Zendaya's Stunning Met Gala Looks, Ranked Best To Worst

Ahead of the 2024 Met Gala, which takes place on May 6 this year in New York, Glam is looking back at Zendaya's Met Gala looks. The young "Dune" star is set to co-host the benefit alongside Anna Wintour and fellow celebs Jennifer Lopez, Chris Hemsworth, and Bad Bunny, marking her first return to the Met Gala since 2019. Historically, Zendaya's show-stopping ensembles have never failed to impress fans. The actress steals the spotlight whenever she graces celebrity events. For instance, we are still recovering from Zendaya's Dune: Part Two premiere look. However, upon closer inspection, it's clear that one or two of her Met Gala outfits outperform the others in terms of overall execution and response.


With Zendaya's track record of jaw-dropping red carpet looks, we expect nothing short of spectacular at the 2024 Met Gala benefit, where guests will adhere to this year's theme, "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion," and the "The Garden of Time" dress code. In the meantime, enjoy a throwback of the actress's previous looks, from fab to drab.

Zendaya in Versace for the 2018 Met Gala

If there is one outfit that led to Zendaya's fashionista status, it is her 2018 Met Gala ensemble. From the moment she stepped onto the red carpet in that chain mail dress, the young celeb established herself as one of the most fashionable stars in Hollywood. She managed to pull off this daring Joan of Arc-inspired look down to the copper micro bangs and thigh-high slit detail. The metal armor dress was unlike anything else seen at the 2018 benefit and aligned with the evening's theme, "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination." The chain dress, armored bolero piece, and statement wig paid tribute to the Catholic saint Joan of Arc.


In an interview with InStyle, Zendaya admitted to this metallic gown being one of her favorite red carpet looks to date. "Nothing could hurt me," she says. "I was like a warrior." Her memorable Joan of Arc dress went down in fashion history and garnered a positive reception. For instance, in the "Fauxmoi" gossip Reddit channel, many users rate the Versace dress as one of their favorite red carpet looks. "That Joan of Arc dress has never for one moment left my mind," one user commented, and they're certainly not alone in this opinion.

Zendaya in Fausto Puglisi at the 2015 Met Gala

Zendaya attended the Met Gala for the first time in 2015, where she wore a bold design by Fausto Puglisi. The dress featured a velvet bodice and a red skirt with sun-shaped adornments. She accessorized with spiky gold armbands and a tiara with matching sun symbols, which tied the outfit together seamlessly. We can also check the dress code box, as the black and red color combination aligned with the theme, "China: Through The Looking Glass." The structured skirt stood out from all the other slinky gowns and A-line hems from that evening, establishing her as a trendsetter in the making.


Altogether, this dress made for an impressive gala debut. The "Challengers" actress could not have asked for a better response for her first Met Gala event. Without previous outfits to compare it to and a lack of pitchfork reviews post-gala, her Puglisi dress marked the beginning of the star's fashion potential and set baseline expectations for future appearances.

Zendaya in Tommy Hilfiger for the 2019 Met Gala

At the 2019 Met Gala, Zendaya's collaboration with stylist Law Roach resulted in a theatrical and exaggerated interpretation of Cinderella's princess gown, accompanied by an interactive scene in which Roach played Zenday's fairy godmother. Her fairytale look adhered to the 2019 theme, "Camp: Notes on Fashion," inspired by Susan Sontag's 1964 essay, "Notes on Camp." "A camp dress has to be matched with fantasy, tragedy or some kind of ironic story that tells us about what it means to be gendered," Dr. Roycee Mahawatte, senior lecturer in Cultural Studies for Jewellery, Textiles and Fashion at Central Saint Martins, told Harper's Bazaar. The Cinderella gown does just that by referencing Zenaya's rise to fame as a Disney star and, perhaps, the "artifice and exaggeration" of her Disney children's show days.


Despite the mesmerizing effect of the gown and playful red carpet skit, Zendaya's Cinderella look received mixed responses. It proved that she was not always a trendsetting icon. While her Cinderella gown did align with the campy dress code, the underlying nuances and ironies of her Disney princess gown were lost on many. For instance, "The Parent Trap" star Lindsay Lohan compared it to Claire Danes' 2016 Cinderella Met Gala look, sparking similar comments from people online. "This is ugly. Claire Danes wore it much better," one user commented on Zendaya's Instagram post. On the other hand, another user wrote, "What a magnificent way to end your Disney days; bravo."

Zendya in Dolce & Gabbana at the 2017 Met Gala

The theme for the 2017 Met Gala was "Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between," in honor of Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo. For this avant-garde theme, Zendaya appeared in a vibrant Dolce & Gabbana silk gown with scarlet macaw parrots and an off-the-shoulder neckline. She paired the tropical-themed dress with a voluminous hairstyle, simple jewelry, and a coral lippie.


Although the colorful garment succeeded in turning heads, the dramatic ensemble didn't quite land, as some believed it strayed from the avant-garde theme. Therefore, this is another Met Gala look that has received mixed responses from fans and viewers. Many of Rei Kawakubo's designs feature frilly details and heaps of texture, which some felt was lacking in Dolce & Gabbana's sleek design. The lively colors and unique parrot motif still left an impression, but it missed the mark in a way that some would say is critical for Met Gala standards.

Zendaya in Michael Kors at the 2016 Met Gala

In last place is Zendaya's clingy golden Michael Kors gown, which she wore to the 2016 Met Gala. The theme for that year was "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology," and inspired sparkly red carpet designs. Zendaya's floor-length rhinestone silhouette, bold eye makeup, and bowl-cut hair amounted to something glamorous. Still, it fell flat compared to the other attendees' looks, including Lupita Nyong'o's seafoam green grown and Nicole Kidman's astronomy-inspired dress.


The star's ensemble was lovely and fit the futuristic theme, with the shimmery metallic effect and glossy helmet haircut. However, it failed to measure up to the other outfits and didn't blow away the crowd as much as one would expect from someone who wore such a unique design the previous year. It's difficult to hit the mark every year, but this Met Gala look veered too close to underwhelming for our liking. That said, the dress was loved by many, going by the trickle-down effect of high-school prom dress trends immediately after. However, it didn't land her top spots in many best-dressed lists.

Ultimately, Zendaya continues to raise the bar for herself with each red carpet appearance, so we are excited for her future ground-breaking Met Gala looks.