While the looks at the 2023 Met Gala were definitely show-stopping, it wasn’t just the fashion that captured our attention on the red carpet on Monday night. At this year’s ball, which drew its theme from the Costume Institute exhibit, Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty, there were plenty of surprises in store, too. Many of the night’s attendee’s riffed on Lagerfeld’s playful and at times wicked sense of humor to bring some cheeky levity to the red carpet. Take for instance, Jared Leto dressing up like Choupette, Lagerfeld’s famous feline friend, or Janelle Monáe, whose oversized tweed coat transformed into a daring sheer trapeze dress, a metamorphosis that would have delighted Lagerfeld, who had a flair for the dramatic.
Other surprises on the red carpet came by way of debuting the new and unexpected; Florence Pugh showed off a bold new buzzcut, while tennis superstar Serena Williams and supermodel Karlie Kloss both used the Met Gala as an opportunity to announce their respective second pregnancies—moves that really upped the ante for pregnancy announcements everywhere.
Here’s a look at the biggest surprises from the 2023 Met Gala.
Jared Leto wore a cat costume in honor of Choupette
When a mysterious person appeared in a fuzzy white cat costume on the Met Gala red carpet, partygoers were mystified—until the person inside pulled off their headpiece, revealing their identity as none other than Jared Leto. Leto, who’s no stranger to a red carpet stunt, donned the cat costume in a seeming homage to Choupette, Lagerfeld’s iconic pet cat.
Florence Pugh debuted a buzzcut
When the Oppenheimer and Dune: Part 2 actor hit the red carpet, her sweeping white Valentino gown wasn’t the only thing that captured the attention of the crowd. Pugh debuted a dramatic new buzzed haircut, which she accentuated with a towering black feather crown.
Baby bump reveals were trending
Both Serena Williams and Karlie Kloss used the Met Gala as a forum to announce their respective second pregnancies. Both the tennis superstar and the supermodel showed off baby bumps on the red carpet, setting a new standard for pregnancy reveals.
Janelle Monáe did an outfit transformation on the red carpet
Janelle Monáe turned heads when she appeared on the red carpet in a voluminous black and white Thom Browne coat and a matching purse shaped like Choupette. However, she upped the ante when she removed multiple layers of her outfit, transforming it from an oversized tweed dress coat into a sheer black trapeze dress revealing leather undergarments.
Read more: Why Cats Dominated the Met Gala Red Carpet
Kim Kardashian kept it low-key
While fashion enthusiasts have come to expect that Kim Kardashian make an outsized statement at the Met Gala (case in point—wearing Marilyn Monroe’s actual “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” dress to last year’s event), one of the unexpected surprises of the night was her fairly low-key pearl draped dress from Schiaparelli.
Lil Nas X came dressed in silver body paint
Lil Nas X made the case that less is more on the red carpet of the Met Gala when he showed up in a lot of silver body paint, rhinestones and pearls and not much else (save for a metallic thong, silver boots, and a bejeweled face mask). Like the similarly feline-inspired Doja Cat, he seemed to have a good time meowing at reporters on his way into the event.
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