The annual Met Gala is a chance for Hollywood's elite to come to New York City and show off some of the most opulent fashion of the season. In 2018, however, the stars pushed the envelope trying to be in tune with the event’s “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” theme.
The gala showcased an exhibition of items from the Vatican and other Catholic-inspired artistic items. To keep up with what the stars would be seeing inside the ultra-private event, they were asked to arrive in garb that showcased the imagination of the Catholic Church.
However, some stars may have taken the theme a bit too far into the land of bad taste.
Stars like Katy Perry, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Sarah Jessica Parker and Andy Cohen arrived in over-the-top looks that capitalized on familiar imagery from the Catholic Church.
Rihanna, who served as co-chair of the annual event with Donatella Versace, kicked off the night, arriving first in an embellished, white mini dress with a matching cropped jacket and hat, emulating that of the pope's public dress.
Perry arrived soon after, dressed in a golden mini dress accessorized with larger than life angel wings, and posed for photos on the red carpet kneeling in a prayer position. Parker and Cohen arrived together in matching Dolce & Gabbana golden ensembles. The “Sex and the City” star showed off her massive gown on the Met stairs, which was adorned with Sacred Hearts.
Meanwhile, “Ladybird” director Greta Gerwig turned heads in a voluminous black and white gown, inspired by the typical garb of a nun, and actor Jared Leto was closely reminiscent of Jesus Christ in a blue Gucci suit and golden headpiece which emulated Jesus' crown of thorns.
While these stars stood out among the cavalcade of celebrities supporting the pious theme, the grand red carpet event was flooded with crosses, rosary beads, veils, crowns and other religious imagery designed to turn heads and be provocative on the red carpet.
While the theme was meant to be controversial, many were quick to note how offensive they found the entire theme on social media.
“The met gala theme is lowkey disrespectful to the catholic religion, let’s be real,” one user wrote.
“Imagine using my religion to do your fashion show… disgusting!” another said.
“Surprised people aren’t calling out the #metgala #MetHeavenlyBodies for being offensive to Catholics….but if it was another religion everyone would be up in arms,” a third user noted.
But while celebrities donned their "Sunday best," the dress code that was given to guests was "an implicit plea to dress somewhat more modestly," according to the exhibit's curator, Andrew Bolton.While it may have shocked and offended some, the Catholic Church was well aware of the evening's fashionably holy affair.
“You may be asking what is the church doing, why is the church part of all of this?’’ Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the archbishop of New York told reporters in a pre-Met Gala press conference.
“But think about it just for a moment. It’s because the church and the Catholic imagination — the theme of this exhibit — are all about three things: truth, goodness and beauty. That’s why we’re into things such as art, culture, music, literature and, yes, even fashion," Dolan explained.
The Met Gala, hosted anually by Anna Wintour and celebrity co-chairs, is a fundraising effort with all proceeds going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, which is the only curatorial department at the museum that funds itself. Tickets to the event can cost $30,000 each, with a table running a whooping $275,000.