A Night Of Reawakening Fashion At Met Gala 2024: Theme, Hosts, And The Best Dressed Celebrities

The 2024 Met Gala bloomed with ‘The Garden of Time’ theme. Here’s a look at the highlight looks and where Indian fashionistas stood.

May 7, 2024

First Monday in May, the world of haute couture waits with bated breath for ‘fashion’s biggest night’, the Met Gala. The annual fundraising soiree, hosted in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City, with its themes, aims to transcend fashion from pure function into a form of artistic expression.

The first-ever Met Gala, officially known as Costume Institute Benefit, was held 76 years ago, in 1948. The brainchild of New York-based publicist, Elenor Lambert, it cost USD 50 to be part of the evening. Over the years, its importance and magnitude grew. During the 1970s, thematic evenings became a norm, when fashion editor Diana Vreeland came onboard—Cristóbal Balenciaga retrospective in 1973 is considered to be the first themed Met Gala. Forty-one years later, Met Gala themes have become a benchmark of ultimate creativity in fashion.

This year, the Met Gala theme is based on The Costume Institute’s spring 2024 exhibition, ‘Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion’. The exhibition will be on, at The Met Fifth Avenue, from May 10 through September 2, 2024. Approximately 250 objects spanning four centuries will be on view, visually united by iconography related to nature, which will serve as a metaphor for the fragility and ephemerality of fashion.

The dress code for Met Gala 2024 was ‘The Garden of Time’ and Bad Bunny, Chris Hemsworth, Jennifer Lopez, Anna Wintour, and Zendaya served as co-chairs for the evening. The guest list is carefully curated, comprising A-list celebrities, fashion icons, influential designers, and prominent figures from various industries. Each year, the guest list reflects the evolving landscape of fashion and pop culture, with new faces gracing the red carpet alongside seasoned veterans.


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This year co-chairs Lopez and Zendaya wow-ed the audiences with their appearances. Lopez stayed true to her style with the bodycon fit with a flared train and a plunging neckline while also acing the dress code with delicate beadwork on her custom Schiaparelli Haute Couture sheer gown. According to news reports, the gown has a whopping 2.5 million beads sewn on that took a staggering 800 hours to create, showcasing incredible craftsmanship and dedication to detail. Lopez glowed as she sashayed up the stairs in her shimmery naked dress but it was her jewellery that truly took our breath away—a stunning diamond necklace, earring and bracelet by Tiffany & Co, from their Celeste Collection.

Tapping Into The Dark Side Of The Garden

Image Credit: Getty Images/Bulgari

Zendaya, the true fashion icon that she is, amped the entire Met Gala experience with three starkly different and dramatic costume changes. Curated by her longtime stylist, Law Roach, Zendaya stepped up the Met stairs in a custom Maison Margiela by John Galliano. The metallic blue and green dress was embellished with fruits and birds in the same hue—the total ensemble was dabbling with the dark side of the dress code of ‘The Garden of Time’ without being macabre. The dress is a nod to a Christian Dior haute couture piece from 1991. The hat is another couture piece custom-made by milliner Stephen Jones. Her makeup matched her dark-but-pretty look, in the same vein as seen in Margiela’s show at Paris Couture Week earlier this year. Zendaya chose Bulgari High Jewelry earrings in pink gold with two oval emeralds and pear diamonds as well as emerald cushion studs set in yellow gold and a High Jewelry ring with 24 buff-top emeralds and pavé-set diamonds.

Image Credit: Getty Images/Bulgari

Her equally stunning second appearance featured yet another Galliano-inspired ensemble: a black taffeta gown from Givenchy by Galliano’s spring/summer 1996 collection. This striking piece was sourced from the renowned Beverly Hills vintage clothing boutique, Lily et Cie, in Los Angeles, USA. The voluminous dress was paired with an elaborate headgear by Alexander McQueen from the spring/summer 2007 collection that imitated the look of a slightly askew bouquet of roses. Zendaya kept the makeup minimal to ensure it does not take away from the simplicity of the dress. Zendaya kept the makeup minimal to ensure it does not take away from the simplicity of the dress. She opted for Bulgari High Jewelry earrings with two pear diamonds as well as a High Jewelry ring in platinum with one emerald shape diamond for this special occasion.

