The first Monday in May is always an exciting one in the showbiz calendar, as the red carpet is rolled out for the annual Met Gala.
And while the star-studded event is a real playground for the rich and famous when it comes to fashion, few ever have quite as much fun – or get people talking quite as much – as Rihanna.
In the last decade, the chart-topping singer and beauty entrepreneur has cemented herself as the true queen of the Met Ball thanks to her show-stopping fashion choices – and all signs point to us getting another RiRi moment on this year’s red carpet.
So, while we wait for all the red carpet snaps from the 2023 Met Ball, here’s our definitive ranking of the looks Rihanna has worn to the event over the years...
9. 2007 – Poiret: King Of Fashion
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 really one for the history books, 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 blown away by the white dress, we have to praise those gloves, which do bring a certain something to the outfit.
8. 2011 – Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
Again, this isn’t our favourite Rihanna look by any stretch of the imagination, but we are very into this red fish-braid moment.
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...
...from all angles to get the full effect.
7. 2012 – Schiaparelli And Prada: Impossible Conversations
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, although this outfit is a little too simple to have it any higher than seventh place, we still have to give her props for the fabulous hairstyle.
6. 2014 – Charles James: Beyond Fashion
Another very pretty outfit from Rihanna. What we like most about her 2014 ensemble is just how contemporary, fresh and 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 later down this list...
5. 2022: In America: A Lexicon of Fashion
This outfit might not be to everybody’s tastes, but if anyone on earth can pull off this enormous Balenciaga coat with a matching bejeweled beanie, it’s Rihanna – and we’re big fans of the makeup and jewellery.
In 2021, Rih walked the red carpet with A$AP Rocky, marking their first ever public appearance as a couple, and within a few months, the We Found Love singer would confirm she was expecting their first child.
4. 2009 – The Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion
Back in 2009, Rihanna was still in the early days of experimenting with a more avant-garde and daring style than we had been used to seeing from her at that time.
Mixing masculine and feminine, with her suit trousers, bow tie and towering heels, Rihanna gave one of the stand-out looks of the night that year, and she would carry on serving similar fashion moments 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 a few months earlier, making this already powerful (and, in our opinion, underrated) look even more impactful.
3. 2018 – Heavenly Bodies: Fashion And The Catholic Imagination
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
The dress that spawned a thousand memes, 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 later revealed that shex 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 stage-friendly ensemble, obv).
1. 2017 – Rei Kawakubo/Comme Des Garçons: Art Of The In-Between
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.
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.