It might be an extortionate $33,000 per entry ticket into the Met Gala, and while we have you an exclusive behind-the-scenes view of the pandemonium of last year’s costume gala, here’s a look-back at the 2016 red carpet. With Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology as the theme, fashion news director Rachel Sharp and entertainment editor Jessica Bailey revisit the past while the stars polish their best Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons-inspired shoes. 

Poppy Delevingne

Rachel: It takes a certain kind of woman to carry off a dress like this – figuratively and literally (it probably weighs a tonne). Poppy in Marchesa is a lesson in how to follow dress code with your own personal twist. This is what a dress would look like if a designer was referencing the 20s in fifty years from now. Mesmerising. 

Jessica: She was third to arrive (perhaps not to get lost amongst the sea of bigger names?) but was easily my favourite. The intricacies of this dress have an upmarket Balmain x Yeezy vibe in a very good way. 

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Alicia Vikander

Rachel: This Louis Vuitton dress screams “I’m 27, I’m excited to be here, and thank god I don’t have to climb on stage and do an awards speech tonight!”. Love that she’s let the dress and LV shoe-boots do the talking and kept accessories to a bare minimum – just a gold bangle duo that’s kind of Wonder Woman-does-handcuffs. How very modern. Now, go kick those heels up, girl. Lucky Nicolas Ghesquiere – she’d be a fun date.

Jessica: There is nothing ‘Best Supporting Actress’ about this look. When she won the 2016 Oscar for her role as Gerda in The Danish Girl, she played co-star to Eddie Redmayne’s Lili Elbe. This is very sexy look from her previous strapless yellow LV gown at the Oscars in which accepted said award. And I love it.

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Taylor Swift

Rachel: I kid you not – I had a tier skirt just like this when I was nine, silver sparkles and all. Taylor is co-chair of the gala this year, which begs the question – would Anna Winter (head to toe in regal Chanel Haute Couture) be happy to stand next to a sci-fi reptilian goth on any podium? Probably, yes. Let’s wait for the inevitable post-event documentary and see. But for me right now, it’s all about those shoes. To. Die. Dress? What dress? 

Jessica: I’m impressed. As we were seeing the pictures of Coachella emerge, I was concerned Taylor was trying a little too hard to be a little too cool. Instead, we’re left with not only a woman at the top of the music game, but a woman coming into her own and taking a risk with fashion. There’s no question her statuesque structure can pull off any look a runway model can and this is no exception. The dark lip is hard core for the musician but points for giving it a go.

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Saorise Ronan

Rachel: Okay, okay I know the world loves her (as do I – genius actor, smart, beautiful etc) but I have to say out loud what we’re all thinking. The Met Gala may be a costume extravaganza, but that doesn’t mean you can wear something that looks like it’s come out of your childhood dressing-up box, finished off with Nanna’s best broach, Christopher Kane or not. Credit for being brave with the beautiful feather detail top and bottom, though. Did she not have a stylist who could steam the creases out before she left her hotel room?

Jessica: I’m not loving the feathers and my one gripe with Saorise is we tend to see her in unflattering outfits, both on the red carpet and in film (Hello, Brooklyn). Not a favourite.

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Bee Shaffer

Rachel: When your mum throws the party, you get to wear whatever you want – in this case, Alexander McQueen. Stunning dress and I’m sure the floral detailing is exquisite up close, but given the tech theme and her access to any designer in the universe she wants, I wish she’d taken a leaf out of Poppy DLV or Alicia Vikander’s books and gone with a less mature (aka safe) option. Save the classic gowns for any time you’re outside your twenties, Bee.

Jessica: When you’re wearing Alexander McQueen, you’re safe. When you’re Anna Wintour’s daughter, you’re safer. It’s beautiful but too subtle for the theme.

