All The Times Stars Wore Vintage Dresses To The Met Gala

These days, spotting an archival piece at the Met Gala is as normal as seeing Blake Lively, Gigi Hadid, or Rihanna on those famous steps. While many attendees snatch looks right off the runway or wear custom creations, over the past few years, there has been a growing contingent who pulls looks from decades prior. Last year saw numerous lucky friends of Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld pull from the house’s archives, but if you thought the vintage at the Met Gala trend started in this decade, you’d be sorely mistaken. Vintage has had a place on the Met Gala red carpet for almost as long as there has been a Met Gala red carpet. In this century alone, Lily-Rose Depp, Victoria Beckham, and Anne Hathaway have provided us with some memorable pre-worn moments. And that’s not even mentioning Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen who, for a while, attended the event every year in pieces sourced from the depths of the Chanel, Givenchy, and Dior archives.

This year’s Met Gala is still weeks away, but we can already predict we’ll see a parade of pre-loved pieces on the stairs, not just because it’s currently the “cool thing to do,” but this year’s theme, “Sleeping Beauties” lends itself to unearthing archival fashion. So, as we await the first Monday in May, let’s take a look back at some of the best vintage moments at the Met Gala over the last 20 years.

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Gala co-chair Dua Lipa wore what might be one of Karl Lagerfeld’s most notable bridal looks ever to the 2023 Met Gala, which honored the late German designer. The singer arrived at the event in a Chanel fall 1992 haute couture dress, originally modeled by Lagerfeld muse Claudia Schiffer.

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Of course, Chanel ambassador Jennie also got to dive into the brand’s archives for the 2023 Gala, attending her first-ever Met Ball in a white mini dress from the fall 1990 collection.

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The oldest look of the evening was worn by Chanel ambassador and Gala co-chair Penelope Cruz, who walked the famed steps in a Chanel spring 1988 haute couture bridal gown first worn by Lagerfeld’s close friend and muse Inés de la Fressange.

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The only person to wear a vintage piece designed by Lagerfeld that was not Chanel was Vanessa Kirby, who instead opted to represent the designer’s tenure as the creative director of Chloé. The actress showed off the beautiful back of her 1983 trompe l’oeil shower dress, which sprayed crystals down the fabric.

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Nicole Kidman likely felt very comfortable in her vintage Chanel dress, as she wore it 19 years prior when starring in a Chanel No. 5 commercial directed by Baz Luhrmann. Lagerfeld designed the dress specifically for Kidman to wear in the ad, which is one of the most iconic (and expensive) fashion commercials of all time.

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It’s not only the stars who can have fun with vintage on the Met Gala carpet. In 2023, designer Tory Burch, who often wears archival designs to the event, wore a tiered, black Chanel dress from the brand’s spring 1995 haute couture collection.

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Likely the most controversial moment in the Met Gala’s history occurred when Kim Kardashian arrived to the 2022 event in the embellished, nude Jean Louis dress Marilyn Monroe wore to sing “Happy Birthday” to then-president John F. Kennedy in 1962. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum in Orlando loaned the dress to Kardashian, but many—including Bob Mackie, who helped create the dress for Monroe—did not think the reality star should have worn it. “[Marilyn] was a goddess,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “And it was done for her. It was designed for her. Nobody else should be seen in that dress.”

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But while Kardashian took over the headlines for the night, she was not the only attendee at the 2022 Gala to wear vintage. Adut Akech wore a one-of-a-kind emerald green Christian Lacroix 2003 haute couture gown, sourced from Cherie Balch at Shrimpton Couture. Akech and her team actually made the call to wear the dress backwards, allowing for a deep-v plunge moment in the front.

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While Emily Ratajkowski’s over-the-top 2022 Met Gala look may not have been for everyone, she did make quite a statement in her beaded bodice and colorful skirt, courtesy of Versace 1992.

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Amber Valletta looked like the human manifestation of a starburst at the 2022 Met Gala in a vintage, gold lamé Loris Azzaro dress from the ’80s, sourced by Aralda Vintage.

