Next year’s Met Gala is Catholic-themed. What could go wrong?

Images: AP, Unsplash, Wikimedia Commons/Composite: America Media

On Tuesday, Vogue announced the theme of the upcoming Met Gala: “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” According to Vogue, the gala will “highlight the enduring influence of religion and liturgical vestments on fashion.”

For the uninitiated, the Met Gala is one of fashion’s biggest events of the year (often called, tongue-in-cheek, “Fashion Prom”), which demands the most elaborate attire its high profile guests can muster, in accordance with an annual theme. In conjunction with the gala, each year the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York opens an exhibition, showcasing garments and objects on the same theme. Past themes include “China: Through the Looking-Glass” (2015); “Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years” (2001); and “Punk: Chaos to Couture” (2012).

Prior clothing choices at the Met Gala have been met with celebration and conversation (see: Rihanna’s yellow dress by Chinese designer Guo Pei in 2015), in addition to allegations of irrelevance, insensitivity and cultural appropriation (see: Sarah Jessica Parker’s vaguely “oriental” red headpiece, also in 2015).

For this reason, the recent announcement that celebrities will be taking inspiration from Catholic culture has been met with trepidation and excitement. “I cannot wait for the excellent, terrible and heretical outfits,” one person tweeted in response.

The Vatican has been consulted by Met Gala organizers, and papal vestments have been loaned by the Sistine Chapel sacristy for the Metropolitan Museum’s exhibition.

HBO’s “The Young Pope,” (reviewed by Americahere) has been widely cited as a possible inspiration for the this year’s theme. Elle published a piece headlined “The 2018 Met Gala is Catholic-Themed Because Everyone Loves The Young Pope.”

In that article, the author noted: “Catholicism is a really having a moment. Or, like, a millennium. Everything old is new again. Forget dadbods and boyfriend shirts; this year everyone is a Holy Father.”

In any event, it’s more likely that gala attendees will be taking inspiration from the lavish outfits favored by Pope Benedict than the sartorially understated Pope Francis.

John Walton
1 week 4 days ago

I don't think Phillipe de Montebello, Thomas Hoving or James Rorimer would have countenanced anything remotely resembling this. Met's got new wipers at the carwash.

Dan Acosta
1 week 3 days ago

Can't wait for next year's Islam-themed soiree!

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