ENTERTAINMENT
04/05/2020 07:42 BST | Updated 13/09/2021 12:35 BST

Met Gala: A Definitive Ranking Of Rihanna's Red Carpet Outfits

There's no denying that RiRi is the true queen of the Met Ball red carpet.

The first Monday in May is supposed to be a huge one in the showbiz calendar, as the rich and famous descend on New York for the Met Gala.

It’s an unwaveringly star-studded affair, but in the last few years, there’s been one woman who has dominated the red carpet, and that’s Rihanna.

She’s attended the event eight times in total, with the Met Ball giving the singer a great opportunity to serve some incredible looks – while in turn, Rihanna being in attendance is a great way for the Met Ball to ensure it’s going to be in the headlines the next day.

Regrettably, due to the coronavirus outbreak, last year’s Met Ball was pulled, meaning we were deprived of the usual red carpet arrivals and, presumably, another iconic Rihanna fashion moment.

Fortunately, this year’s event has been able to go ahead, albeit in September rather than its usual May slot.

So, while we wait for all the red carpet snaps from the 2021 Met Ball, here’s our definitive ranking of the looks Rihanna has worn in past years...

8. 2007 – Poiret: King Of Fashion

Evan Agostini via Getty Images

Fresh from the success of her then-recent chart-topping single Umbrella, Rihanna attended her very first Met Gala in 2007 (still rocking the Good Girl Gone Bad hairstyle, no less).

We have to be honest, this outfit really isn’t anything special, particularly in comparison to how cutting-edge the star’s fashion choices would become in the years that followed.

Still, even if we’re not fans of the white dress, we have to praise those gloves, which do bring a certain something to the outfit.

7. 2011 – Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

Kevin Mazur via Getty Images

Again, this definitely isn’t our favourite Rihanna look by any stretch of the imagination, but we are big fans of the red fish-braid.

What saves this outfit from being bottom of the list is that the dress is a lot more innovative than it might look on first glance, although you do have to see it...

Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock

...from all angles to get the full effect. 

6. 2012 – Schiaparelli And Prada: Impossible Conversations

Larry Busacca via Getty Images

She certainly stepped things up the following year, though, didn’t she?

In tight black snakeskin, this look is definitely more reminiscent of “Rihanna the fashion icon” that would emerge in the not-too-distant future after this was taken

Still, this outfit is a little simple to have it any higher than sixth place, although we have to give her props for the hair.

5. 2014 – Charles James: Beyond Fashion

Neilson Barnard via Getty Images

Another very pretty outfit from Rihanna. What we like most about her 2014 ensemble is just how much fun it is, particularly at an event where we secretly suspect laughs are actually few and far between.

Of course, having fun with fashion would eventually become RiRi’s forte, as we’re about to discover...

4. 2009 – The Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion

Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

On the red carpet in 2009, Rihanna experimented with a more avant-garde and experimental style than we were used to seeing from her at that time.

Mixing masculine and feminine, with the trousers, bow tie and towering heels, Rihanna gave one of the stand-out looks of the night, and she would carry on serving similar looks to this while promoting her fourth album Rated R, which was released later that year. 

It’s also worth noting that this was the then-21-year-old’s first red carpet appearance after being physically assaulted by ex-boyfriend Chris Brown just over two months earlier, making the powerful look even more impactful.

3. 2018 – Heavenly Bodies: Fashion And The Catholic Imagination

Frazer Harrison via Getty Images

Rihanna was one of the co-chairs of the Met Gala in 2018, so the stakes were especially high when it came to the red carpet. Fortunately, she more than delivered, giving us the stand-out moment of the whole night.

What’s funny about this outfit is that while some critics on social media suggested it was blasphemous or in poor taste, the Vatican actually endorsed the theme that year, and Rihanna herself borrowed part of her outfit from an actual Catholic Cardinal.

2. 2015 – China: Through The Looking Glass

Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

The dress that spawned a thousand memes, but whether you thought it looked like a pizza, an omelette or a tribute to Big Bird, Rihanna’s 2015 look was one that got absolutely everyone talking.

Rihanna actually stumbled on the dress while Googling Chinese couture online, telling Vanity Fair: “I’m so in love with this dress, but the train is insane!

“I can’t really walk in it without any help—but it’s so worth it. I love this dress so much! It’s Chinese couture and it’s made by Guo Pei. It’s handmade by one Chinese woman and it took her two years to make. I found it online.”

It was a big year for Rihanna at the 2015 Met Gala, not only winning the red carpet but performing during the event (in a much more performance-friendly ensemble, obv).

1. 2017 – Rei Kawakubo/Comme Des Garçons: Art Of The In-Between

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

There are always one or two cop-outs on the Met Gala red carpet, with celebs preferring to wear something pretty or flattering rather than actually stick to the event’s theme – but 2016 was next level.

Because the night was inspired by Comme Des Garçons, the fashion house known for their elaborate and outlandish silhouettes, many of the stars in attendance opted for something a little more simple than the invitation requested.

Not Rihanna, though.

Mike Coppola via Getty Images

She hit the red carpet in this enormous creation, ensuring all eyes were on her and serving us a look so iconic it’s literally the one that’s used to illustrate the Met Gala on Wikipedia.

Not only is it stunning and inventive (and actually nails that year’s theme, when so many opted not to even try), it’s also tonnes of fun, completely exemplifying everything we love about Rihanna’s fashion.

Photo gallery Met Gala: All The Must See Fashion See Gallery