala moment was the perfect personification of camp.

It’s true, no one does it like Lady Gaga.

lady gaga met gala hair 2019
Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images/ Getty Images

8 / 14

Jennifer Lopez, 2019

The same year as Gaga’s beautiful bows, Jennifer Lopez hit the red carpet absolutely dripping with ice. The effect was achieved with thousands of gemstones, beads and crystals, creating an elegant bob that matched her thigh-baring gown. The Versace piece was all about catching light and eyes, and the final look included a 129.48-carat purple sapphire and diamond Harry Winston necklace.

jennifer lopez met gala hair 2019
Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

9 / 14

Gemma Chan, 2021

Paying homage to Hollywood’s first Chinese-American star, Anna May Wong, Gemma Chan teamed up with Nepalese-American designer Prabal Gurung, to create this gorgeous look. The braided updo, structural and elegant in design, was also a style Wong had worn in the past.

“A trailblazer, fashion icon and woman ahead of her time – she paved the way for those who came after and continues to inspire,” Chan says of Wong.

gemma chan met gala hair 2021
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

10 / 14

Alicia Keys, 2022

Celebrating the theme In America: An Anthology of Fashion, her go-to hairstylist Fesa Nu created this bejeweled masterpiece for Alicia Keys. Sculpted and styled baby hairs, a sleek ponytail and…are those CDs?

The architectural look caught eyes the moment it landed on the runway, and we can’t get enough of the 3D, sparkling statement piece.

alicia keys met gala hair 2022
Ray Tamarra/GC Images/ Getty Images

11 / 14

Quannah Chasinghorse, 2022

Embracing the past and the future, Chasinghorse’s look was all about cultural reclamation and forging new paths forward. The edgy, partially braided look incorporated two eagle feathers.

Amika’s global artistic director Naeemah LaFond created the look. “Quannah wanted her hair to be modern and true to her personal style as well as her culture, so her look features a sleek style with some intricate braiding.”

Quannah Chasinghorse met gala hair 2022
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

12 / 14

Michaela Coel, 2023

At first looking like a traditional, beautiful set of cornrows, Michaela Coel’s look actually had a secret: a gold embellishment at the base of her head that spread up like gilded veins. Her look was all about dripping with gold, and the hair accessory creates the illusion that she herself is also made of precious metal.

Michaela Coel met gala hair 2023
Mike Coppola/Getty Images

13 / 14

Marion Cotillard, 2023

Shocking everyone that night, Marion Cotillard swapped her usual shoulder-length brunette hair for a choppy bowl cut in a light pastel pink. Though you can see her brown roots, no one was sure whether or not this hair transformation was a wig or a real cut and color.

Honoring Karl Lagerfeld’s legacy with Chanel, Cotillard’s look was an archival one with a punk twist. “[It’s] iconic to me, too: I wore this dress when I won the BAFTA for ‘La Vie en Rose’ in 2008 and it is until today one of my favorite dresses ever,” she says.

Marion Cotillard met gala hair 2023
ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

14 / 14

Amanda Seyfried, 2023

With big disco curls that demanded attention, Amanda Seyfried absolutely drove us insane in her Lagerfeld-inspired red-lipped look.

Those classic curls were a big part of the look, too. “The inspiration was Karl Lagerfeld’s designs for Chloé in the ’70s; the big curly hair of the time, the deep saturated lip, and smokey eyes with a modern twist of color instead of black and very little blush,” said Genevieve Herr, Seyfried’s makeup artist, in a press release.

Amanda Seyfried met gala hair 2023
Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

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