Fashion’s biggest night is back. Met Gala 2023 kicks off this evening and is certain to bring out the biggest stars and the fiercest looks. The theme for the year is “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty,” which is a tribute to the late German fashion designer who served as the creative director for major fashion houses such as Chanel and Fendi.
This night will be particularly special because some of the women in rap are set to make their Met Gala debuts. Ice Spice, who only recently broke out with her hit song “Munch,” is reportedly attending tonight’s event as Anna Wintour’s “special guest.” Doja Cat, who has been revered as a rising fashion icon as of late, is also expected to be in attendance.
For years, ever since Lil’ Kim’s entry into the space, several women in hip-hop and R&B have graced the red carpet in daring fashion looks. Check out some of the most iconic looks from the Met Gala below.
1999: Lil’ Kim
Image caption: Lil’ Kim 1999 Met Gala from Getty/Ron Gaella
Lil’ Kim walked so many of the rap girls who came after her could run. The theme of the 1999 Met Gala was “Rock Style,” and everyone in attendance was talking about Lil’ Kim. The Bad Boy artist was the first rapper to be invited and attend fashion’s biggest night, and she didn’t disappoint. She walked in rocking a hot pink two-piece Versace set that put her body on full display. She also wore a real fur coat that nearly brushed the floor and pink, snakeskin boots. And channeling the style from her “Crush On You” video, Kim wore a pink wig with blonde highlights. The look was later criticized for its revealing nature, but at the time, Kim said, “Everyone was just raving about it.”
Image caption: Eve 2003 Met Gala from Getty
In 2003, Eve attended the Met Gala for the first time. The theme of the night was “Goddess: The Classical Mode.” Eve wore an elegant black gown with ruffle details designed by Tom Ford. That year, Eve was enjoying a successful rap career and was set to star in the sitcom Eve as a fashion designer named Shelly Williams.
2012: Azealia Banks
Image caption: Azealia Banks 2012 Met Gala from Twitter
The theme was “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations.” Azealia Banks, who was quickly establishing herself as the next female rapper to watch, attended the Met Gala with designer Alexander Wang, wearing a leather mini dress with dramatic cutouts. This is the only year Banks attended the fashion event.
Image caption: Solange 2017 Met Gala from Getty/Jackson Lee
On the heels of the release of her critically acclaimed album A Seat at the Table, Solange attended the 2017 Met Gala with the theme “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between.” The singer donned a dramatic Thom Browne bubble jacket that was covering a white button-down shirt and matching pants. In an Instagram post following the event, Solange stated that her look paid homage to Missy Elliott’s inflated garbage bag look she wore in the 1997 music video for “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly).” Missy Elliott has surprisingly never attended the Met Gala.
2018: Nicki Minaj
Image caption: Nicki Minaj 2018 Met Gala from Getty/Jason Kempin
Nicki Minaj showed up and showed out for the 2018 Met Gala. The theme of the night was “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” and the rapper showed up in a regal red and black, strapless gown designed by Oscar de la Renta. The gown also incorporated intricate beading and embroidery work, including a cross and rosary around the waist area. Minaj’s ensemble was also accessorized with a diamond choker, bracelets, and earring set designed by Jacob & Co. This night marked one of Nicki’s first fashion appearances eight months after her infamous brawl with Cardi B during New York Fashion Week.
Image caption: SZA 2018 Met Gala from Getty/Theo Wargo
2018 was a big year for the girls. SZA, who recently dropped her chart-topping album CTRL, donned a gown fitting for the night’s theme of “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” The singer wore an angelic Versace gown with pink tulling, a beaded bodice, and thigh-high stiletto boots to match. She completed the look with a bold gold headpiece that mimicked a crown or halo.
2019: Cardi B
Image caption: Cardi B 2019 Met Gala from Getty
The theme of the 2019 Met Gala was “Camp: Notes of Fashion,” which was an ode to an aesthetic that champions irony and theatrical styles. Cardi B’s 2019 look was one of the most-talked about looks of the night. She wore an avant-garde, red dress designed by Thom Browne. The dress includes 10 feet of tulle and silk organza that it took a 10-person entourage to assist her on the red carpet. The dress was also covered in 30,000 feathers, which were hand-sewn onto the fabric. On her head, Cardi wore a Stephen Jones-designed headpiece that resembled a red diamond. This was a big year for Cardi B. Just months prior to her Met Gala appearance, Cardi became the first female artist to occupy the top three slots on the Billboard/Hip-Hop airplay chart for “Backin It Up,” “Twerk,” and “Money.”
Image caption: Saweetie 2021 Met Gala from Getty/Taylor Hill
The theme of the 2021 Met Gala was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” and Saweetie showed up in a gown that held sentimental value. The rapper stunned in a Christian Cowan goal that had “10 million crystals,” that shifted from hues of pink, red, and white. The gown was also fitted with a cape that Saweetie noted pays homemade to her culture. “My cape represents the Black American heritage flag and the Filipino flag,” she shared, also noting that the piece “is very heavy.”
2022: Megan Thee Stallion
Image caption: Megan Thee Stallion 2022 Met Gala from Getty/Gotham
Megan Thee Stallion made her Met Gala debut in 2022. The theme of the night was “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” and the Houston native wowed fans in a luxurious gold cut-out gown from Moschino. The accompanying gold shawl included detailing that mimicked a bird’s feathers. Megan’s appearance was particularly memorable because it came amidst her ongoing legal battle with Tory Lanez over the 2020 shooting.
Image caption: Lizzo 2022 Met Gala from Getty/Taylor Hill
Lizzo’s 2022 look was to die for. The singer and rapper showed up in black Thom Browne with gold, hand-embroidery along the cape. In addition to a stack of gold chokers, Lizzo also brought her flute, Sasha Flute, to the Met Gala red carpet.