Her third look was a far simpler but ethereal gown by Greek designer Celia Kritharioti with a plunging neckline and intricate beadwork that included tiny flowers. Zendaya channeled an elevated flapper girl in this gown. The Zendaya-Law Roach combination is the ultimate in the contemporary couture landscape. The two have been serving look after look, from country to country, this a duo meant for fashion’s history books.

Other Met Gala attendees who caught our attention included legendary designer Donatella Versace in a pastel green Versace gown “inspired by the Ivy details from Versace Spring Summer ‘97. It features clear droplets shaped like morning dew…this is my ‘Garden of Time’!” she said in her Instagram post. Other stars seen wearing Versace included actors Jude Law and Andrew Scott and models Emily Ratajkowski and Iris Law.

Singer Lana Del Ray presented a dark-but-romantic fashion statement with her Met Gala. She donned a custom ensemble by Alexander McQueen’s Seán McGirr, which paid homage to an archival Alexander McQueen design from the fall 2006 collection. The attire comprised a silk, double georgette, and tulle corseted gown hand-embroidered with hammered bronze-bullion hawthorn branches. Her headgear was fashioned using natural hawthorn branches and tulle veil. On brand with her melancholic appeal, Del Ray, also represented romantic minimalism (as much as the two can go hand-in-hand) in her Met Gala ensemble.

In yet another dark take on the dress code, Emma Chamberlain, Youtube content creator and podcaster, went the goth route. She wore a custom-made brown lace gown by Jean Paul Gaultier, she sported a strapless corseted bodice adorned with ivy-like lace tendrils that delicately wrapped around her arms, while a billowing tulle train trailed behind her. The dress took 640 hours create and is a reference to the dark underbelly of the in-bloom garden. She is also wearing Cartier jewellery—Cartier Nature Sauvage Chloris earrings and necklace and Étincelle de Cartier rings.

Demi Moore walked up the Met stairs in a custom Harris Reed velvet gown with a silk panel adorned with massive pink peonies procured from archival wallpaper. She is also decked up in jewels by Cartier. Her necklace and earrings are from the yet-to-launch Nature Sauvage Chloris collection and her rings are Étincelle de Cartier rings. According to reports, the gown aimed to be the perfect foil to showcase the high jewellery pieces. “To be able to take old wallpaper and soak it and repurpose it onto these pieces has been such a treat, to play with something so delicate and fragile and give it a second life. To make almost life size paper dolls, a flower in perfect bloom as its decays fully wrapped in thorns,” Reed explained the dress in an Instagram post.

Men Ace The Dress Code

The best expression of ‘pushing the envelope’ was seen on men’s couture ensembles at the Met Gala 2024. While most were lacklustre and restricted, including co-chair Helmsworth in a Tom Ford three-piece suit; there were others who went above and beyond the calling of the dress code.

Co-chair Bad Bunny truly strutted his stuff in a custom Maison Margiela Artisanal Collection by John Galliano. Known for his unpredictable fashion choices, the Latin trap artiste’s look included a black satin corset, navy barathea wool smoking jacket with black grosgrain lapels, and a reverse-swatched hat made of blue foam. Reminiscent of the charming princes in fairy tales, he also carried a fabric rose. As a co-chair, he set the bar high for men’s couture at the gala.

We were highly impressed by actor Eddie Redmayne’s sartorial choice for Met Gala 2024. Even better was the fact that he matched his ensemble to his wife’s, Hannah Bagshawe. The couple opted for British designer Steve O Smith to curate their looks for the evening. Redmayne wore a blazer and tulle-based skirt with Oxford shoes and an Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra wristwatch.

Unafraid to make a bold fashion statement, artiste Lil Nas X, walked the Met Gala carpet wearing a Swarovski studded suit by Raul Lopez’s Luar. The tank top, adorned with crystals, alongside the petal-like sash and meticulously assembled panels, symbolize fragments of a greater unity.

