This Year’s Met Gala Fashion Theme – Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

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Facebook, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

At this year's Met Gala you can expect to see high society's heavenliest bods showing up for the most heavenly theme.

Seeing the Met Gala red carpet is one activity you do not want to miss. Officially called the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit (also Met Gala or Met Ball), the only events that compare to this are Hollywood's biggest award shows. This year's theme promises unique looks and what some are calling a very controversial theme.


What is the Met Gala?

Known for its outlandish fashion, the Met Gala is a annual fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. This black tie event is the Costume Institute's main source of annual funding and helps celebrate the opening of the Costume Institute’s yearly fashion exhibit. Founded by publicist Eleanor Lambert and first held in 1948 for the same reason, the event encourages donations from New York's high society.

Traditionally falling on the first Monday in May, the event is always held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. A-list guests receive an early peek at the spring fashion exhibit and are supposed to dress to match that year's exhibition theme. Deemed the most prestigious fashion event of the year, the Met Gala is clearly the biggest day for those in the fashion industry.

Chairs and Co-Hosts of the Met Gala

Anna Wintour, Vogue's Editor-In-Chief and Artistic Director of Conde Nast, is the main face of this glamorous event. In 1995 she took the reins and has been leading chairwoman ever since. They even named a center after her - the Anna Wintour Costume Center - which is where the Costume Institute is housed.  

Ever since Wintour’s takeover in 1995, the Gala has featured honorary co-hosts (who Anna picks herself) from the entertainment and fashion industries. Alongside Wintour, this year's co-hosts include Rihanna, Donatella Versace, and Amal Clooney. Previous co-chairs comprise of stars such as Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Marc Jacobs, and more.  

Met Gala Attendees

Fashion’s biggest night of the year is always filled with a star-studded guest list. Each visitant is carefully hand-picked by Anna Wintour, who has final say on every last attendee. Qualifications usually have to do with current buzz, overall achievements, beauty, and of course, love for fashion. Hence, the carpet being filled with “it” models, designers, and entertainment industry big-shots. 550 attendees came last year but due to the size of this year's exhibit, there will likely be more celebs invited.  

Who’s going this year? We won’t know who is showing up until they step on the red carpet, but The Hollywood Reporter says these guests are definitely going:

  • Nicki Minaj
  • Priyanka Chopra
  • Kim Kardashian
  • Katy Perry
  • Selena Gomez
  • Anne Hathaway
  • Mindy Kaling
  • Chadwick Boseman
  • Sarah Paulson
  • Lily Aldridge
  • Uma Thurman
  • Rachel Wood
  • Amanda Seyfried
  • Shailene Woodley
  • Jared Leto

Of course, the obvious co-hosts Rihanna, Amal Clooney and Donatella Versace will be in attendance. 

The Night

Guests begin the night by walking the red carpet where journalists, networks, and photographers take notice of their outlandish outfits. As they walk the carpet, celebs mingle with one another and pose for numerous photos. Once finished walking the carpet, guests get a chance to tour the new exhibition while on their way to the cocktail party. After cocktails, they are called to dinner where some type of entertainment will be going on -- last year it was a performance by Katy Perry!

Theme

As with every year, a new theme met the A-list guests -- Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. Andrew Bolton, the Institute's curator, explained the exhibition will focus on a shared hypothesis about what we call the Catholic imagination and the way it has engaged artists and designers, and shaped their approach to creativity -- as opposed to any kind of theology or sociology.

Per usual, show stopping designs will be delivered at fashion's biggest night of the year. Designers like Coco Chanel, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana have all drawn inspiration from this religious background and will be displayed at the exhibit. With top notch celebs and designers pulling out all the stops, there will be countless custom outfits paying homage to this year's unique theme.

Cost

Tickets cost $30,000 per person and a table will have you shelling out $275,000 for a group. The party and exhibition are sponsored, so all ticket sales go to the Costume Institute -- which is the only Met’s curatorial department that has to fund itself. Not everyone pays for a ticket though. Brands invite celebs to show off their designs and Anna Wintour sometimes invites up-and-coming designers who can’t afford the price.

Rules

Something else to mention about the Met Gala is that posting on social media has been banned at the red carpet. This no selfie rule has been going on for the past three years but the guests still tend to do it anyways. No smoking will be a rule out in force this year -- as several photos of last years party showed celebs smoking in the museum's bathrooms. A BIG NO NO!

More on the Met Gala 2018 Theme

Each year celebrities such as Rihanna and Kim Kardashian pair with hot designers to push the limits of fashion while coordinating with the Gala's chosen theme. Past themes include Punk: Chaos to Couture, China: Through the Looking Glass, and more. So what is this year's theme? Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic imagination -- the most controversial theme at the Met Gala yet.

Exploring fashions ongoing engagement with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism is what this theme is all about. Because of that, designers and guests are looking to this religion as their source of sartorial inspiration for designs. In doing so, they hope to create breathtaking masterpieces that showcase the role the Roman Catholic Church plays in fashion. In Andrew Bolton's words, this will help demonstrate the strong relationship between Catholicism and fashion.

Costume Inspiration

Other than being most controversial, this exhibit is also the largest in the Costume Institute’s history. With that said, the exhibition will be spread across three venues: the Medieval Galleries at the Met’s Fifth Ave. location, the Anna Wintour Costume Center, and the Met Cloisters further uptown. Different pieces will be spread throughout these three venues but all relate to the Catholic theme.

Speaking of Catholicism, there will be 50 Vatican vestments and accessories featured at the Met Gala which have never left the Vatican’s possession before. In the lineup are items such as Pope Benedict XV’s white silk cape embroidered with gold thread and the pointed bishop’s hat of Pope Leo XIII. Among those items are over 150 designer pieces from fashion icons such as Versace, John Galliano, Cristobal Balenciaga and Dolce & Gabbana.

What will we see?

How these high society members will incorporate religious iconography into their red-carpet attire is something we can’t wait to see. Expect to encounter symbolic religious undertones and some possibly very bold statements on religion. Many designs are also sure to betray priest-like robing, crosses, nuns, angelic iconography, and faces of Catholicism. No matter what it is, it will sure be heavenly!


"There isn't a cross left in New York City."

Those are the words of stylist Elizabeth Saltzman and it might be true! All in all, this year's Met Gala is sure to bring a few eyebrow raises. Religion is always a delicate subject -- especially when it’s thrust into the world of fashion and into individual hands for each their own interpretation. But we think the designers and celebs will provide quite a show that represents the relationship between Catholicism and fashion.  

Will you be watching the Met Gala this year? Who are you most excited to see at the Oscars of the East Coast? What do you think the fashion designs will entail? Tell us in the comments below and share with family and friends who crave fashion like you!

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