Every year, the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts a gala in honor of the annual fashion exhibit kicking off, and the attendees must dress according to the theme of the exhibit. Whether or not the actual exhibit was good, these themes promised amazing and outrageous dresses and fashions on the red carpet on fashion and art's favorite night.
Best: Punk: Chaos to Couture (2013)
This was a great theme, next to an exhibit that was only pretty good, but the disappointment of the night was the tepid punk creations of the stars. Even the watered-down punk ensembles were pretty cool, with spikes and studs and plenty of hardware taking the place of lace, ruffles, and soft drapery.
Worst: China: Through the Looking Glass (2015)
This theme was a nightmare because it essentially promoted Orientalism, and gave celebrities cause to hideously misinterpret Chinese culture through dress. The only way to survive at this gala was the eschew the theme altogether, unless you're Rihanna.
Best: AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion (2006)
While the interpretations of this theme may have been wacky and tacky, to say the least, it was so much fun. English designers aren't exactly a persecuted bunch, so the wildest gowns were more jaw-dropping than offensive, and the unconventional patterns and fabrics made it a night to remember.
Worst: Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century (2004)
This was a ridiculous theme to dress for, no matter how you interpret it. Linda Evangelista and Amber Valetta were real troopers with this one, but there's no good way to dress like furniture, let alone 18th century furniture.
Best: Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy (2008)
Like so many years, I thought this theme was awesome and wasn't taken far enough by most celebrities. The exaggerated shapes and embellishments were cool enough, but I would have like to see some badass looks not conforming to the gown stereotype.
And now and then, there's a gown that wows despite a lackluster theme. What have been your Met Gala favorites?