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Rosie Huntington-Whitely

Rachel: Bravo Rosie. Some may dismiss this as safe, but I say spectacular – as you would be in head-to-toe Ralph Lauren Collection. Even the diamond wing earrings are Ralph Lauren Vintage. Quintessential American movie star glamour – how appropriate her action man fiance Jason Statham matched in a tux from the label’s Purple Label collection too. Love the futuristic knotted metal detailing on shoulder. Note to waiters: no red wine for this lady tonight, thanks.

Jessica: No! I am nothing short of obsessed with Rosie Huntington-Whitely but after stealing the show at last year’s Met in her gold Versace, I expected more from her. Still, what a vision.

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Juno Temple

Rachel: Any other year, any other dress code, this may have been a great gown. But this year, this ‘fashion in an age of technology’ theme? Juno, please explain. Still, it’s Erdem and what we can’t see in this picture is that it shimmers like a thousand twinkling stars a la modern-day fairy tale princess, which is presumably the look she was going for, non?

Jessica: Everybody is talking about her in Vinyl but will they be talking about this red carpet look tomorrow? Probably not. Like Bee Shaffer, it’s beautiful but doesn’t quite hone in on the theme for me. With their lenses pointed away, the cameramen behind her obviously think the same. 

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Selena Gomez

Rachel: Hmm, OK. Well, none of us saw this one coming, did we. This look says to me that there were a bunch of amazing stars being dressed by equally amazing Louis Vuitton today, but Selena got to pick her outfit last. 

Jessica: A long time fan of the woman with 77 million followers, this look is just a little underwhelming and definitely not a #cantkeepmyhandstomyself look. The big question that surrounds though is: will Justin Bieber like this shot on her Instagram?  

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Emily Ratakowski

Rachel: Bombshell with a capital B in Prabul Gurung. I know most people will be drawn to the thigh-slit, the nude mesh back, the Casino Royale diamond earrings (because, well, we’re not blind) but I’m most obsessed with that incredible satin train and the way it’s connected with a frill at her hip. Perfection draping. Prabul, I bow down. 

Jessica: Remember how sheer last year’s stand-out looks were? (We’re looking at you, Kim Kardashian-West, Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé). This is next level and Emily is exactly the right celebrity to pull it off. The sleek up-do ensures no inch of that body is left unseen.

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Tavi Gevinson 

RachelSo, I totally get that if Tavi was invited by Coach, her clothing options are limited to Coach, which isn’t entirely known for its red carpet couture. But nothing about this outfit excites me, perhaps because I feel like I might have seen it six seasons ago. At the polo. Um, cute bag, though.

Jessica: Can we ever criticise the style rookie herself? Apparently so. I’m a huge supporter of everything Tavi does but unfortunately this Coach number is not in the least part spectacular. Perhaps it’s the material, perhaps it’s the lip?
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KendAll Jenner and Cindy Crawford 

Rachel: Both Balmain dresses are a spectacular blend of classic elegance and modern edge. Both women, ditto. What I love most is that they both look entirely comfortable – that, and Kendall’s side cut-outs. Fire. Cindy looks more like Kendall’s mom than her actual Momager does.

Jessica: Oh my gosh. I love the cut-out Balmain but I love even more these two supermodels are photographed together. It’s an almost passing-of-the-model-baton moment, except that Cindy, at 50 years old, well and truly holds her own and isn’t ready to pass anything on yet. Olivier, you’ve done very, very well. Next year though, get Cindy’s actual daughter Kaia there, please.
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Nicole Kidman

Rachel: The dress is part etherial fairy, part superhero. (Who doesn’t love a star-dusted chiffon cape?) Part of me wishes we could see this without the distracting chain/pendants connecting her collarbones though. Regardless, its still pure McQueen magic as a whole. Kudos Sarah Burton. Also wish I could see the star and bead detailing up close – I suspect the workmanship is mind-blowing. 

