“Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” was the theme of this year’s Met Gala, with a number of celebrities gracing the occasion dressed true-to-theme while a few kept on the safe side by simply adding a hint of the theme to their clothes.
The existence of a ‘safe side’ means that the theme bordered on sacrilegious, if you will, considering it focuses on religion and we know how thin the line is with regards to not being disrespectful to all things religion or divinity.
There was Rihanna with a papal headgear but on a minidress, Bella Hadid in a striking black priestess outfit complemented with a gold cross, and Katy Perry in larger-than-life feathered wings attached to her Versace dress.
Madonna has always ruffled religious feathers over the years and this year’s theme fell conveniently in her vault of fashion imaginations, so her all-black ensemble was as everyday as it gets for her.
Gigi Hadid had her dress inspired by stained-glass windows familiar with Catholic churches, Jennifer Lopez added a cross on her chest while her Balmain dress featured a high slit, while Chadwick Boseman wore an ivory cape adorned with crosses. Jared Leto came as Jesus and there was Lana Del Rey’s outfit as well.
In a sense, the fashion seen at the Gala could come across as mocking or misleading – there’s nothing sexy about Catholicism. Furthermore, an actual priest who was at the Gala went largely unnoticed for the priest he actually is. James Martin, SJ, a Jesuit priest, recounted his experience at the Gala, mentioning how other attendees mistook his outfit for just another costume. Someone even commented that they loved how he had dressed up as a sexy priest.
He wasn’t the only form of clergy there, either. Archbishop of New York, Timothy Cardinal Dolan was in attendance as well, and His Eminence introduced the Sistine Chapel Choir that performed at the Gala.
Cardinal Dolan commented on the event and its theme, stating, “In the “Catholic imagination,” the truth, goodness, and beauty of God is reflected all over… even in fashion. The world is shot through with His glory.”
It should also be noted that the Vatican loaned some “rare liturgical vestments” to be exhibited at the Gala hence, it can be implied that the Holy See have no problem with the intention of the Gala organisers.