Stars at their first Met Gala – Photos

The theme of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala isn’t the only thing that changes from year to year. As the event chairperson, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour also handpicks a new group of elite celebrities to invite to the New York City-based benefit. With no guarantee of making the coveted guest list twice, those lucky enough to score a ticket to fashion’s biggest night dress to impress. Kim Kardashian made her Met Gala debut in 2013 while eight months pregnant with daughter North West. The reality star donned a much-maligned floral Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci creation — which critics compared to an old couch — during the “PUNK: Chaos to Couture”-themed party that year. Nearly a decade later, however, this long-sleeved gown is often cited as one of the most iconic Met Gala looks of all time. Who’s laughing now?! Ahead of the annual benefit on Sept. 13, 2021, went digging through the archives to uncover more big stars at their very first Met Galas.

Keep reading for a Met Gala firsts fashion flashback…

RELATED: The best accessories from past Met Galas

Emma Stone attended the Met Gala for the first time in 2009. For the “The Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion”-themed event, the Oscar-winning actress sported a colorful patchwork dress with a sweetheart neckline and an asymmetrical ruffle down the front. It’s unclear who designed this getup … which is arguably the fashion darling’s worst look of all time.

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Scarlett Johansson was the belle of the ball at her first Met Gala. The theme at the 2004 bash was “Dangerous Liaisons.” The “Avengers” actress dazzled in a yellow silk Calvin Klein Collection gown that beautifully covered her curves.

RELATED: The wildest fashion moments of past Met Galas

Taylor Swift first stepped out onto the Met Gala scene looking like the rising star that she was back in 2008. The singer shined bright in a sequined gold ombre Badgley Mischka gown at that year’s “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy”-themed event.

Chrissy Teigen made her Met Gala debut in 2011 on the arm of then-boyfriend John Legend, who attended the annual event for the first time back in 2006. For the “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty”-themed evening, the model donned an over-the-top Chris March-created look while the singer kept things simple in a three-piece suit.

Beyonce chose a timeless blush Armani Privé gown for her debut at the “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy”-themed Met Gala in 2008.

Simply divine! Ariana Grande topped many best-dressed lists while making her Met Gala debut in 2018. She honored the evening’s theme, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” by donning a custom Vera Wang gown featuring a print of the Sistine Chapel’s most iconic fresco.

Jennifer Lawrence scored her first invite to the Met Gala in 2013. The “Hunger Games” actress honored her duty to fashion in a black tea-length Dior dress with beaded leather floral embellishments for the “PUNK: Chaos to Couture”-themed soiree.

During Gisele Bundchen’s first Met Gala in 1999 — where the theme was “Rock Style” — the supermodel turned heads in a beaded coral Versace slip dress. She’s attended the fashion fundraiser many more times since then — sometimes with husband Tom Brady in tow!

Gwyneth Paltrow made her Met Gala debut at the 1995 “Haute Couture”-themed benefit in a classic white Calvin Klein dress. The actress-turned-Goop mogul later renounced the annual event, calling it “un-fun” and “too crowded.” But she eventually changed her tune and returned for the 2017 Met Gala.

Katie Holmes made her Met Gala debut alongside then-husband Tom Cruise at 2008’s “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy”-themed event. She sported a strapless red sequined Giorgio Armani gown for the occasion … and channeled Superman by completing her look with blue pumps as a nod to the Man of Steel’s signature color scheme.

Lupita Nyong’o made her debut at the 2014 Met Gala, which celebrated the theme “Charles James: Beyond Fashion.” The “Black Panther” actress looked magnificent in a custom brown and green-feathered flapper-inspired look by Prada.

Victoria Beckham was a fashion force to be reckoned with long before she launched a designer clothing brand. The former Spice Girl made her first Met Gala appearance in 2003 wearing a slinky, ethereal Dolce & Gabbana slip dress that was perfectly in line with the night’s theme: “Goddess: the Classical Mode.”

Rihanna has continued to up her fashion game for each of the Met Galas she’s attended so far, but her very first appearance still stands out. The pop star donned a dreamy white Georges Chakra gown with an embellished halter neckline for the 2007 ball, which had a “Poiret: King of Fashion” theme.

