Tonight is the 2014 Costume Institute Ball–more commonly known as the Met Gala–which means that right about now, the fashion world’s finest (and some adorable little kids) are getting their facials, blowouts and manicures prepped for a $25,000+ evening of impressing Anna Wintour. The 2014 theme is Charles James: Beyond Fashion, so we anticipate a great deal of gorgeous, full gowns with elegant draping and striking silhouettes.
Before the steady stream of celebrities, designers and debutantes starts to flood the red carpet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, let’s take a step back and check out some past styles. We saw the most controversial and often disliked dresses last week, so now we can see the ones that are frequently cited as the absolute best Met Gala looks of all time.
1. Doutzen Kroes, 2010
This is one of my absolute favorite looks ever, on anybody, period. Kroes looked so incredibly stunning in this blue Zac Posen for 2010′s “American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity” theme.
2. Charlize Theron, 2006
Few celebrities can quite encapsulate restrained glamour the way Charlize Theron does. She is never over-the-top or crass; her brand of grandeur is always disciplined and polished–this Christian Dior Couture look from 2006′s “AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion” Met Gala is just one more example of this.
3. Rihanna, 2009
Remember how obsessed everybody was with Rihanna’s haircut in 2009? Yeah, this was why. She knew exactly how to style herself to put together an all-over excellent look, particularly for 2009′s “The Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion” theme in this Dolce & Gabbana tux.
4. Sarah Jessica Parker, 2013
This Giles outfit for the “PUNK: From Chaos To Couture” theme was so her yet befitting of the theme.
5. Jennifer Garner, 2007
There’s a reason this long red Valentino Couture gown makes nearly every “best Met Gala looks ever” list, and that’s because it’s amazing.
I mean, really.
6. Oprah Winfrey, 2010
Oh, y’know, just one of the most powerful people in media hanging out with Oscar de la Renta, one of the most powerful designers in the world, both of whom were looking effing amazing. This isn’t epic or anything.
7. Florence Welch, 2012
If there’s anywhere you can wear such an odd-yet-oddly-fascinating Alexander McQueen gown, it’s the Met Gala when the theme is “Schiaparelli And Prada: Impossible Conversations.”
8. Beyonce, 2012
While her 2013 look was less well-liked, this one from Givenchy for “Schiaparelli And Prada: Impossible Conversations” was incredible.
9. Camilla Belle, 2010
This Jason Wu gown is one of the most lovely off-the-shoulder dresses I’ve ever seen.
10. Mary-Kate Olsen, 2007
Homegirl looks like Maleficent and I am so. okay. with that.
11. Selma Blair, 2005
For 2005′s “House Of Chanel” theme, Blair picked a uniquely delicate and luxurious Chanel gown.
12. Bee Shaffer, 2008
Style inarguably runs in the family when it comes to Anna Wintour’s daughter. Just check out this incredible Nina Ricci dress; she looks like the best bottle of perfume money could ever buy.
I’ll never stop loving a good up-the-stairs train shot.
13. Katy Perry, 2013
Perry’s wild gold and silver getup is still one of my favorite metallic looks ever. It was weird, ridiculous and very, very Perry.
14. Liv Tyler, 2009
Tyler never fails to embody glamour.
15. Anna Wintour, 2012
What, did you think we weren’t going to include Wintour’s epic lobster dress?