The 50 Greatest Met Gala Dresses Of All Time, From Classic Gowns To Avant-Garde Stunners

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The Met's Costume Institute Gala is the most exciting red carpet for fashion. Starlets, models, and A-list veterans team up with top designers to showcase ensembles that reflect (however loosely) the year's theme, and the results are often extreme. While the Oscars and other handful of major film and television awards always bring memorable looks, the Met Gala dresses are really where the heavy-hitters come to play. While sartorial choices at other events are often influenced by mainstream appeal and industry politics, the Met Gala offers a stage without typical rules. This is where stars and designers push the envelope, and good or bad, this carpet never fails to disappoint.

As anticipation mounts for this year's May 4 event, it's only appropriate that we take a look back at the greatest Met Ball looks of years past. From classic perfection and jaw-dropping statements to avant-garde stunners, these 50 looks have earned a place at the top of the archives.

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