While few things are predictable when it comes to the Metropolitan Museum's annual Met Gala event in New York City, two things are always true: There are a lot of celebrities, and only a fraction of them will dress up in accordance to the theme. It's a shame, considering just how much room each theme leaves for guests to play around and push the boundaries of their style and beauty, but thankfully there are certain celebrities you can always count on to deliver. Case in point? Every one of Rihanna's Met Gala beauty and fashion looks — ever.
Always interpreting and executing each theme in her own way, Rihanna has graced the steps of the iconic museum with equally iconic looks. Beyond just the fashion, her beauty year after year has been among some of the most memorable the annual event has ever seen — from cheeks covered with vibrant blush to headpieces and thematic contours.
As the Met Gala is cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, let some of Rihanna's best Met Gala beauty looks hold you over until she can stop the carpet again (hopefully!) in 2021.
2018: Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination
Stunning in a jewel-encrusted, pope-inspired look designed by Maison Margiela, Rihanna took to the stairs of The Met wearing a face full of Fenty Beauty. To accomplish the simple yet gothic glam for the sake of the theme, she opted for a diffused eyebrow, sharp contour, and a dramatic eye look, using a dark plum shadow for a smokey eye.
2017: Art Of The In-Between
Perhaps one of the most iconic Rih x Met beauty and fashion looks of all time, the mogul turned out a round, structural, and floral Comme des Garçons confection courtesy of Rei Kawakubo, with glam that was just as over the top. Using the draping technique to apply the blush — a style riffing off of the super-flushed cheeks of the '70s — Rihanna's glowing fuchsia eyeshadow rounded out her eyes, coming down to cover her mid-cheek and out from her temples. She finished the look off with a vibrant matching lip, light mascara, and a messy wrapped bun with face-framing bangs.
2015: China: Through the Looking Glass
In 2015, The Met went on to honor China's influence in fashion. Naturally, Rihanna nailed the theme — showing graciously how you can honor a culture without appropriating it. Wearing a show-stopping yellow couture gown by Chinese designer Guo Pei, she paired the royal look with beauty just as thoughtful, donning an auburn red, chin-length bob with flipped-up ends, and an intricate gold jeweled headpiece atop the front of her head and bangs. As to not overdo it, she kept her makeup subtle with a rosy flush on her cheeks, and some sharp, blunt brows.
2014: Beyond Fashion
The visual representation of "perfect balance" is Rihanna in a sleek, all-white Stella McCartney two-piece gown with a messy, loose bun and fresh-faced glam. Speaking with ELLE in 2014, makeup artist Mylah Morales said of the look: "I was inspired by her all-white dress with clean lines, so I went with a simplified and fresh look that would mainly show off her clean skin." To achieve the look, she gave Rihanna a smooth base of foundation, a thin strip of black liner, a lilac lip liner and lipstick, and a wash of rosy cream blush for a dewy finish.
2012: Impossible Conversations
Extreme throwback hours to when Rihanna was experimenting with shaving her head and lots of (questionable!) mohawk styles. With the sides of her head shaved, the artist created multiple messy buns. Her makeup was as minimal as ever, playing up the honey undertones of both her skin and her eyes.
2011: Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
Rihanna's red hair era had its time on the museum's steps, too. With two braids framing either side of her face, the two twists went on into a larger fishtail braid, falling just above her belly button. With skin kept fresh and dewy, she matched her deep lipstick to her hair, leaving her eye makeup subtle.
2009: THE MODEL AS MUSE: EMBODYING FASHION
How often do you think Rihanna thinks about this look? Shaved sides, stark black hair with thin, white highlights, and aggressively swooped bangs. Her mind! It only gets better when you consider the dark blue liner that doubles as a cat eye.