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Throughout her short time in the spotlight, Addison Rae has proven an appreciation for vintage, so it’s not too surprising that she attended her first Met Gala in a Tom Ford dress from 2003.

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Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen basically invented the concept of vintage at the Met Gala (OK, not actually, but they are the most consistent). During their last public appearance at the event back in 2019, the sisters opted for coordinating black leather looks, courtesy of the Chanel archive.

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In 2018, the Olsen twins opted for billowing, vintage Paco Rabanne dresses for the “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination” Met Gala.

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Once again, Burch went the vintage route, this time transforming into a high fashion Little Bo Peep with the help of a vintage Balenciaga dress adorned with a larger-than-life pink bow.

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Once again, the sister coordinated their vintage, wearing all black John Galliano for Christian Dior looks to the 2015 Met Gala.

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A year prior, though, they split up designers, with Mary-Kate opting to wear a striped, vintage Gianfranco Ferré jacket dress, and Ashley going for a dark blue button-down vintage Chanel number.

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Not only did Anne Hathaway attend 2013’s “Punk: Chaos to Couture” Met Gala in a sheer, vintage Valentino dress (with Debbie Harry-inspired bleach blonde hair), but she also walked the steps by the side of Valentino Garavani himself.

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While Hathaway’s vintage looks still fell well within the theme of 2013’s Gala, Mary-Kate eschewed the dress code, opting to pave her own way in a dark blue, vintage Chanel slip dress topped with a fur-adorned, marigold Balmain robe (also vintage, of course).

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Similarly, her sister, Ashley, wore a bright orange, embroidered gossamer gown—a vintage Dior creation.

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The bright yellow Givenchy pantsuit model Coco Rocha wore to the 2012 Met Gala actually once belonged to Elizabeth Taylor. Rocha bought the ensemble at an auction, and though it came with a red wine stain from its original wearer, Rocha wasn’t pressed when the blemish couldn’t be removed. “After I had it cleaned, I took it to show the editors at Vogue and we could still see the stain,” she told USA Today. “We all agreed that since it was Liz Taylor’s wine stain, it’s OK to wear as is.”

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In 2011, Ashley wore a vintage black Dior dress with voluminous ivory sleeves to the “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” Met Gala.

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Meanwhile, her sister provided the color in a long-sleeved maxi dress with teal detailing at the cuffs and neck—a vintage Givenchy creation.

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Sevigny actually pulled her vintage McQueen gown straight from her own closet. The late designer had made it especially for her when she presented an award to him back in 1998.

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Burch once again opted for vintage at the 2011 Gala, attending in a one-shoulder Jean Patou gown with floral lace detailing.

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Mary-Kate was alone in vintage at the 2009 event when the actress-turned-designer wore a silver, tiered Christian Lacroix dress. Her sister, meanwhile, opted to use the opportunity to show off a look from their then-three-year-old brand, The Row.

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The style icon wore a sheer, beaded vintage Giorgio Armani coat dress to the Met Gala in 2008.

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Katie Holmes embraced the 2008 theme, “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy” by pairing her sequin-covered vintage Giorgio Armani dress with electric blue heels, evoking the color scheme of many famous superheroes.

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It seems 2008 was a big year for vintage at the Met, because Kate Bosworth also attended in an archive design, walking the steps in a vintage Chanel haute couture dress on the arm of Karl Lagerfeld himself.

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In 2007, model Jessica Stam attended the event in a patterned John Galliano for Dior spring/summer 1998 couture dress featuring a completely open back draped in orange beads.

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Many people had mixed feelings about the vintage Saint Laurent dress Kirsten Dunst wore to the Met Gala in 2007, which she accessorized with a flapper-style headband.

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Selma Blair attended the 2005 Met Gala in a vintage Chanel dress, but unfortunately, she had to leave the event early in order to head to Vancouver and film her movie, The Fog. “I have to catch a plane,” she told People at the time. “I feel like a Cinderella jetting off.”

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