Rihanna certainly knows how to make an entrance at the Met Gala. It’s an art she’s fine-tuned over the years. Her very first appearance at the lauded ode to fashion was at 2009’s staging, which celebrated the exhibition “The Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion. From there, an impressive streak of viral outfits have been delivered and most recently culminated in her highly-anticipated (and long-awaited) arrival at 2023’s celebration of the exhibition, “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty.”
The star arrived long-after the bulk of other attendees. She was dressed in a cocoon-like Valentino number accessorized with playful cat-eye sunglasses. The look was an inventive homage to the brides that frequently appeared in the collections of late designer Karl Lagerfeld, specifically at Chanel.
It was not the first, and certainly not the last, time Rihanna sent the world into a tizzy at the Met Gala. Another enduring classic: the 2018 Met Gala, where Rihanna served as co-chair alongside Donna Karan and Amal Clooney, and kicked off the “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” costume exhibit. She shut down the evening in a custom creation by John Galliano, complete with a mitre hat. (Her fans dubbed her “Pope Rihanna.”)
In 2015, the year that showcased China’s influence in fashion, Rihanna shut down the red carpet when she swanned in wearing a canary-yellow cape of legendary proportions. The couture piece by Guo Pei took two years to make (and twice as many men to carry), and would go down as one of the most memorable looks to ever make its way up the museum’s grand staircase.
It wouldn’t be the first time—or the last—that Rihanna delivered a pitch-perfect homage to the evening’s honoree. In 2017, when the exhibit highlighted Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, Rihanna managed to make an architectural CDG confection covered in floral fabrics layered and pulled apart like petals look next-level. She hasn’t had to rely on avant-garde embellishments or impossibly extravagant trains to go rogue, either. In 2014, Rihanna sported a relatively understated hip-hugging, navel-grazing Stella McCartney crop top that, while perfectly on trend, was not exactly Charles James–inspired. In other words, expect the unexpected when it comes to Rihanna, particularly at this year’s Met Gala, when her name is on the invitation.
Originally published in Vogue.com.