Met Gala: Beauty Backtrack

5 min read

It’s the event that attracts fashionable attendees from all over the world to New York and with the annual selection of famous faces, iconic designers and personalities taking to the red carpet in theme-inspired gowns, the panache is predictable. is continuing the Met Gala countdown with some of the best beauty looks from previous years.

By Jemma Walker

This year offers an unexpected twist, in an unfathomable schedule clash, the Met Gala and Chanel’s cruise 2015 show in Seoul are both taking place today – yet Karl Lagerfeld’s name is still on the attendee list. The mystery continues as the countdown to the Met Gala has begun and the usually predictable red carpet-presence remains clouded – which only increases our anticipation for the ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’ event. The annual fundraiser supporting the venue offering homage to chairman Anna Wintour’s iconic event, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, will be alive with the buzz of anticipation in New York this evening.  

Last year’s theme, ‘Charles James: Beyond Fashion’ offered a drastic alternative to 2013’s ‘PUNK: Chaos to Couture’ and it seems this year’s Met Gala will continue to amaze with designs incorporating Chinese connotations. With Kabuki beauty seeping through onto the spring/summer runway there’s no better time for an Asian-inspired beauty revamp and we anticipate New York will be awash with the trend this evening. Earlier this week we looked at some of the gorgeous gowns to emerge on one of the undisputed highlights of the fashion calendar and now, before the fundraiser begins, we’re backtracking through some of the most unforgettable beauty looks that – whether demure or bold – made an impact.  

The Bold Lip

Whether it’s Taylor Swift’s signature look or an experimental trial, teaming a bold colour-clashing lip with a sophisticated gown is always a triumphal match. Back in 2011, a blonde Emma Stone opted for a vivid pink lip while draped in a sultry floral Lanvin design. The impeccable mixture of the sophisticated gown, youthful make-up and slightly undone locks offered the perfect combination for the then 22-year old. Last year Joan Smalls began the lip colour-lust of the season with a daring dark purple lip and long fishtail plait  – courtesy of renowned make-up artist Sir John – before accompanying Vera Wang to the event dressed in a demure nude gown. 

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Intricate Tresses       

The Met Gala offers homage to creativity, with the unique themes continuing to emerge year after year, it’s no wonder beauty evolutions continue. Blake Lively and Diane Kruger embraced the ‘PUNK: Chaos to Couture’ theme in 2013 with texturised up-dos, wrapping their locks into edgy defying styles. Last year Sarah Jessica Parker didn’t only stun onlookers with her autographed Oscar de la Renta gown, her oversized up-do adorning a vintage crown of white gardenia flowers added dramatic flare to her already unforgettable entrance. 

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The Smoky Eye

Long has the smoky eye topped beauty lists, a sultry look worth perfecting for every event, however these style icons take the trend to new heights. Anne Hathaway teams her platinum crop with a gothic black vintage Valentino gown and darkened eyes, fully embracing punk influence. Injecting subtle dark purple undertones into her beauty look compliments the actress’s pale completion and pale pink lip tint – much like Kate Bosworth’s gold infused shading. Flashback to 2011 and it’s refreshing to see Mary-Kate Olsen injecting a little of her bold personality into her Met style, accessorizing her vintage Givenchy Haute Couture gown with Nicholas Kirkwood platforms and emerald jewels. The scarlet tones of her gown flow into her beauty routine with a bronzed glow and deep red smoked eyes – an unusual alternative – but alongside her blonde textured waves it’s perfect.  

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Natural Beauty

These stars let their skin do the talking, celebrating their natural complexion with a dust of blusher and gentle highlighting for a timeless, effortless approach to beauty. The key is in the detail, from Emma Stone’s loose plait secured with her own locks, Alexa Chung’s untouched waves and gentle eye liner to Cate Blanchett’s flawless skin teamed with a sheer lip tint and brush of mascara – whether on the red carpet or exploring New York, these women embody natural beauty.   

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50’s Beauty

Just as we’re backtracking to find some of our most beloved beauty looks over the years, Reese Witherspoon does so with her beauty style. The Oscar winning actress stepped out wearing a bright pink Stella McCartney gown and gently curled tresses that reminded us of Lauren Bacall, after all 50’s beauty is an era worth celebrating and by adding a little modernity with a swipe of pink lipstick, the look was ready for the red carpet. Back in 2007 for the ‘Poiret: King of Fashion’ theme, Kate Bosworth revealed a similar look whilst wearing a silver Prada gown – let’s hope tonight brings looks inspired by previous iconic eras.   

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With guests having to make the decision between Karl Lagerfeld’s much-anticipated event in Seoul or the renowned Met Gala celebrations, all eyes will be on the red carpet for more than one reason this year. will be bringing you the highlights from both events, including whether Karl makes a miraculous appearance in New York.