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An A-Z of the Most Iconic Met Gala Designers Ever

The first Monday of May tends to be one of the most significant and annual historic fashion events of the year. It can only be the Met Gala.


Held in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, this soirée was established in 1948 as a fundraiser for the Costume Institute. The very first Gala was a midnight dinner and tickets were only $50 each. However, in 1973 the Met Gala was met with significant changes when editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland become a consultant for the Costume Institute, thus introducing annual themes for the balls. Today, the Met Gala is a luxurious, blockbuster event and considered "the jewel in New York City's social crown."


The Gala is regarded to be the most exclusive and renowned event in the world, and one of the biggest fundraising nights in New York City. Since Anna Wintour become the new Vogue editor-in-chief and chairman of the event in 1995, the Gala has broken records year after year such as $9 Million raised in 2013 to a record-breaking $12 Million in 2014. The Gala then looked to surpass a predicted $200 Million USD after 2019. Individual tickets now cost $40,000 for those outside the official guest list to achieve the utmost exclusivity.


Unfortunately in 2020 due to concerns of the worldwide pandemic Covid-19, the Met Gala this year has been indefinitely pushed back. And as much as we fashionistas are saddened that we won't get to scrutinise a plethora of celebrities and their versions of this year's theme, we also won't be able to see designers showcase their latest creations either. So instead, I have curated a list of the best Met Gala designers who have created jaw-droppingly fabulous looks from A all the way to Z.

Let's get into it.



Alexander McQueen

The four-time winner of 'British Designer of the Year' has produced gorgeous looks on celebrities such as Naomi Campbell, Nicole Kidman and Florence Welch. The Alexander McQueen fashion house is now run by creative director Sarah Burton since the designers passing in 2010 and has designed gowns for royalty such as Kate Middleton who wore a McQueen wedding dress.


Burberry

Established in 1856 by Thomas Burberry, this brand originally focused on developing outdoor attire. The brand has since moved into the high fashion market, retaining the iconic Burberry check pattern that is recognisable by almost anyone. Pictured here is Ezra Miller in a pinstripe suit and diamond corset for the theme 'Camp' attempting to merge and bend ideas of gender.


Balmain

Natasha Poly wears a Balmain number, a french brand that has had 10 different creative directors since the death of founder Pierre Balmain in 1982. With Olivier Rousteing being a relatively unknown designer but now holding onto the reigns as creative director, he has brought a fresh take on the brand's aesthetic that remains to this day. He has also been credited with adding an Asian influence to the clothing, as Asia comprises a huge part of the brand's buyers.


Balenciaga (This designer was the first theme in 1973, 'The World of Balenciaga')

Spanish fashion house Balenciaga has a reputation as a couturier of strong standards and was referred to as "the master of us all" by Christian Dior. Lady Gaga lets us remember founder Cristóbal Balenciaga by being the brand is known to create avant-garde pieces. They have always gone against the rules, guidelines and bourgeoisie status of the governing body of the French industry (Chambre syndicale de la haute couture parisienne).


Bob Mackie

Cher's favourite designer. Award-winning American Bob Mackie has dressed a number of celebrities since designing costumes as far back as the 1960s on broadway. Referred to as "the sultan of sequins" or "the rajah of rhinestones" Bob Mackie has said, "A woman who wears my clothes is not afraid to be noticed."


Chanel

Founded in 1909, fashion house Chanel adopted simple-line designs that were opposite of the hourglass-figure that was achieved by the fashions of the late 19th century. Chanel has been known to use colours that were traditionally associated with masculinity in Europe such as navy blue or grey to denote feminine boldness of character. Mary-Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen and Lily-Rose Depp are featured here wearing classic Chanel that accentuate the timeless designs, such as gold buttons and chains.


Carolina Herrera

After working for designer Emilio Pucci in 1965, she has not only worked her way from appearing on the International Best Dressed List in 1972 but was then elected to its Hall of Fame in 1980. Diana Vreeland, Vogue's editor-in-chief at the time suggested she design a clothing line. A few of her most notable clients have included Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who asked her to design the dress for her daughter Caroline's wedding.

Alicia Keys wears a mint green, hooded, sequin tulle gown inspired by Grace Jones.


Comme Des Garçons

Japanese fashion label Comme Des Garçons (like the boys) has developed a market-based department store concept that stocks its main collections and features their other brands such as Shirt and Play. Rihanna wears an interesting and eccentric dress that is supposed to combat masculinity and femininity in one.


Christian Siriano

Siriano first gained attention after winning the fourth season of American design television show Project Runway.

After being rejected by the Fashion Institute of Technology, Siriano decided to study abroad at the American InterContinental University in London, England. He then interned at Vivienne Westwood and later at Alexander McQueen which is his favourite designer. He moved to New York after graduating. He celebrated the 10th anniversary of his fashion line in February 2018 with a runway show of his Fall 2018 collection. The New York City show featured a diverse set of models, including Ashley Graham, Selma Blair and Danielle Brooks. This interesting look was worn by Michael Urie that merged two looks together for the theme 'camp'.


Calvin Klein

Established in 1968, CK is one of the most well-known brands in the world. It specialises in leather, lifestyle accessories, home furnishings, perfumery, jewellery, watches and ready-to-wear. Starting as a coat shop in New York City, the brand has moved from nearly facing bankruptcy to becoming a billion-dollar company.