Newlyweds Amal Clooney and George Clooney looked red-hot during 2015’s “China: Through the Looking Glass”-themed Met Gala. The stunning human rights attorney donned a strapless Maison Margiela gown created by designer John Galliano, while the actor sported a tuxedo with a red pocket square to coordinate with his missus. Although he’d attended the annual event at least once before, it was Amal’s first time scoring an invite to fashion’s biggest night.

Katy Perry was put on the Met Gala guest list for the first time in 2009 when the theme was “The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion.” The pop star inspired in a futuristic electric blue Tommy Hilfiger number featuring a metal halter neckline and coordinating arm cuff.

Sarah Jessica Parker kept things simple during her very first Met Gala in 1995. The actress — who wouldn’t make her debut as fashionista Carrie Bradshaw on “Sex and the City” for another three years — chose an uncomplicated black velvet silhouette for her debut at the “Haute Couture”-themed benefit that year.

Reese Witherspoon was a Met Gala late bloomer — she attended the soiree for the first time in 2014. The Oscar winner wowed in a bold pink Stella McCartney gown with a cat-eye-shaped strapless neckline for the “Charles James: Beyond Fashion”-themed benefit.

For her Met Gala debut in 2010 — when the theme was “American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity” — Kristen Stewart rocked an asymmetrical Chanel number that landed her on many worst dressed lists.

How far she’s come since then! Kendall Jenner attended the Met Gala for the first time in 2014. She kept things simple in an off-white strapless Topshop mermaid gown during the “Charles James: Beyond Fashion”-themed event.

Kylie Jenner made her Met Gala debut in 2016 when the theme of the evening was “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” She wowed in an intricately beaded Balmain number with a fringed skirt that left tiny cuts and scrapes along her legs. (Apparently they weren’t kidding when they said “beauty is pain.”) The makeup mogul didn’t seem to mind, though: She later described the 2016 Met Gala as the “best moment of 2016.”


Kate Hudson played into the “Goddess: the Classical Mode” theme for her first Met Gala in 2003. She donned a white toga-style Stella McCartney number suited for the gods.

Miley Cyrus nailed her first Met Gala appearance. The singer-actress paired short, spiky hair with a glittering black mesh Marc Jacobs gown over a flesh-toned slip to celebrate the “PUNK: Chaos To Couture” theme in 2013.

Jennifer Lopez took her first trip down the Met Gala red carpet with then-boyfriend Diddy back in 1999 when the theme was “Rock Style.” J.Lo looked glam in a satin blush halter gown and matching fur coat while her rapper beau had tons of swag in a white three-piece suit.

A lot has changed since Blake Lively was first invited to the Met Gala in 2008! The “Gossip Girl” actress made her first appearance at the “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy”-themed benefit in an elegant black Ralph Lauren mermaid gown featuring a feathered skirt. Her then-boyfriend, co-star Penn Badgley, was on hand for her debut, but she and hubby Ryan Reynolds have since become a Met Gala power couple.

The theme of the 2005 Met Gala was “The House of Chanel,” so it only made sense that Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen wore dresses by the design house for their debut at the bash. MK chose a white boho maxidress for the occasion, while Ashley donned a gold embroidered midi-length dress with a high-low hemline. Both featured floral accents, allowing the twins to complement one another without matching.

Sienna Miller delivered a snooze while making her Met Gala debut during 2006’s “AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion”-themed event. (To make matters worse, she co-chaired the evening!) The English actress donned a gold sequined Burberry mini with an empire waist. She completed her underwhelming look with black tights and black chunky heels. NEXT!

Another beauty who donned gold while making her Met Gala debut? Cate Blanchett! The Australian actress — who served as a co-chair during 2007’s “Poiret: King of Fashion”-themed event — glowed in a Balenciaga creation featuring tiers of beaded fringe.

Lady Gaga performed at the 2010 Met Gala but didn’t actually stroll up those iconic red-carpet-lined steps until she was officially invited as a guest in 2015. The Mother Monster didn’t disappoint that year, donning a custom Balenciaga by Alexander Wang creation for the “China: Through the Looking Glass”-themed event. She wore a feathered kimono-style cape atop a black rhinestone jumpsuit and topped off her look with an extravagant coordinating headpiece.

