The Met Gala—also known as the world’s most fashionable night—is the annual fundraising event for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Every year, celebrities from around the world come together to celebrate fashion and culture at this exclusive event. With its iconic red carpet moments and unique themes, it's no surprise that the Met Gala has become one of the most anticipated events in New York City. Get ready for a dazzling night of glitz and glamour as we take a look at what you need to know about this iconic annual spectacle.

What is the theme of this year’s Met Gala?

Pharrell Williams, Helen Lasichanh, Chanel Artistic Director Karl Lagerfeld and Beyonce at CHANEL Paris-Salzburg 2014/15 Metiers d'Art Collection in New York City at the Park Avenue Armory on March 31, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/WireImage)
From left Pharrell Williams, his wife Helen Lasichanh, Karl Lagerfeld and Beyoncé. Image: Stefanie Keenan/WireImage.

This theme of this year's gala—which will take place on May 1, 2023—will honor Karl Lagerfeld and pay homage to the late fashion designer who has created collections for Chanel, Fendi, his namesake line, amongst other brands. The Costume Institute, which benefits from the gala, is presenting more than 150 of his garments in its upcoming spring exhibition Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty, which will be on view from May 5, 2023 through July 16, 2023, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  

Who’s co-chairing this year’s Met Gala? 

Michaela Coel, Chewing Gum
Michaela Coel will be co-hosting this year's Met Gala. Image: Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images.

The 2023 Met Gala is co-chaired by Black Panther: Wakanda Forever actress Michaela Coel, along with actress Penélope Cruz, tennis great Roger Federer and singer Dua Lipa. Co-chairs, along with longtime host, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, are responsible for the gala’s guest list and help curate the evening’s menu. Other notable co-chairs in Met Gala history include Idris Elba in 2016 and Serena Williams in 2019. Beyoncé served as an honorary chair in 2013. 

While the guest list is never fully revealed until the night of the gala, celebrities like Janelle Monáe, Kid Cudi and Lizzo are known for their iconic looks on the red carpet and all three have attended the gala at least twice since 2018.

What were some standout entrances at the Met Gala?

Billy Porter at the 2019 Met Gala. Image: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue.

In 2019, Billy Porter did a fabulous Met Gala entrance for the "Camp: Notes on Fashion." From his Cleopatra-inspired entrance, carried in by Broadway actors, to his stunning jumpsuit with expansive gold wings and an intricate gold headpiece, the entire production was a breathtaking spectacle that exuded grandeur and captivated everyone with its sheer opulence.

Law Roach and Zendaya at the 2019 Met Gala "Camp: Notes on Fashion." Image: Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

Zendaya played out all our Cinderella fantasies in her Tommy Hilfiger ballgown that illuminated with the wave of a magic wand in 2019. In true clock strikes midnight fashion, she left one of her see-through slippers on the Met’s staircase.

And the Queen of all the Met Galas is…

With a total of nine appearances, Rihanna has become a regular showstopper on the Met Gala's red carpet, starting with her first walk in 2007. In 2015, she wore a bright yellow dress with an impossibly long train by Guo Pei, one of the few attendees to wear a dress by a Chinese designer for the aptly themed "China: Through the Looking Glass." She was queen of the carpet in 2018—the year she served as a co-host–wowing all in a fully-beaded dress, cape and crown by John Galliano for the Gala’s "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination" theme. In 2022, Rihanna was pregnant with her first child, so the museum presented a stunning marble statue of the singer showing off her pregnant silhouette in her honor. Only time will tell how she’ll make an appearance in 2023; the singer is currently expecting her second baby with partner A$AP Rocky. 

How did the Met Gala start?

Formally called the Costume Institute Benefit, the Met Gala was first hosted 75 years ago in 1948 as a fundraiser for the Costume Institute’s annual exhibit. Originally attended by members of New York’s high society, Wintour transformed it into the black-tie celeb-studded bonanza it is today. Annually, on the first Monday in May, A-list celebrities don designer pieces and flaunt memorable red carpet looks as they ascend the stairs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But it would take a while for the gala to be inclusive. Diana Ross and Iman attended the Met Gala in 1981. Naomi Campbell made her first appearance in 1990. Lil' Kim and P. Diddy were two of the first rappers invited to the celebration in 1999. Oprah Winfrey was the Gala’s first Black co-chair in 2010. In 2021, beauty influencer Jackie Aina became the first Black content creator to attend the Met Gala.

With the Met Gala set to make its much-anticipated annual return, fashion enthusiasts around the world are eagerly awaiting what promises to be an unforgettable event. From its humble beginnings as a fundraiser for the Costume Institute's annual exhibit, this year’s gala promises to be spectacular as always. As we gear up for May 1, fashion enthusiasts can't wait to see what jaw-dropping looks will grace the iconic stairs of the Met this year.