The best men’s makeup moments in Met Gala history

By Lauren Valenti

From Troye Sivan and Pharrell Williams to Billy Porter we take a walk down makeup memory lane

The Costume Institute’s annual Met Gala has always been a beacon of boundary-pushing style—and it extends above the neck to powerful effect. For men, makeup is increasingly becoming one of the most powerful tools for bold self-expression. Much like it has in popular culture, it’s gained momentum on the Met Gala red carpet as the years have progressed.


In 2005, Marilyn Manson arrived on the red carpet wearing an all-black military-inspired Marc Jacobs look with a smoked-out gaze and a deep Merlot lip, while in 2013 Pharrell Williams leaned into the “Punk: Chaos to Couture” theme with a rimming of kohl liner along his waterlines. In 2016, Kanye West took eye-level transformation to the next level with a pair of ice-blue-coloured contacts that sparkled against his crystal-embroidered Balmain jacket of the same colour. Then, tapping into the celestial spirit of the 2018 exhibit “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” singer Troye Sivan upped the wattage with a golden gaze and shimmering skin.

But it was last year’s “Camp: Notes on Fashion” theme that really inspired attendees to make grand beauty statements. Hitting the pink carpet with Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, cochair Harry Styles wore a dark raven manicure with pops of teal to match his ruffled black blouse, and Jared Leto harnessed the power of prosthetics to carry an uncanny carbon copy of his own head as a nod to the Italian fashion house’s viral fall 2018 runway moment. Darren Criss and Marc Jacobs each made standout graphic eyeliner statements, as did Michael Urie, albeit only on one eye in coordination with his half-gown, half-suit ensemble. Then, going head to head in the most awe-inspiring category, there was Billy Porter’s gilded eyes and violet lip etched in gold along the Cupid’s bow and down the centre, as well as Ezra Miller’s surrealist, painted-on sets of eyes that were impossible to tell from his real ones. Here, a look back at the best men’s makeup moments in Met Gala history.


Pharrell Williams 2013. Photo: Kevin Mazur


Kanye West 2016. Photo: Larry Busacca


Troye Sivan 2016. Photo: Taylor Hill


Harry Styles 2019.


Darren Criss 2019. Photo: John Shearer


RuPaul 2019. Photo: Dia Dipasupil


Michael Urie 2019 . Photo: Jennifer Graylock - PA Images


Cole Sprouse 2019. Photo: Dia Dipasupil


Marc Jacobs 2019.


Jared Leto 2019. Photo: Patrick McMullan


Billy Porter 2019. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris


Ezra Miller 2019. Photo: Karwai Tang

Originally published on Vogue US