India Shines, Sort Of

In the years 2023 and 2024, Indian couturiers have been recognised on the global stage, but there is a long way to go. Four Indian designers—Sabyasachi, Rahul Mishra, Gaurav Gupta and Tarun Tahiliani—showcased on the Met Gala 2024 carpet and it signals a strong representation this year. But is it good enough?

We spoke to Indian couturier Vaishali S, who has been regularly showcasing at Paris Haute Couture Week since 2021, on what it truly means for an Indian couture brand to get visibility in the Met Gala. She says, “For an Indian couture brand, this means finally managing to be seen abroad at the pedestal of global standard design and global events. An event like the Met Gala is very much in sync with the actual trends of visibility through celebrities and thus social media. It is one of those events for which couture should be made for, though not always this means that in these events you see only couture and nice garments.” We also spoke to Mac Duggal, who has recently launched his affordable couture brand in India. He says, “It provides an opportunity to showcase the intricacy, opulence, and cultural depth of Indian couture to a global audience, thereby elevating the brand’s profile and opening doors to new markets and collaborations.”

As to whether Indian designers are getting the same recognition as their international counterparts, despite celebrities and icons walking the red carpet, she says, “A straightforward reply would be because Indian celebrities have more followers than Indian brands, and that’s how the world goes today. While this is fundamentally true, a deeper introspection brings me to say also that most Indian designers, especially the couture ones, are still very Indian bridal designers, where a lot of hand work is there but not much design. And to complete the spiral, they also put less attention to global customers and sensibilities because their main market and identification is Indian brides.” “The lack of recognition for Indian designers on such global platforms is a reflection of systemic challenges rather than a talent deficit. It is important to address issues like limited exposure, cultural biases, and market access. Indian designers possess unparalleled craftsmanship, innovation, and heritage, deserving equal recognition. To bridge this gap, collaborative efforts between the fashion industry, media, and are essential. I believe that the needle is moving in the right direction with Indian designers, couturiers and homegrown labels, that will get their due recognition on the global stage,” Duggal weighs in.

A purely paradisiacal brand that we felt was truly missing from the Met red carpet, Vaishali believes that the ‘Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion’ theme is the perfect inspirational pinch. “My mission is to wake up the sleeping beauties of our heritage hand-weaving techniques and bring them back not only to life, but also to the global stages of luxury, where they belong. I do this with innovative techniques and design, fully inspired by nature, either pictorially or by my interpretations of the flow of Nature.”

While florals proved to be the breakout look of the night, here are all the Indians at the Met Gala this year nailing the theme.

  • Isha Ambani in Rahul Mishra
Image Credit: Rahul Mishra

Styled by ace Indian stylist, Anaita Shroff Adajania, Isha Ambani, Managing Director of Reliance Retail, wears Mishra’s interpretation of the Met Gala 2024 dress code, which he has titled, River of Life. Mishra explains that the garment explores nature’s abundant richness and its lifecycle. It symbolises the journey of a garden, where various flowers undergo the stages of sprouting, blooming, and eventual decay.

The trail is made of a light shimmery base and is speckled with three-dimensional birds, moths, butterflies, sea creatures and more through various kinds of appliqué techniques. Other embellishments include intricate thread embroidery which is supplemented with materials such as rhinestones, sequins, bugle beads, zari, kundan and more and explores various ancient Indian techniques of embroidery including fareesha, zardozi, nakshi, dabka and French knots among others.

  • Alia Bhatt in Sabyasachi
Image Credit: Sabyasachi

Couturier Sabyasachi and actor Alia Bhatt give ‘The Garden of Time’ a more literal interpretation with a couture saree in mint green and an exaggerated train, hand embroidered with silk floss, beads, sequins, semi-precious stones and fringed with glass beads. The hand-crafted blouse is studded with emeralds, Basra pearls, tourmalines and multi-coloured sapphires. The saree is complemented by Sabyasachi High Jewellery’s Bengal Royal collection in tourmalines, sapphires, emeralds and diamonds. She described the look on her Instagram post as, “In our journey for an Indian interpretation of this universal theme, the outfit took on a life of its own. Nothing embodies tradition and innovation like the saree; in the skilled hands of Sabyasachi this vision found its fullest expression. We looked to the past as a guide for the future, drawing inspiration from the timeless sophistication of Indian nobility. We focused on intricate craftsmanship, incorporating hand embroidery, precious stones, along with elegant beadwork and fringes, distinctive of the 1920’s fringe style. Our colour palette pays homage to nature’s beauty, echoing the earth, sky, and sea.”

