The 2024 Met Gala’s Carpet Color and Design Scheme Explained

Simply doing a literal red carpet for a red carpet event isn’t enough anymore. Especially when it’s a party as big as the Met Gala.

Each year, the Met Gala rolls out a new carpet design that’s inspired by the theme of the evening.

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This year, the star-studded crowd, which includes co-chairs Zendaya, Jennifer Lopez, Bad Bunny and Chris Hemsworth, is walking up steps that are covered in a cream color with mossy green accents along the sides.

The design choice is in keeping with the dress code of the 2024 Met Gala, “The Garden of Time,” which is inspired by a J.G. Ballard story.

Meanwhile, the sides of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s storied steps are lined with greenery-covered barriers between the stars and photographers and reporters, and the walls are painted with forest scenes that look like they could be out of an old masters painting.

The Met Gala carpet even became a subject of humor on Saturday Night Live over the weekend with series regular Chloe Fineman. Impersonating Anna Wintour and wearing a floral dress, Fineman walked a set meant to look like the Metropolitan’s steps in order to do a final inspection of the decor scheme. “I think it’s clashing with the flowers. … I’m not sure about the carpet,” deadpanned Fineman.

According to an extensive history of the Met Gala’s carpet published by Curbed in 2022, the famed benefit for the museum’s Costume Institute never even had a carpet in its early years. The first red carpets appeared at the event in the mid-aughts, with the first specially designed carpets showing up in 2016.

That year, for the 2016 show Manus x Machina, the carpet was color-blocked in geometric swirls of cream, pink and red.

Blake Lively attends the “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2016, in New York City.
Blake Lively attends the “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2016, in New York City.

In 2017, the year of the museum’s exhibition honoring designer Rei Kawakubo, the carpet was white with borders in blue.

Celine Dion - Met Gala Dress - Red Carpet Steps - 2017
Celine Dion attends the “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art of the In-Between” Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2017, in New York City.

2018 saw the color cream return, this time with design details that called to mind a cathedral, an homage to that year’s exhibition, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.

Rihanna - Met Gala - 2018
Rihanna attends the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & the Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018, in New York City.

For the Camp year in 2019, the gala went with — what else — pink as the color.

Lady Gaga - Met Gala Pink Dress 2019
Lady Gaga attends the 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2019, in New York City.

For 2021 and 2022, the galas — held in conjunction with the two-part exhibition In America: A Lexicon of Fashion, the carpet was cream with leafy green accents followed by a red, white and blue color scheme.

Prabal Gurung - Gemma Chan - Met Gala 2021 - Red Carpet Steps
Prabal Gurung and Gemma Chan attend the 2021 Met Gala Celebrating in America: A Lexicon of Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on Sept. 13, 2021, in New York City.
Blake Lively - Met Gala Dress 2022
Blake Lively attends the 2022 Met Gala Celebrating “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2022, in New York City.

Last year, the carpet was designed by legendary Japanese architect Tadao Ando, who also designed the museum’s exhibition, Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty. The carpet, which some online critics said reminded them of Colgate toothpaste, was in white and featured swirls of red and blue.

Rihanna - A$AP Rocky - Met Gala 2023
Rihanna and A$AP Rocky attend the 2023 Met Gala Celebrating “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2023, in New York City.

Each year, the design for the Met Gala arrivals is overseen by event planner Raul Àvila and has been painted in recent years by Phillip Bland, who told Curbed, “My hope is when the final design comes out, it doesn’t clash too much. If someone spent all this money on this beautiful dress and all of a sudden they get out there — I’m sure they don’t know what the carpet is gonna look like.”

The latest Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute exhibition, Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion, opens to the public on Friday, May 10. The Andrew Bolton-curated show spotlights fragile pieces from the institute’s archives, all viewed through a lens of nature. The exhibit’s coffee table book will be released June 18. Read more of The Hollywood Reporter’s Met Gala coverage here.

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