Most controversial Met Gala moments from Marilyns dress to Jay Z spat

This year’s Met Gala will honour Karl Lagerfeld

The theme of the Met Gala 2023 is Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty.

The Met Gala 2023 has already proven controversial since the theme, Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty, was announced by Vogue. The glamorous event will see A-listers honouring the late Chanel designer, but it has sparked criticism from some due to the contentious comments Karl made throughout his life.

These included him saying he was “fed up” with the #MeToo movement and critiquing the Royal Family.

As Hollywood’s glitterati prepare for this year’s extravaganza, we look back at some of the most controversial Met Gala moments of all time.

Kim Kardashian wearing Marilyn Monroe’s dress

Kim Kardashian divided fans when she wore Marilyn Monroe’s iconic jewel-encrusted gown to the Met in 2022. In a bid to squeeze into the dress, the reality star undertook an extreme weight loss regime and claimed she lost 16 pounds in just three weeks. Her drastic transformation was met with criticism from healthcare professionals as well as others who thought it was inappropriate to wear such a historic garment.

Marilyn Monroe wore the ‘Happy Birthday Mr President’ dress in 1962

Kim Kardashian faced even more criticism when a Marilyn Monroe collector claimed that “permanent damage” had been done to the dress. Photos of the dress following the 2022 Met Gala showed rips, stretches and substantial wear and tear. Ripleys later assured that Kim wearing the dress had not caused any damage and a spokesperson said it had been returned “in the same condition it started in”.

Jay Z and Beyonce’s sister fight in lift

Following the 2014 Met Gala, footage from an elevator was leaked which saw Solange Knowles attacking Jay Z as Beyonce stood to one side. After around one minute of Solange punching and kicking the rapper, Beyonce steps in to separate the pair before exiting the elevator to a crowd of paparazzi.

In the aftermath, the family had no choice but to issue a statement, which read: “Jay and Solange each assume their share of responsibility for what has occurred.

“They both acknowledge their role in this private matter that has played out in the public. They both have apologised to each other and we have moved forward as a united family.”

Streaker tries to upstage Hollywood’s finest

2014 was an eventful year at the Met Gala as prior to Jay Z and Solange’s lift spat, a streaker managed to make his way to the red carpet. The prankster had arrived in a stripper-style tearaway suit before whipping it off to reveal his neon pink mankini. Luckily for the stars, he was eventually caught by police.

Sarah Jessica Parker’s problematic headpiece

Sarah Jessica Parker bore the brunt of criticism for wearing a flaming Philip Treacy headdress and a gown she designed with H&M for the 2015 theme, China: Through the Looking Glass. While some had criticised the overall theme for portraying harmful stereotypes, SJP’s look was certainly the most divisive of the night. Writer David Yi said at the time that the look had conformed to the harmful “dragon lady” stereotype, but did note that the Sex and the City star “probably didn’t realise”.

Madonna’s daring sheer gown

Madonna’s racy ensemble at the 2016 Met Gala left little to the imagination as she bared her best assets with just lace to cover her modesty. Following a mixed response to her racy attire, Madonna defended herself saying her outfit was both a “political and fashion statement”. The singer added on Instagram: “If you have a problem with the way I dress it is simply a reflection of your prejudice. I’m not afraid to pave the way for all girls behind me.”

Rihanna’s ‘Pope’ dress

Rihanna stole the show at the 2018 Met Gala as she embodied the Heavenly Bodies theme with her Pope-inspired gown. While the Maison Margiela gown has been hailed as one of the best Met looks ever, it sparked some religious backlash. One critic tweeted at the time: “Showing up with a pope head piece is so offensive to me,” and another fumed: “Very offensive dress do not like it! Appropriating religious ritual dressings!”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Tax the Rich’ gown

Politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez triggered a strong reaction when she showed up to the 2021 Met Gala wearing a statement white gown with “Tax the Rich” emblazoned on the back in large red font. Some, including Donald Trump Jr, felt Alexandria’s message was hypocritical. The former president’s son tweeted: “While she’s hanging out with a bunch of wealthy leftwing elites.” The politician was quick to respond to the backlash saying that New York City elected officials are often invited to the gala. She explained that she had borrowed the dress because “while the Met is known for its spectacle, we should have a conversation about it.”

Celebrities caught smoking in the Met Gala bathroom

Plenty of A-listers have been rumbled for smoking at the Met Gala, including Bella Hadid as she posed in the bathroom with David Walliams’s ex Lara Stone, Paris Jackson and actress Ruby Rose. Rita Ora, Dakota Johnson and Courtney Love were also seen lighting up in photos shared to social media.

Kim Kardashian’s all-black Balenciaga look

Some branded Kim K’s shadow dress at the 2021 Met Gala “distasteful”, including fashion writer Hafsa Lodi who said: “When Muslim women choose to wear skin-covering abayas and burkas, they’re considered stifling and oppressive — the furthest thing from high fashion and glamorous.” Some other critics also questioned how the ensemble was relevant to the theme, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion. Kim eventually clapped back at the backlash, saying: “What’s more American than a T-shirt head to toe?!”

Demi Lovato left early ‘because Nicki Minaj was a b***h’

Singer Demi Lovato revealed that she left the 2016 Met Gala early because “one celebrity was a complete b***h and miserable to be around”. She added to Billboard that the experience was so “terrible” that she got changed and headed straight for an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. While Demi did not name Nicki, eagle-eyed fans speculated that the pair were feuding when Nicki shared a picture of herself alongside designer Jeremy Scott and Lovato, but she only tagged the designer. Demi then shared the same photo with the caption: “This picture pretty much summed up my first and probably last met #cool #sof—ingawkward #notforme #sweatpants #forensicfiles #whatsgood.”

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