Thanks in part to a growing culture of scathing red carpet criticism, the fashion at big events like the Academy Awards is all about keeping it safe: a column gown here, a classic sheath there. When a pair of white gloves are considered cutting-edge (ahem, Amal Clooney), that’s how you know the fun of fashion—the daring, the wacky, and the downright weird—is almost entirely absent.
But that’s not the case every year at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute gala. Celebrities showed up Monday in their craziest couture to celebrate fashion’s biggest night, and here, we share 10 reasons why the Met Gala getups are better—and by better we mean more fun—than anything worn at the Oscars. 2016 Oscar nominees, take note!
Rihanna took one of the biggest risks of the night in a fur-trimmed marigold yellow creation—complete with an epic train—by Chinese couturier Guo Pei.
Beyoncé sent social media into frenzy with her sheer Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci gown with multicolored crystals.
Sarah Jessica Parker’s headdress may have looked strikingly similar to a flame emoji (Thanks, Funny or Die), but there’s little doubt that her poppy-embroidered gown—which she designed in collaboration with H&M—and Philip Treacy headpiece made her ensemble one of the most dramatic interpretations of the Met Ball’s Chinese theme.
Justin Bieber made his first appearance at the Met Ball in a custom Balmain blazer embroidered with gold dragons. But where are the Calvins?
Hello, sunshine! Disney Channel actress Zendaya showed up in a Fausto Puglisi dress with a plunging neckline and an asymmetrical red skirt emblazoned with silver sun-inspired motifs.
In a look that proves she’s always ready to up the ante when it comes to couture costumes, Lady Gaga wore a voluminous Balenciaga cloak reportedly covered in 14,000 feathers.
We expected nothing less from Beyoncé’s wacky kid sis, who wore a printed Giles mini-dress that looked like two overlapping paper fans. Perhaps Solange meant it as a shield to in case of a round-two brawl with brother-in-law Jay Z.
It wasn’t quite in keeping with the ball’s China: Through the Looking Glass theme, but Katy Perry‘s graffiti-print gown by designer Jeremy Scott (pictured here) stood out as avant garde, especially when accessorized with a cool spray paint can purse.
R&B crooner Miguel opted for red—a color considered lucky in Chinese culture—in a crimson Michael Kors tuxedo with crisp black lapels.
Janelle Monae kept some elements of her trademark style—namely a twisted pompadour, black and white color palette, and deep red lips—but dressed to impress with a belly-baring H&M design, which she topped with a floor-length cape.
Bonus: Adding Kimye to our list makes for 11 reasons, but we can’t help ourselves! While Kim Kardashian West‘s Roberto Cavalli gown looked a lot like Beyoncé’s Met Gala feather dress circa 2012 (check out this picture for proof), and Kanye went shirtless (as per usual), it’s always fun to see fashionable couples give good face.