Every Met Gala Theme Ever, Ranked From Fabulous To Just Bizarre

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art's steps aren't simply renowned for serving as the entrance to an impressive array of historical artwork and sculpture, or for functioning as the cafeteria upon which Blair Waldorf and her minions ate each day during the high school years of Gossip Girl. Thanks to the wide range of Met Gala themes, the steps of the museum have also seen thousands of the most beautiful, bizarre, idiosyncratic, and sartorially challenging ensembles worn by the fashion industry's finest as they pose for picture before entering the annual Costume Institute Gala. Created in 1948 as a means of monetarily supporting the museum's costume wing, the Met Ball was reinvigorated in 1995 by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

The rest, as they say, is history, and an incredibly beautiful one at that. A more well-dressed crowd of philanthropists you could not find, many of whom take the gala's annual theme as an excuse to unleash their inner creative virtuoso. And it is the array of sartorial themes, each of which takes its direction from the exhibit at the Costume Institute, which truly makes the Met Ball an unforgettable occasion. From the gala's 1971 Fashion Plate theme to the event's classical Charles James: Beyond Fashion motif in 2014, read on for the definitive ranking of the Met Gala's annual themes.

1. Punk: Chaos to Couture, 2013

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What better excuse to trot out your plaid and spiked finest than a punk-themed ball?

2. Rock Style, 1999

A rocker theme was the ideal way for celebrities and fashion icons to channel their inner rebels.

3. Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy, 2008

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Though Hollywood may not favor its female superheroes quite so much as their male counterparts, the true warriors were women at the 2008 Met Ball

4. The House of Chanel 2005

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Both Coco Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld deserve a hefty round of applause for their contributions to fashion, and the pair received their due admiration at the 2005 Met Ball honoring the House Of Chanel.

5. Cubism and Fashion, 1998

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Art and fashion merged at the cubist-themed 1998 Met Ball. Picasso would have been proud.

6. Dance, 1986

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A dance-themed ball proved genius, from the movement-friendly fashions to the spirit of celebration in the air.

7. Le Belle Époque, 1982

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Beauty was indeed the watchword at 1982's Belle Epoque-themed celebration, from the gowns to the gilded accessories adorning attendees.

8. AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion, 2006

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Alexander McQueen was simply one of the many British designers honored at 2006's AngloMania-themed celebration.

9. Untailored Garments, 1972

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An insouciant spirit characterized 1972's Untailored Garments-themed gala.

10. The World of Balenciaga, 1973

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The beauty and prescient design of Balenciaga dominated 1973's exquisite Met Gala.

11. Romantic and Glamorous Hollywood Design, 1974

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Old Hollywood glamour reigned supreme at 1974's Met Ball.

12. Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations, 2012

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An air of boundary-breaking beauty inspired by two sartorial visionaries lent 2012's Met Ball its unprecedented elegance.

13. American Women of Style, 1975

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Fashion's most powerful influencers took the lead at 1975's Met Ball.

14. Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years, 2001

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An icon of classic American style, Jacqueline Kennedy lent her exquisite taste to both mainstream culture and the 2001 Met Gala.

15. Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century, 2004

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The 18th century took a twist for the modern when the era served as the guiding light behind 2004's eccentric gala.

16. Christian Dior, 1996

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Few designer possess the clairvoyance and precision of Christian Dior, whose style legacy inspired 1996's Met Ball.

17. Yves Saint Laurent: 25 Years of Design, 1983

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The fashion community celebrated the sheer genius of Yves Saint Laurent's 25-year-old career in 1983.

18. Diana Vreeland: Immoderate Style, 1993

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The talented and driven Harper's Bazaar editor was memorialized at the 1993 Met Ball.

19. American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity, 2010

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Women again took the lead at 2010's Met Ball, where attendees including Doutzen Kroes paid tribute to femininity and the power of choice.

20. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, 2011

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2011 Met Ball attendees reflected on the unorthodox genius of Alexander McQueen during the ball.

21. The Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion, 2009

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Top models such as Christy Turlington and Kate Moss were revered at 2009's Met Ball for their influence on the fashion industry.

22. Goddess: The Classical Mode, 2003

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An unexpectedly be-feathered Anna Wintour graced the Met steps in a white gown befitting the gala's goddess theme.

23. Charles James: Beyond Fashion, 2014

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A classic couturier whose work was lost to the winds of time, Charles James's keen eye for design was resurrected in 2014.

24. Gianni Versace, 1997

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The visionary Gianni Versace was honored at 1997's Met Ball, where his sultry and liberated designs were recognized for their sheer brilliance.

25. Fashion Plate, 1971

1971's Met Ball theme may have been vague, but at the very least its "Fashion Plate" exhibit seemed sartorially-motivated.

26. The Glory of Russian Costume, 1976

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The historical garb of Russia gave the 1976 Met Ball an educational and aesthetically-pleasing angle.

27. Vanity Fair: A Treasure Trove, 1977

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The exalted publication took center stage at the 1977 Met Ball.

28. From Queen to Empress: Victorian Dress 1837–1877, 1988

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Propriety and proper attire abounded at 1988's Victoria era-themed Met Ball.

29. Diaghilev: Costumes and Designs of the Ballets Russes, 1978

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Nearly four decades before Black Swan hit theaters in 2010, Met Ball guests welcomed an exhibit highlighting exquisite Russian ballet costumes.

30. Fashions of the Habsburg Era: Austria-Hungary, 1979

Met Ball attendees were given an aesthetic treat and a European history lesson at 1979's Habsburg era-themed gala.

31. The Manchu Dragon: Costumes of China, the Chi'ng Dynasty, 1980

Chinese design from the Chi'ng Dynasty offered a regal atmosphere to the 1980 ball.

32. The Eighteenth-Century Woman, 1981

The oh-so-experimental 1980s kicked off with a glimpse into fashion past with 1981's 18th-century-themed gala.

33. Costumes of Royal India, 1985

The rich patterns and delicate embroideries of India lent incredible depth to the 1985 Met Ball.

34. In Style: Celebrating Fifty Years of the Costume Institute, 1987

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In truly meta fashion, the Met Ball decided to honor its own legacy in 1987.

35. The Age of Napoleon: Costume from Revolution to Empire, 1789–1815, 1989

Napoleonic fashions ignited sartorial artistry at the 1989 gala.

36. Théâtre de la Mode – Fashion Dolls: The Survival of Haute Couture, 1990

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Anna Wintour and her fellow sartorial pundits graced the 1990 Met Ball in adequately experimental garb, playing with the event's unexpected doll theme.

37. Fashion and History: A Dialogue 1992

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Fashion is in part cyclical, and the way a society dresses does reflect current culture, beliefs and politics, making 1992's theme especially provocative.

38. Orientalism: Visions of the East in Western Dress, 1994

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1994's East-Meets-West exhibit spurred gala attendees to sport innovative designs that fused differing cultures into a single garment.

39. Haute Couture, 1995

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Models including Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell celebrated haute couture at the 1995 Met Gala in predictably breathtaking style.

40. Poiret: King of Fashion, 2007

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French designer Paul Poiret's incomparable designs gave the 2007 Met Ball its direction, allowing Cameron Diaz the opportunity to don a spellbinding fuchsia gown with turquoise gems for the affair.

41. Man and the Horse, 1984

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Equestrianism unexpectedly served as the sartorial code behind 1984's Met Ball; perhaps Ralph Lauren was somehow responsible.

Images: Getty Images; Wikimedia Commons