Image Credit: Sabyasachi

Making his Met gala debut, the master couturier Sabyasachi also walked the red carpet in an embroidered cotton duster coat from the Sabyasachi Resort 2024 collection layered with tourmalines, pearls, emeralds and diamonds from Sabyasachi High Jewellery.

  • Mindy Kaling in Gaurav Gupta
Image Credit: Gaurav Gupta

Known for his architectural pieces, Gaurav Gupta was represented at Met Gala 2024 by actor and comedian Mindy Kaling. While the front of the dress was flowing as if to depict the passing of time, the back was the highlight as the cape came together to form a flower. We quizzed him about how he managed to strike the perfect balance of art and technology and he says, “In sculpting the ‘Melting Flower of Time’ gown for Mindy, we intricately blended sculpting techniques to craft a central bud surrounded by delicate petals. This fusion of artistry and technology aimed to evoke the fleeting beauty of nature while showcasing our craftsmanship. The result was a surreal journey through loops of infinity, where every detail resonated with ethereal beauty and perpetual transformation.” Addressing our query on why Indian designers are not getting the same recognition, he explains, “I believe there’s a nuanced perspective regarding the recognition of Indian designers. The fashion industry is multifaceted, and recognition often comes in waves, with different sectors experiencing moments of spotlight at various times. It’s essential to recognise the diverse contributions of both celebrities and designers, understanding that each plays a crucial role in shaping the narrative of Indian fashion on the global stage.”

  • Sudha Reddy in Tarun Tahiliani
Image Credit: Tarun Tahiliani

Hyderabad-based entrepreneur and philanthropist, Sudha Reddy, walked the Met Gala 2024 carpet in a custom ensemble by Tarun Tahiliani. Her off-shoulder gown was crafted with intricate detail, including delicate French knots, 3D butterflies, and couching, the dress and its attached trailing cape were brought to life by a team of 80 artisans, dedicating 4500 man hours to their creation. Inspired by the beauty of old Mughal gardens, the gown features hand-embroidered imagery of Mughal royalty adorning the corset, adding a regal touch to the ensemble. She paired gown with a necklace from her personal collection.  Tahiliani shares of the design: “It has been a pleasure to custom-make and collaborate with Sudha on the Met outfit and translate the multi-layered theme into a work of art. Sudha’s self-portrait on the corset, combined with our signature draping technique and handcrafted embroideries and embellishments, conjures imagery of a blossoming garden, inviting the viewer to embrace authenticity in an ever-changing world. It is a metaphor for India as a sleeping beauty that is reawakening, the outfit celebrates the timelessness of heritage workmanship, transcendence of temporal boundaries and the eternal cycle of renewal and regeneration.”

  • Mona Patel in Iris Van Herpen

Met Gala debutante Mona Patel is an entrepreneur and philanthropist. In her first Met Gala appearance, she was styled by Law Roach in a sculpted, nude floor-length gown by Iris Van Herpen, a renowned Dutch fashion designer known for her avant-garde and innovative creations. The dress itself was particularly interesting because it featured kinetic butterflies on the sleeves that fluttered as she walked. This addition was made by Patel and kinetic motion artist Casey Curran. This gown was one of the most talked about looks from this year’s Met Gala

  • Natasha Poonawalla in Maison Margiela

Natasha Poonawalla is used to turning heads with her avant garde approach to fashion. Met Gala 2024 was no different, where she made an appearance in a custom-made John Galliano for Maison Margiela outfit. This daring ensemble was a perfect example of her known style of blending high fashion and bold experimentation. The dress featured a sculpted white bodycon with a strapless bodice and a sweetheart neckline. Sheer torn chiffon detailing was meticulously layered on the dress, adding a touch of drama and intrigue. A daring thigh-high slit at the back of the gown added another layer of glamour and sex appeal. Poonawalla finished off the look with a pair of sky-high Christian Louboutin pumps.

With inputs from Sumita Bagchi.