The excitement for the 7th day of May could not be contained as fashion's favourite Monday was soon approaching. The MET Gala, also known as the MET ball, is an annual fundraising gala for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute in New York City. Though everyone who's anyone already knows this, some also deem the MET Gala as fashion's night out. All the celebrities come together dressed to the 9s in haute couture to celebrate the opening of the Costume Institute's annual fashion exhibit. Each year, the theme is more and more extravagant. 2016's theme was "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology," 2017's theme was "Rei Kawakubo / Comme des Garçons" and of course, this year's theme was "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination" - perhaps the MET's most controversial theme yet.
2018's MET Gala theme sparked much discussion - which was exactly the point. The dialogue between fashion and the masterworks of religious art and the influence Catholicism has in fashion was of utmost importance. Naturally, when religion is a factor in any conversation, there is bound to be controversy. However, though some right-wing conservatives have deemed the theme as "culture appropriation," many were surprised to know that the Vatican actually approved of the theme. Along with 150 designer pieces, 50 garments and accessories from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, including papal robes, rings and tiaras from the 18th-21st century, were loaned to the museum. The show was presented in three locations across NYC; the Anna Winter Costume Center, the Medieval Galleries at the Met's Fifth Ave. location and the Cloisters.
Though we expected to see flamboyant pieces, an excessive amount of crosses, perhaps some halos and lots of Versace and Dolce & Gabbana, what we saw on Monday night succeeded above and beyond our expectations. Religious symbols, classic artworks depicted on ballgowns, reinventions of religious garments and dresses inspired by churches were just several looks seen on the red carpet.
From Kim Kardashian's gold, crucifix-emblazoned evening gown, to Gigi Hadid's sequinned dress inspired by stain-glass windows, to Zendaya's portrayal of Joan of Arc in a metallic, armoured gown - innovation, creativity and originality were seen everywhere.
Gucci's creative director Alessandro Michele arrived with Lana del Rey and Jared Leto. The three were not only dressed in elaborate, Renaissance-inspired Gucci looks, but many joked about their uncanny resemblance to God, Mary and Jesus on the red carpet. Victoria's Secret Angel Stella Maxwell wore a custom Moschino dress decorated with religious icons and emblazoned with pearls, beads and sequins. For her first time attending the MET Gala, Ariana Grande pretty much wore the Sistine Chapel on her body when she showed up in a Vera Wang ball gown inspired by Michaelangelo's "The Last Judgement" painting. Amanda Seyfried looked heavenly in a yellow Prada gown and gold tiara, which some pointed out was a potential reference to Helen of Troy, as seen in Dante Gabriel Rossetti's painting in 1863.
The captivating looks were endless, but there are always a few that really blow your mind. When given the opportunity to go all out, designers and stylists get to work to create absolute masterpieces. Designs so exquisite and jaw-droppingly beautiful it would be insulting to simply call them "dresses," these looks are works of art. The long hours, time and energy spent on creating these monumental pieces all paid off on Monday night. Take a look at our personal favourite looks below:
Blake Lively in Atelier Versace paired with Christian Louboutin heels, Judith Leiber clutch and Lorraine Schwartz jewelry.
Blake Lively never fails to wow us with her MET Gala looks. Among the few attendees that continue to hold their place in the best-dressed-club year after year, Lively is always on theme. Saying that this is the most beautiful dress we have ever seen would still be an understatement for how we feel about this dress. Basically, it's perfect. Blake Lively is perfect. Blair Waldorf is shaking is her boots as Miss Van der Woodsen once again steals the spotlight. Jokes aside, this custom Atelier Versace gown is nothing short of a masterpiece. The embroidered bodice took over 600 to make and the full look featured over $2 million worth of Lorraine Schwartz jewelry. The Judith Leiber clutch featured the letters "B," "R," "J" and "I," which stood for Blake, her husband Ryan (who was unable to attend) and their two daughters James and Ines. Lively's gown was so large that a party bus was required to transport her to the event, which is standard when you look like a princess.
Rihanna in Maison Margiela by John Galliano paired with Christian Louboutin heels
It is universal knowledge that Rihanna wins the MET Gala every year with her innovative, larger than life looks. This year, she had the privilege of co-chairing Monday night's event alongside Amal Clooney, Donatella Versace and of course, Dame Anna Wintour. Rihanna's crystal and pearl-embellished gown by Margiela featured an overskirt, which opened to reveal a shorter skirt at the front. Accessorized with a matching jacket and a beaded bishop's hat, Rihanna's blinged out and glammed up look was inspired by the Pope. It took over 250 hours to sew and 500 hours to hand embroider. It's like Rihanna's only competition is herself, we think she can't outdo her previous looks but year after year she continues to succeed our already high expectations. How does she do it?! Many other attendees like to follow the theme on a smaller scale by incorporating certain aspects of it into their looks, but Rihanna and her fierce sense of style have never had an issue with embracing the theme in all its glory.
Kate Bosworth in Oscar de la Renta paired with Manolo Blahnik heels, Jeffrey Levinson clutch and Tacori jewelry
To say that Kate Bosworth is ethereal is an understatement, especially in her custom Oscar de la Renta gown designed by Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia. Bosworth's look was inspired by the Virgin Mary - more specifically, the Weeping Madonna figure. She looked purely angelic in her gold-flecked tulle gown paired with a pearl-embellished mantilla. Not only did this look fit the theme to a T, Bosworth also paid homage to her own bridal look from her wedding in 2013, which was also designed by Oscar de la Renta. Effortlessly elegant, the Oscar de la Renta designers incorporating a certain aspect of gothic romance to balance the traditional femininity of the dress - making Bosworth an absolute vision.
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in Ralph Lauren and Ana Khouri jewelry
Okay...like...WHAT?! A real life angel was present at the MET Gala on Monday night, ladies and gentlemen. Rosie looked celestial in her long, glittering gold Ralph Lauren caped gown embellished with over 300,000 Swarovski crystals. She accessorized her look with a gold halo that referenced the Blessed Virgin Mary. The former Victoria's Secret Angel, model and actress looked like she arrived at the event straight from heaven in her stained-glass resembling dress. Rosie's look is a prime example of staying true to a theme without going the extravagant route. Simple but alluring, sexy but angelic, Rosie absolutely hit the nail on the head with this one.
Katy Perry in Versace
Katy Perry was among the attendees who definitely did not shy away from making a bold statement at this years MET Gala. To say she committed to the "Heavenly Bodies" aspect of the theme would be an understatement. Wearing a gold mini dress with a bronze-netted crystal overlay, Perry paired her look with gold thigh-high boots...oh and angel wings that reportedly spanned six feet. No big deal. The hand-painted degradé feathers were one of the most talked-about features at the event and on social media. Naturally, when you're walking around with six-foot angel wings on your back, you might be prone to accidents - like accidentally hitting your stylist, Jamie Mizrahi, in the face when she's five months pregnant... oops. Not to worry, everything and everyone was fine. "I mean you know Katy, how much she loves dress up and theatrics and kind of production, so I think that is the joy in that," explained Mizrahi when discussing Perry's bombastic attire. The opulent look completely embodied the theme and at an event like the MET Gala, you can never be too extravagant.
The first Monday in May is a date all of us fashion lovers and insiders around the world look forward to. Fashion, art and everything in between come together at this event. True creativity and artistry is displayed in every aspect. This is what fashion is all about. It's never just about the clothes - it's about the art, the talent, the craftsmanship and the beauty of it all. So 'til next year, MET Gala. Until then, we will wait eagerly at the edge of our seats, desperate to know what 2019's theme will be and dream about the future masterpieces we will get to see.
By: Isabel de Carteret