follow us on

BLESSED RAGE FOR ORDER: The Intersection Of Art, Fashion And Religion In The Met Ball 2018

What a theme! What a night!  Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination is the full name of the Costume Institute Ball fundraiser exhibit and its opening night party, often called “Fashion’s Biggest Night” or “The Oscars of Fashion” and the looks run the gamut from divine to delicious to downright mysterious.

Was it blasphemy or the biggest blessing to be showered on a beleageared Catholic Church? Usually, when the Catholic Church is in the news, it involves news of sexual abuse of the clergy or the dwindling faithful, won over by the exuberance of evangelical worship or worse, the seduction of the secular world.

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Bolton, curator of the Met’s big blockbuster exhibits, admitted in a past interview that the original exhibit was supposed to encompass the influence of all religions on fashion but they realized that the Catholic influence overwhelmed all other religions.  In an unprecedented coup, items from the Vatican were loaned to the Met, and Archbishop Georg Ganswein, concurrently personal assistant to Pope Benedict pope Emeritus and head of the Papal Household, himself gave the “yes to the dress” that got the ball rolling.  Once the Vatican “nihil obstat” (an official yes) was obtained, Bolton asked pre-eminent Catholic theologian David Tracy to pen an essay for the catalogue and sought the famous Jesuit writer James Martin to be an adviser to the exhibit.  In one of his most famous books, Blessed Rage for Order, Tracy posted the question: “Is the religious interpretation of common human experience meaningful and true?”

One thing is true: the guests went all-out.  Style lovers and pundits all agree that this year could arguably be the “best red carpet ever.”  Catholicism encompasses the drama of the baroque and the asceticism of the monastic life and so the theme was open to interpretations that could fall under joyful, glorious and luminous, in all the embellishment, golden fabric and the cacophony of crosses that adorned the guests.

This year’s co-hosts were human rights lawyer and style star Amal Clooney and Donatella Versace.  Many fashion writers noted that Catholicism was a big influence on Italian designers, perhaps ignorant that French and Spanish designers are also mostly Catholic,  Often cited in the articles leading to the Met opening were the influence on the nuns who ran the orphanage where Coco Chanel grew up and the devout religious practice of Cristobal Balenciaga.  The Vatican minister of Culture Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi himself said : “God himself was concerned with dressing His creatures.”  Amen to that.

 

TOP 10:  LITERAL INTERPREATIONS OF THE THEME

 

1. SARAH JESSCIA PARKER 

 

“They are observant and devout Catholics,” said SJP of Domenico Dolce and Steffano Gabbana and she wore a headdress that was a mini altar and a gold dress studded with hearts, alluding to the Sacred Heart.

 

 

2. KATY PERRY

Katy often speaks of her strict born again Christian upbringing but she floated down the carpet as a Versace angel and even knelt down in “prayer” when facing the paparazzi.

 

3. RIHANNA

 

John Galliano for Maison Margiela turned the papal mitre and the papal robes into a resplendent fashion statement for Bad Girl RIRI.

 

4. JARED LETO

 

A close collaboration with Alessandro Michele of Gucci combined sacred vestments and 70s tailoring.

 

5. PRIYANKA CHOPRA

 

Ralph Lauren turned cardinal red velvet and a gold hood into a dramatic showstopper.

 

6. JENNIFER LOPEZ

 

A giant cross emblazoned on a fully embellished gown by the House of Balmain made jaws drop.

 

7. KATE BOSWORTH

 

The House of Oscar de la Renta now helmed by Monse founders Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia turned this actress into a Golden Madonna.

 

8. ANNA WINTOUR

 

Ever loyal to Karl Lagerfeld and Chanel, she was pristine and papal.

 

9. BLAKE LIVELY

 

In radiant red and gold Versace, believe the gossip. Lively reigned on the red carpet.

 

10. CARDI B

 

Jeremy Scott of Moschino made the white and right look for the rapper.

 

TOP 10:  METAPHORICAL MIXES OF RELIGIOUS AND MODERN THEMES

 

1. GRETA GERWIG

 

#GretaGerwig in @therow at the 2018 #metgala (??: Benjamin Lozovsky) #metgala2018

A post shared by WWD (@wwd) on

 

Alluding to clerical garb, she was minimal and elegant in a voluminous dress by The Row.

 

2. OLSEN TWINS

 

MARY-KATE OLSEN in The Row and ASHLEY OLSEN in Paco Rabanne

A post shared by Red Carpet (@metgala.18) on

 

They have long championed flowing robes and neutral colors and so they did brilliant riffs on the religious theme.

 

3. MICHELLE WILLIAMS

 

#MichelleWilliams #LouisVuitton #MetGala #MetHeavenlyBodies #LinkInBio

A post shared by Just Jared (@justjared) on

 

St. Joan of Arc is the patron saint of France and  Louis Vuitton face Michelle was the very definition of a modern Joan.

 

4. ZENDAYA

 

??

A post shared by Zendaya (@zendaya) on

 

The young fashion icon also channeled the Maid of Orleans, and her Joan of Arc donned Gen Z armor by Michael Kors, a big departure from his usual sportswear inspired looks.

 

5. LILY COLLINS

 

Taking the silhouette of the papal cape and the giving it an edgy sexy spin by Claire Wright Keller of Givenchy, Lily then had a single bloody crystal tear, giving her entire look both an edgy feel and a timeless drama.

 

6. AMBER HEARD

 

Cardinal red, and a row of fabric buttons and a striking headdress all by Carolina Herrera all balanced ancient motifs and contemporary ease.

 

7. SOLANGE

 

Iris Van Herpen was an early champion of 3D printing and Solange shone in sculptured latex.

 

8. MIGOS

 

The rap trio rocked major diamonds and Versace blazers.

 

9. DIANE KRUGER

 

Diane the Divine. Diane Kruger wears the Atelier Prabal Gurung celestial blue double face duchess satin structured bell shaped dress with hand embroidered engineered fleur-de-lis motif, hand draped silk taffeta bouillonne sleeve and monarch bouillonne train with hand embroidered fleur-de-lis edge with the Tasaki Atelier white gold and south sea pearl buoy hidden ear bud with pave diamond, the Tasaki Atelier white gold and Akoya and South Sea pearl Aurora ring with sapphire and diamond accent, the Tasaki platinum and Akoya pearl and diamond earring, the Tasaki white gold and Akoya pearl ring with diamond accent, the Tasaki white gold and Akoya pearl ring and a custom Philip Treacy x Tasaki fleur-de-lis and South Sea pearl head piece to the 2018 Met Gala celebrating "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination." #pgworld #pgmuse #beautywithsubstance #modernglamour #femininitywithabite #MetGala #MetHeavenlyBodies #ASeatAtTheTable #tasaki_intl

A post shared by Prabal Gurung (@prabalgurung) on

 

A heavenly Marian blue and cherubic curls made this ethereal star look even more otherworldly.

 

10. AMANDA SEYFRIED

 

Like a Botticelli come to life, in Vatican yellow, she seemed to have come straight from the Renaissance in Prada.