Hats, Halos and Other Heavenly Fashion at The Met Gala

May 08, 2018

Bow down (à la Rihanna) for the reverent fashion of The Met Gala. This year’s theme is based on the Costume Institute of the Met’s exhibition “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” The royal motif was not lost in the red carpet as celebrity stars and pop culture icons took their hats, halos and other heavenly fashion to the next level.

Many on the red carpet embraced established Italian designers like Versace and Dolce & Gabbana. Catholicism is a synonym for Rome, so designers reflecting a Roman aesthetic were very prevalent. Some notable Versace wearers at the Met included Zendaya in a Joan of Arc send up, Chadwick Boseman in an embellished white suit and Kim Kardashian in poured-on gold chainmail. Dolce & Gabbana-clad stars included the highly ornate Sarah Jessica Parker, Mother of Dragons Emilia Clarke and perennial favorite Nick Jonas.

There were so many style icons on the carpet that kept the internet abuzz all night long. Yet, for the last decade, Rihanna has been the one to watch at the Met Gala: this year she did not disappoint. Rihanna sashayed to the Met dressed as the most fabulous version of the Pope. Rihanna’s papal garb and regal cardinal hat was constructed by French luxury fashion house Maison Margiela. Meanwhile, Cardi B looked like Madonna and Child while pregnant in her Elizabethan-inspired Moschino dress. Madonna wore a black Jean Paul Gaultier gown paired with a black veil. The star with the most quietly political outfit was Lena Waithe, sporting a pride flag in the form of a silk cape on top of her suit.

The Met Gala takes place yearly and is put on by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City as a fundraiser. Last year’s theme was “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons,” a solo exhibition dedicated to the renowned Japanese fashion designer. The theme for 2016 was “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.”

The exhibition “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” features remarkable papal garments from the Vatican (never seen outside the Vatican City!) and contemporary haute couture from designers such as John Galliano (formely of the House of Dior), Cristóbal Balenciaga and American designers Rodarte (Kate Mulleavy and Laura Mulleavy). As the curator Andrew Bolton explains:

I think the show, fundamentally, is about beauty and the fact that beauty can fill the gap between the believer and the nonbeliever. That’s really one of the fundamental messages, looking at the role of aesthetics: the role that aesthetics plays within religion and the role it plays within fashion.

Beauty can be otherworldly!