The Costume Institute Gala, the annual opening of the Metropolitan Museum’s fashion exhibit at the Costume Institute, is one of the most important social events in New York, and celebrities always show up looking their best.

The theme for the upcoming 2014 Costume Institute Gala is “Charles James: Beyond Fashion”, celebrating America’s first couturier. In anticipation of the May 5th Met Ball, check out a few of the best Met Gala dresses of all time, in context of the main theme of each event.

Nicole Kidman in Gucci 2003

In a sparkling Gucci gown with an asymmetric design, Nicole Kidman honored the “Goddess: The Classical Mode” theme in a truly stunning way. The actress completed her look with a sophisticated bun and sparkled on the red carpet at the Met Ball.

Nicole Kidman Gucci By Tom Ford Dress

Scarlett Johansson in Calvin Klein 2004

While not many stars took the “Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century” theme literally, Scarlett Johansson displayed 18th century cleavage in a yellow gown designed by Calvin Klein. 

Scarlett Johansson In Calvin Klein Dress

Pairing it with a golden clutch, she kept the look simple and effective.

Selma Blair in Chanel 2005

Wearing one of the best Met Gala dresses of all time, Selma Blair was a gorgeous appearance in Chanel for the Costume Institute event that celebrated “The House of Chanel” in 2005. 

Selma Blair In Chanel Gown

A sophisticated updo was the perfect companion to her dress.

Sienna Miller in Burberry 2006

The theme “AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion” allowed for varied looks in 2006, but Sienna Miller really stepped up to the challenge in a gold minidress by Burberry, complete with black tights. 

Sienna Miller In Burberry Sequin Dress

Perhaps not the perfect red carpet look, but a winner at the Met Ball.

Cameron Diaz in Dior 2007

Celebrating French designer Paul Poiret, the 2007 Costume Institute Gala had the “Poiret: King of Fashion” theme. 

Cameron Diaz In Ruffled Dior Gown

The designer’s contributions to fashion have been compared with Picasso’s legacy in art, and Cameron Diaz showed up in one of best Met Gala dresses of all time, a fuchsia Dior gown accessorized with turquoise jewelry for a modern touch.

Amber Valetta in Versace 2008

Amber Valetta In Versace Gown

Finding the perfect balance for the “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy” themed Met Ball, supermodel Amber Valetta rocked a Versace creation in 2008, with stunning shoulder detailing that was evocative without being literal.

Kate Moss in Marc Jacobs 2009

Leave it to Kate Moss to wear one of the best Met Gala dresses of all time at the “The Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion” themed event. 

Kate Moss In Marc Jacobs Dress

Wearing a gold lamé dress created by Marc Jacobs, the supermodel accessorized it with a cool turban created by Stephen Jones.

Sarah Jessica Parker in Halston Heritage 2010

Sarah Jessica Parker In Halston Heritage Dress

Wearing a dress from a design team she temporarily joined was a risk for Sarah Jessica Parker, but the actress managed to embody 2010’s theme: “American Women: Fashioning a National Identity”.

Gisele Bündchen in Alexander McQueen 2011

Gisele Bundchen In Alexander Mcqueen Red Gown

For the “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty”, Gisele Bündchen outshined the red carpet with one of the best Met Gala dresses of all time, created by the late British designer.

Christina Ricci in Thakoon 2012

Christina Ricci In Thakoon Dress

The 2012 Met Ball was dedicated to “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations”. Both Miuccia Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli have made important contributions to fashion, but Christina Ricci chose a dress designed by a man, a truly stunning creation with an oversized bow.

Florence Welch in Alexander McQueen 2012

Florence Welch In Alexander Mcqueen Dress

Taking risks is a given at the annual Costume Institute event, but they rarely pay off as well as they did in 2012, when Florence and the Machine lead singer wore one of the best Met Gala dresses of all time, an Alexander McQueen creation.

Rooney Mara in Givenchy 2013

Rooney Mara In Givenchy Dress

Honoring the “Punk: Chaos to Couture” theme, Rooney Mara went for a Givenchy gown, combining classic lines with edgy zipper detailing and finished her look with a bold lip.

Jennifer Lawrence in Dior 2013

Jennifer Lawrence In Dior Dress

In Christian Dior, Jennifer Lawrence clearly went for the more couture approach and ended up with one of the best Met Gala dresses of all time, complete with a birdcage veil.

See also:Kim Kardashian’s Worst Fashion Moments