The first Monday of May marks the most prestigious event of the fashion calendar – the Met Gala. For those who don’t already know, this is an invite-only annual fundraising event for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City. It’s Anna Wintour’s passion project: she approves the exclusive guest list and invites celebrities to co-host alongside her. This year’s selection of hosts has to be Wintour’s finest pick to date. Amal Clooney, Donatella Versace and Rihanna make up the ideal fashion-industry ‘holy trinity’ for the 2018 Met Gala, themed Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. 

But what do a barrister specialising in international law and human rights, a fashion mogul and one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people have in common? For starters, all are highly respected leaders in their respective fields. And, when it comes to the Met Gala, they know how to deliver and interpret the various exhibition themes well. So you can imagine the anticipation over how they will interpret one of the most potentially controversial Met Gala themes yet. With a combined 24 Galas between them as co-hosts, from 1995 to 2017, here are the most memorable gowns they have given us to marvel at over the years.

Amal Clooney

Lebanese-British lawyer and activist Amal Alamuddin Clooney has an impressive law career, which includes handling high-profile cases such as those of former Ukranian prime minster Yulia Tymoshenko, Muammar al-Qaddafi’s intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi and WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange. And her style file is just as praiseworthy, serving only the best on and off the red carpet.

Amal made her Met Gala debut in 2015, and tonight will mark her second appearance. The 2015 theme was China: Through the Looking Glass, to which she wore a deep-red (theme-inspired) custom Maison Margiela Artisanal gown by John Galliano.

Amal Clooney Met Gala 2015

Met Gala 2015

Donatella Versace

Fashion maven Donatella Versace became the artistic director of the iconic Versace empire in 1997 after the death of her brother Gianni Versace, to whom she was a muse. This youthful sexagenarian is a fashion industry favourite who pretty much summed up her style as ‘… not that big. I wear heels, tight pants, and I wear diamonds.’ This is a style template she’s stayed true to at all of the 16 Met Gala exhibitions she’s attended – in the form of tight dresses/jumpsuits, skyscraper heels and diamonds, of course. Donatella always exhibits an understanding of the theme, while staying true to her signature figure-hugging Versace silhouette.

A special mention must go to the iconic green Versace gown that Jennifer Lopez later wore to the Grammys in 2000, which still appears in Instagram searches today.

Donatella Versace Met Gala

Met Gala 1999

Donatella Versace Met gala 2013

Met Gala 2013

Donatella Versace hosts Met Gala

Met gala 2015

Rihanna

She’s a Grammy Award-winning artist with an innovative cosmetics range that shook the table with its debut in 2017, and really, Rihanna is a style muse who needs no formal introduction. To call Riri a triple threat would be an understatement of the pop culture gems and moments she’s blessed us with since she hit the scene in 2005. And who knew when she attended her first Met gala in 2007 that she would become the ultimate woman to look out for at every other exhibition to follow?

Rihanna Met Gala looks

Met Gala 2014

Miss Fenty raised the bar and broke the Internet in 2015 when she hit the red carpet in this canary yellow Guo Pei gown, which took three years to make by hand before Rihanna discovered it.

Rihanna Guo Pei gown

Met Gala 2015

All eyes were on the Fenty Beauty founder once again for the Rei Kawakubo/Commes des Garçons: Art of the in-between theme. She’s dressed in Comme des Garçons.

Rihanna Comme des Garcons

Met Gala 2017

And now we wait to be knocked off our seats once again by this trio as they co-host the Met Gala 2018 tonight.