The Costume Institute Gala at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is the biggest event on the fashion fundraising calendar. This event happened on May 7, 2018 and in its modern incarnation, this year's exhibition theme was Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, co-chaired by Amal Clooney, Rihanna and Donatella Versace. Lakshmi Sreedhar discusses the political significance of this theme in the context of her favourite looks.
Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination featured items such as Pope Benedict XV's white silk cape embroidered with gold thread and the pointed bishop's hat of Pope Leo XIII, alongside pieces by Coco Chanel, who was educated by nuns, John Galliano, Cristóbal Balenciaga and Versace. The gala raised approximately $13.5 million for the Costume Institute, as reported by Forbes. Here is the list of my favourite dresses worn by the A-listers:
5. Blake Lively
600 hours of toiling over a dress that has $2 millions worth of jewellery paid off as Blake Lively slayed in a beaded Atelier Versace dress. The expensive jewellery included gold bracelets, three diamond and ruby rings and 30-carat Colombian emerald and diamond earrings, according to People. The most notable piece was her custom halo that featured 100 carats of champagne diamonds. The actress worked closely with Lorraine Schwartz and Christian Louboutin to plan her footwear and accessories ahead of the event. Not that the footwear could be seen.
I am not sure I agree with the critics for this one, but she did make it to the best-dressed list. The Barbadian superstar set a religious backlash and divided fans after she channelled Pope-chic for the Gala. Rihanna followed the Heavenly Bodies theme in a heavily embellished custom-made John Galliano gown complete with crosses and a papal inspired headdress. Her headgear, which resembled the Papal Mitre, which signified Catholicism, sparked outraged with many saying things ranging from “it’s disrespectful” to “she is coming for the Pope’s career”.
3. Katy Perry
Archangel Raphael surely never thought that somebody could outdo his aura with a dress. Perry provides a bird’s eye view (pun intended), of what it is like to embrace excess and transform into an actual angel. With a blinding gold lamé minidress, thigh-high stylish boots, and towering feathered wings made using Versace sketches, so large, nearly six feet actually, that she had to enter the museum sideways. She wore a simple pair of gold drop earrings to finish off the look. “I feel very angelic. Celestial. Ethereal,” Perry said of her look to The New York Times. Yeah, we got that Katy.
2. Lily Collins
Channelling the Lady of Sorrow, Lily Collins sauntered into the 2018 Met Gala wearing a black, gossamer Givenchy gown, hair that had been transformed into an intricately braided sculptural up do complete with futuristic crown, and makeup that was literally inspired by the dark arts. The whole look was very gothic chic. Lily also wore gunmetal Swarovski crystals on the centre of her upper lid and underneath her lash line while a blood-red teardrop was placed underneath one eye. Apparently "The crystals were meant to be celestial tears, and the blood red tear drop was a nod to stigmata and the tears of the virgins. You know, light-hearted stuff . . ."
1. Lana Del Rey, Jared Leto and Alessandro Michele
She is no stranger to ethereal dresses and glitzy headpieces. Del Rey showed up to the red carpet flanked by Gucci’s Alessandro Michele and actor and musician Jared Leto in a cream-colour dress with gold accents, including a sacred heart chest plate crested with tiny daggers and an ombré blue headpiece with wings. Michele and Leto wore intricate Gucci ensembles with blue accents and golden crowns. Together, the three looked as if they had walked straight out of a Renaissance-era painting hanging in the Uffizi gallery. Leave it to Lana to take the Catholic imagery theme to a heart-and-daggers extreme.