Nobody knows how to work (work, work, work, work, work) the Met Gala red carpet like Rihanna.
In recent years, the Bad Gal’s consistently topped every best-dressed list on the first Monday in May, showing up in spectacular styles ranging from 2015’s golden Guo Pei cape to 2018’s pope-inspired couture.
But Rihanna didn’t always reign over fashion’s biggest night. In fact, the looks she chose for her first few Met Galas in the late 2000s (including a white halter gown and a puff-sleeved black pantsuit) were downright demure.
It may have taken some time for the Grammy winner to master the art of dressing for the Met, but these days, Rihanna might as well be the only girl
in the world on the red carpet.
Below, a look back at every outfit the style superstar’s worn to the Met Gala.
Rihanna snagged her first-ever invite to Vogue’s star-studded fundraiser just a few months after the release of “Umbrella,” the song that skyrocketed her musical career.
For her Met debut, the Barbadian beauty wore a bedazzled white Georges Chakra halter gown paired with black fishnet gloves and a razor-sharp asymmetrical bob, hinting at her “Good Girl Gone Bad” era to come.
The “Rude Boy” singer suited up for the “Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion”-themed fête looking fresh off the runway in Dolce & Gabbana.
Black leather biker gloves, an electric blue cat eye and a blond-streaked pixie cut added edge to the menswear-inspired moment.
Just call her Rihpunzel. The songstress sported a striking waist-length scarlet braid to the “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” gala, along with a single-sleeved black lace gown by Stella McCartney covered in light-catching beads.
Christian Louboutin sandals and emerald Wilfredo Rosado earrings finished off the star’s romantic look.
Croc ‘n’ roll! Rihanna shimmed into a skintight, reptile-embossed leather Tom Ford dress the following year, baring her claws with a set of jet-black acrylics.
She styled her half-shaved hair in a trio of tall buns ad wore minimal makeup, allowing her curve-hugging gown to take center stage.
Leave it to Rih to make a crop top work on the year’s fanciest and most formal red carpet.
The “We Found Love” hitmaker was white-hot in this tattoo-baring two-piece Stella McCartney ensemble, which she spiced up with plenty of bling — including a stunning diamond choker from Jacob & Co.
Unquestionably the look that cemented Rihanna’s status as the Met Gala’s reigning “Fashion Killa,” the musician’s yellow fur-trimmed Guo Pei gown was a flawless choice for the “China: Through The Looking Glass”-themed gala.
Weighing in at a whopping 55 pounds, requiring around two years to make and topped off with a regal gilded headpiece, the canary-colored couture birthed countless memes; Rihanna later admitted she worried about it being “too much” for the occasion.
“I remember being so scared to get out of that car … I was driving past the red carpet, and I was just seeing, like, gowns, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m a clown. People are going to laugh at me,” she told “Access Hollywood” in 2020.
“I circled like, three times, I’m not even joking. And finally, I was like, ‘Whatever, let’s go. Let’s just go. Let’s just go.’ I know. I don’t regret it.’”
Nor should she.
The Bad Gal looked blooming beautiful at the “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art Of The In-Between” gala, embracing the evening’s “avant-garde” dress code in a pink multi-petaled look from (where else?) Comme des Garçons.
Rihanna went bolder with her beauty look than usual — opting for dramatic rosy blush and eye makeup along with a burgundy lip — and topped things off with a sleek top knot.
As for those thigh-high strappy sandals? “The shoes took me an hour to get into,” she told Vogue’s André Leon Talley on the red carpet.
Rihanna served as a gala co-chair the following year — and served quite the look on the carpet.
As a nod to the night’s “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” theme, she showed up in a papal-inspired minidress, robe and mitre by Maison Margiela Artisanal’s John Galliano, all completely encrusted with pearls and crystals.
“It was heavy, every step was a squat,” she confessed to “Entertainment Tonight” a few days after the ball. “I promise you my butt gained from that night.”
Rihanna arrived fashionably late at the “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” gala alongside boyfriend A$AP Rocky, marking the couple’s red carpet debut.
Of her oversized black Balenciaga coat dress and beanie, she told Essence“I wanted a look that seemed very powerful yet feminine, yet a black hoodie which is the thing that we’re usually incriminated by as black people. I wanted to empower that. I wanted to take that and make it mine and make it fashion.”
A sprinkling of jewels from Bulgari, Thelma West and Maria Tash ensured her outfit shone bright like a … well, you know.