A baby-faced Kate Moss looked anything but mellow in a canary-yellow Calvin Klein creation while making her Met Gala debut in 1995 at the “Haute Couture”-themed event.

Surprisingly, Drew Barrymore has only attended the Met Gala once! She chose an unforgettable black lace Oscar de la Renta gown for the 2006 “Anglomania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion”-themed event. We can only hope she’ll be asked back again some day!

Zendaya consistently knocks it out of the park at the Met Gala, and her 2015 debut was no exception! The fashion darling topped many best dressed lists in a Fausto Puglisi mini with an elaborate train featuring a sun motif during the “China: Through the Looking Glass”-themed event.

Salma Hayek first attended the Met Gala in 1997. For the “Gianni Versace”-themed event, the actress appropriately paid homage to the late designer by donning a black one-shoulder Versace creation with a thigh-high slit.

Nick Jonas attended the Met Gala for the first time with his brothers back in 2012, but his wife, Priyanka Chopra, made her Met Gala debut during 2017’s “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between”-themed event. The actress donned a trench coat-inspired gown by Ralph Lauren, who also created the singer’s ensemble. Priyanka and Nick tied the knot the following year and later revealed that by the time they posed together on fashion’s biggest night, they’d already been secretly communicating for months after he slid into her DMs in the summer of 2016.

Go big or go home! Everything about Anne Hathaway’s first Met Gala look in 2006 was larger than life. The Oscar-winning actress sported a voluminous bouffant hairdo and a puffed-up purple Marc Jacobs minidress gathered at the waist for the “Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion”-themed party that year.

For her first Met Gala in 2010 — which was themed “American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity” — pop star and fashion designer Gwen Stefani donned a creation from her very own L.A.M.B. line. She wore a champagne-hued gown with sheer tulle wrapped around the bodice, which allowed her black undergarments to peer through.

Jessica Simpson attended the Met Gala for the first time in 2001 when the theme was “Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years.” So while her strapless watercolor-inspired gown in pastel shades of blue, pink and purple was certainly very pretty, it didn’t exactly make a lot of sense.

Diane Kruger made capes cool way before they were all the rage. For her first Met Gala — the “Dangerous Liaisons”-themed event in 2004 — she wowed in a champagne silk number by Balenciaga that was adorned with a flowy cape wrap tied around her neck.

Madonna came down to earth for her Met Gala debut in 1997 at the “Gianni Versace”-themed bash. The Queen of Pop chose an intergalactic-print gown and wrap by the designer of the evening.

Iconic! Cardi B is still relatively new to the fashion scene, so she just made her Met Gala debut at the “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”-themed event in 2018. The rapper — who was heavily pregnant with her first child, daughter Kulture, at the time — was a vision in white in a papal-inspired pearl-embellished ensemble created by Moschino designer Jeremy Scott, who served as her escort in a coordinating look.

Fashion “it” girl Janelle Monae sported a menswear-inspired Chanel ensemble while making her Met Gala debut during 2011’s “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty”-themed event.

Nicole Kidman made her Met Gala debut during 2003’s “Goddess: The Classical Mode”-themed event — and also pulled double duty as one of the evening’s co-chairs. She selected a beaded one-sleeve Tom Ford for Gucci creation for the occasion … and narrowly missed a wardrobe malfunction thanks to the dress’s dangerously low-cut asymmetrical neckline.


Heidi Klum channeled “Dynasty” in a black gown with a thigh-high slit during the 2003 Met Gala, which was themed “Goddess: The Classical Mode.” It was the first time the supermodel scored an invite to the annual event.

Nicki Minaj kept things surprisingly tame during her Met Gala debut at 2013’s “Punk: Chaos to Couture”-themed event. The rapper sported a simple Tommy Hilfiger gown with midriff cut-outs and a train. Thank goodness she’s started stepping things up since then!

A brunette, pre-fame Hailey Bieber made her Met Gala debut at 2015’s “China: Through the Looking Glass”-themed event. She donned a darling long-sleeved Topshop mini with a high neckline for the occasion.

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