18 Met Ball Gowns That SLAYED

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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The Oscars are nice for red-carpet fashion, and nothing really shines like Cannes, but if we had to pick a favorite, it’d definitely have to be the Costume Institute Gala at the Met. It’s one of the few occasions where a strapless taupe gown might be considered a faux pas, and where you’ll be more likely to see ear cuffs and undercuts than satin clutches and prom hair — especially during this year’s punk-themed extravaganza. 

Except…save for a few personalities — Vivienne Westwood, that’s you — the fashion elite and punks didn’t quite understand each other as well as we’d hoped. Still, the looks were gorgeous, and we recognized a few strokes of sartorial genius. Ahead, 18 red-carpet knockouts…some, kind-of punk; others, not-so punk; and a few, as subversive as a kitten (but stunning, no less). Now, tell us: Who’d we miss?


Anne Hathaway — Anne Hathaway wasn’t afraid to ask what we were all thinking when it came to being dressed by Valentino in this theme (she met his offer of an archive piece with, “Have you ever done punk, darling?”), but it turns out that even the elegance-minded designer has a surprising bit of street cred. The dress he dug up was truly spectacular, and paired with her newly blonde pompadour, smoky eyes, and a healthy dose of side boob, it was one of the most arresting looks of the evening. 

Photo: Everett Collection/Rex USA


Cameron Diaz — With a high neck, a floor-length skirt, and a covered-shoulder capelet, an outfit needs something a little scary to stand out (or fit in, in this case). For Cameron Diaz, that bite comes in the form of a Stella McCartney belt sporting dagger-length studs.  

Photo: Erik Pendzich/Rex USA


Sarah Jessica Parker — SJP is no stranger to outrageous headpieces or overwhelming swaths of tartan, and we love that she brought her ebullient love of fashion to the red carpet. Mixing and matching like a true pro punk (albeit with the kind of designer pieces only a true Vogue-ette could muster), Parker wore a Giles Deacon gown with a Philip Treacy headpiece and velvet, plaid Louboutin boots. 

Photo: Erik Pendzich/Rex USA


Anja Rubik — Looking more Debbie Harry than Debbie Harry (who showed up in a Tommy Hilfiger suit), Anja Rubik rocked her Anthony Vaccarello chain-and-leather dress with mile-high hair and blood-red lips. 

Photo: Matt Baron/BEImages


Donatella Versace — Wearing a vinyl, mesh, and studded Versace gown, Donatella Versace really showed us what it meant to mix punk with high fashion. She should know — her brother was the great mind behind one of the most iconic punk fashion images: Elizabeth Hurley’s safety-pin dress from the ’90s.  

Photo: Erik Pendzich/Rex USA


Lauren Santo Domingo — In a perfect move between 4 Times Square and 4 St. Marks Place, Lauren Santo Domingo paired her baroque-era Dolce & Gabbana gown with a black fishnet bodysuit, a dog collar, spiked earrings, and an abundance of jewels.   

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images


Cara Delevingne — Burberry may be known for doing trenches, but leave it to the iconic Brit brand for understanding London’s punk roots as well. Cara Delevigne wore a plunging hedgehog-spiked gown with her signature dark eye and extreme side part, but her most punk element might have been what happened afterward — the model suggested she was getting a tattoo, post-gala! We wonder if she actually went through with it… 

Photo: Matt Baron/BEImages


Leelee Sobieski — At first glance, Leelee looks as punk as your garden-variety celebrity (which is to say, not at all), but upon closer inspection…those faux gilded tattoos, that T-shirt style top, that pompadour slick-back…it’s a true fashion pioneer’s interpretation of punk tropes that are both unexpected and totally on point.  

Photo: Erik Pendzich/Rex USA


Miley Cyrus — Leave it to a former Disney star to really get it. Brazen, bold, and utterly breathtaking, Miley Cyrus looked like a Disney villain instead of a princess…which was exactly the point. Her frosted, spiked hair and red lips were all ’70s Bowery, but her long-sleeved fishnet Marc Jacobs column dress was subversive in a modem, not-at-all-hokey way. 

Photo: Matt Baron/BEImages


Hilary Rhoda — We’ve read those comments, and wearing a skirt over pants may be the most controversial thing we fashion people can do…so, kudos to Hilary Rhoda for pulling off her Wes Gordon look so well. 

Photo: David Fisher/Rex/Rex USA


Rooney Mara — It’s hard for a girl to wear all white and not look saccharine, but Rooney Mara’s sweetness has a bite to it. The low-plunging neckline and high-cut slit in her Givenchy gown perfectly complement her black lip and noir crop. 

Photo: Matt Baron/BEImages


Florence Welch — In a velvet-and-leather Givenchy Haute Couture gown, Flo managed to bring her fantasy boho look into the punk arena.  

Photo: Matt Baron/BEImages


Kristen Stewart — For Kirsten Stewart, covering up in a lacy, silky Stella McCartney jumpsuit is probably more punk than any super-short mini ever could be. While Stewart admitted to being more into classic rock than punk rock, she does seem to understand the appeal of the movement more than a lot of her fellow attendees. She agreed with The Costume Institute about punk’s message about provocation: “Provoke. Please provoke something. Do something.”   

Photo: Matt Baron/BEImages


Doutzen Kroes — We can’t imagine the sweet-faced Kroes ever working up a scowl worthy of her incredible custom Theyskens’ Theory leather-and-organza gown, but we forgive her. The vinyl-look quilted creation is so true to the punk DNA — turning cheap-looking objects into high art — we think that Theysken and Kroes did the theme proud. 

Photo: Erik Pendzich/Rex USA


Constance Jablonski — In a leather harness and a hand-sculpted gold-foil gown, Jablonski looks like a Greek goddess of BDSM. 

Photo: Everett Collection/Rex USA


Allison Williams — Whoa, Marnie! And we thought that vinyl, gold number you wore to Booth Jonathan’s party was the edgiest you could get. Moving a few steps up from last year’s fuchsia, strapless Ralph Lauren dress, Williams absolutely killed it in a Joseph Altuzarra long-sleeved gown. 

Photo: Gregory Pace/BEImages


Elizabeth Banks — In a striped, stitched Atelier Versace blazer minidress, Elizabeth Banks looked more disco than punk…but that’s alright with us. The look was sexy and rebellious, and her fringed stilettos really made this look an anti-red carpet getup, which was what the evening was all about. 

Photo: Matt Baron/BEImages


Gwen Stefani — For modern-day punks, Margiela might be the most anti-establishment brand available. So, it’s surprising that Gwen Stefani was one of the few attendees who chose Margiela for the evening, donning an oversized bow-tied top and puffy skirt. Was it a traditional punk look? Nope, not at all — but then again, Stefani’s not your typical punk artist.  

Photo: Erik Pendzich/Rex USA

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