Dior

This French fashion house was founded in 1946 by designer Christian Dior. It currently designs and retails leather goods, fashion accessories, footwear, jewellery, timepieces, fragrance, makeup, and skincare products, but also maintains its tradition as a creator of Haute-couture under the Christian Dior Couture division.

Dior has created solid partnerships with Hollywood celebrities and social media influencers, working closely with these individuals to reach a wider range of demographics and re-establish its identity as a new, modern brand, despite the fact that it has been around for a while.



David Laport

Laport has kickstarted his career by creating a modern brand aesthetic which is to contemporise the female form. The cut and fit of a garment is supposed to take centre stage, like this canary yellow piece Solange wears. Specialising in women's wear, Laport takes inspiration from experimental female silhouettes which are sculptural in shape but light and prone to movement. A bright colour palette keeps this image fresh.


Dundas

Peter Dundas is a Norwegian designer who was appointed creative director at Roberto Cavalli. He studied in New York, moved to Paris and became an assistant to Jean-Paul Gautier in 1992 for 10 years, then moved to Christian Lacroix for two years, turned into an artistic director for Pucci and finally arriving at Cavalli. Dundas had developed Pucci's brand history of glamorous, colourful and patterned collections that focused on nightlife as a key inspiration. Art of Elysium named Dundas the recipient of its Visionary Award for 2020, with the designer creating the decorations for its annual gala on the theme of "Heaven".



Donna Karan

Nicknamed The Queen Of Seventh Avenue, Donna Karan is an American fashion designer and the creator of the Donna Karan New York and DKNY clothing labels. The Council of Fashion Designers of America named her Menswear Designer of the Year 1992 and Womenswear Designer of the Year 1990 and 1996. She was a nominee for the latter again in 2003 and was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the CFDA in 2004. She won special CFDA awards in 1985, 1986 and 1987.


Dolce & Gabbana

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana met in Milan in 1980 and designed for the same fashion house. In 1982, they established a designer consulting studio; in time it grew to become "Dolce & Gabbana". They presented their first women's collection in 1985 in Milan, where a year later their store would open its doors.

Having been inspired by the eclectic thrift shop and bohemian styles, Dolce & Gabbana features deeply coloured designs and animal prints. They have been described as "Haute hippy dom" and take inspiration in Italian film history. Domenico says: "When we design it's like a movie. We think of a story and we design the clothes to go with it."

They say that they are more concerned about creating the best and most flattering clothes rather than sparking trends. They once also said that they wouldn't mind if their only contribution to fashion history was a black bra. But Sicily and Sicilian culture is what is most important to the style and identity of Dolce & Gabbana.


Erdem

Known for his use of experimental textiles, vibrant prints, and detailed craftsmanship, Erdem Moralioglu mixes the delicate with the bold. After interning with Vivienne Westwood, ERDEM has received around 11 awards over the years such as from the British Fashion Council and most recently the 2015 British Fashion Council’s Establishment Designer award. He was also nominated by the British Fashion Council for "Designer of the Year 2009" and was named one of the 1000 most influential people in London by the Evening Standard.


Ferragamo

Salvatore Ferragamo first opened the Hollywood Boot Shop in 1923 in California after emigrating from Italy. After returning home, he set up a shoe shop in Florence in 1927. The current shoemaking company regards 1928 as the date of its foundation, however, and it therefore celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2008. After Salvatore's death, the company has continued to display innovative designs and use of materials. Such ingenuity goes back to Salvatore's time in California, when he studied anatomy to make shoes which were more comfortable. Notable innovations include the wedge heel, the shell-shaped sole, the ‘invisible’ sandal, metal heels and soles, the 18-carat gold sandal, the sock-shoe, sculpture heels, and the gloved arch shoe created for the Maharani of Cooch Behar in 1938.


Gucci

Gucci was founded by Guccio Gucci in Florence, Tuscany, in 1921. It has been ranked in the Forbes "World's Most Valuable Brands" list and also the 38th most valuable brand in the world. Gucci is also the highest-selling Italian brand. Gucci's distinctive lines made its products among the most frequently copied in the world in the early 2000s. Pigskin, calf, and imported exotic animal skins were subjected to various methods of fabrication. A particularly iconic touch, introduced in 1964, was the use of the double-G logo for belt buckles and other accessory decorations


Giambattista Valli

An Italian fashion designer whose designs both ready to wear and Haute couture were presented semi-annually during Paris Fashion Week. His designs are one that is a leading and established in the worldwide fashion scene that brings a new approach and meaning to luxury and beauty that attracts a universe of young, modern and international generation. Aiming to be worn by the highly glamorous and sophisticated women from around the globe, Valli has been praised by celebrities and fashion lovers alike, earning him a Star Honoree Award from Fashion Group International in 2011 in New York and Best Designer of the Year Awards from Elle China in 2013 and from Marie Claire Spain in 2015.


Givenchy

The house of Givenchy was founded in 1952 by designer Hubert de Givenchy but after his retirement in 1995 it has been seen by a handful of different directors. Most recently its artistic director was Clare Waight Keller, the first woman to hold that position. In 1954, Hubert de Givenchy presented the first shirt dress (which later evolved into the sack dress in 1957 and he was the first high fashion designer to create a luxury ready-to-wear clothing line, called "Givenchy Université", which was produced in Paris using machinery imported from the United States.