Jessica: Australians, rejoice. Nicole looks incredible. Take note Bee Shaffer: this is how you wear McQueen.
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Sarah Jessica Parker

Rachel: Ahoy m’hearties. Let’s just look past the fact SJP’s wearing pedal-pushers and a Pirate coat for a moment and silently applaud her for practicing what she preaches: supporting up-and-coming young designers who are both brilliant and showcase-worthy. In today’s case, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, who bare behind emerging label Monse. 

Jessica: The ruffled sleeves, the shoes, the pants, the necklace. There’s a lot of mixed messages going on here. And if Sarah-Jessica wanted some publicity for her new HBO show Divorce, this wasn’t the outfit to do it in.

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Kylie Jenner

Rachel: Long live the King. Kylie certainly knows what suits her and knows how to wear it. Long dress, long sleeves, super fitted and super bling is her modus operandi – and this Balmain is faultless, as is her hair and make-up. Best she does her air kissing from a distance tonight though – this gown is likely to hook any delicate fabric it comes near. Bet it’s heavy, too. Stamina respect.

Jessica: From her Coachella pics in Di$count Universe to this, the youngest of the Kardashian-Jenner dynasty proves she can mix it with the best of them. Stunning in Balmain.

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Kim Kardashian-West and Kanye West

Rachel: Broken down into separate parts, there is so much to celebrate in this picture. No surprises with Kim’s Balmain dress – it’s bang on brand for her, bold and flattering, albeit predictable (and incredibly similar to her sister’s dress tonight – wonder if they drew straws about who’d walk the carpet first?). Love the knuckle duster diamond rings and ear cuff – futuristic and elegant at same time. But it’s her other accessory that’s left us speechless: Kanye. Applause for bravery, applause for not giving a %$#@, applause for being a guy comfortable enough to embrace bling. I want so badly to love it, but just can’t.

Jessica: Yeezy looks like a Madame Tussauds wax figure here with the blue contacts. But he’s Kanye West and I’m more interested in how he feels that Taylor Swift is co-chair and not himself. Cue an extremely awkward run-in for the Famous and Bad Blood singers.

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Gigi and Zayn

Rachel: At the end of the day, this gala is about art and exhibitionism, which is why I love that brands like Tommy Hilfiger (Gigi’s dress here) have embraced both the theme and the point of the whole evening. Gigi could wear anything and look amazing – and her elegant but fun dress, complete with sequinned bodysuit – is just that. Zayn’s slick suit and futuristic armoury absolutely nailed the brief: classic red carpet meets experimental futurism. We bow down. 

Jessica: What do you think Gigi’s ex-boyfriend Cody Simpson would feel when he looks at this image? Or Joe Jonas? After the latter’s recent comments that Gigi moved on from their relationship rather quickly with Zayn, chances are Joe would be feeling pretty low watching the rise of these two. The model has more than elevated Zayn’s fashion profile, except perhaps the One Direction alum took the Machina part of this year’s theme a little too literally.
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Rachel: A little bit modern warrior princess, Twig’s dress is both feminine and fierce. I know she walks to the beat of her own drum, but given how experimental she is in general with anything she wears, I expected more from her here. Without that headpiece, this outfit would almost be boring. Rob didn’t get the matching partner or high-tech dress memo, did he.

Jessica: It’s the picture that proves they are definitely not broken up and I love this because I’m just don’t feel like Robert could take another public break-up. Big, big Twigs fan.

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RachelGive this girl a Givenchy dress and she’ll give us a great red carpet moment. It’s the second year in a row the Queen Bey’s worn one of Riccardo Tisci’s masterpieces to the Met, but this year’s super-tight latex number is far more comfortable. Apparently. The flowers, beading and sweet peach hue soften what’s otherwise a completely fierce piece, power shoulders and all. 

Jessica: After the infamous elevator fight between Beyonce’s husband Jay-Z and sister Solange at the 2014 Met, why has Bey turned up without him? Could he not face the music? Regardless, Beyonce looks beautiful.

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