Earlier in November, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Costume Institute have officially confirmed that the next year’s Met Gala theme, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” will have to do with-you guessed it-Catholicism.
The exhibition will be the first of its kind, and it will feature traditional Christian dress that will be arriving directly from the Vatican. The MET will also utilize its vast collection of religious art, while 150 designers, including Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, and Givenchy, will all pay homage to the heavenly aesthetic.
According to The New York Times’ fashion critic, Vanessa Friedman, the exhibit will be the biggest presentation to date, being displayed in the galleries dedicated to the Costume Institute, spreading to the Medieval and Byzantine art sections of the museum. In addition, the honorary chairs of the night have also been announced: Rihanna, Amal Clooney, and Donatella Versace among them. Unfortunately, Lady Gaga and Madonna, the two women who have often managed to collide the provocative worlds of fashion, music, and religion together, were not chosen for the honorary chairs, however, they will be honored for their influence.
The next Met Gala has the fashion world already on its toes. Some are wondering how provocative will the exhibition get, meanwhile others are hopeful for a more peaceful outcome, where fashion and religion are depicted more as a harmonizing unit, rather than as a confrontational household.
Yet, the representatives of the MET are optimistic about the exhibit exploring understanding and creativity; the only thing that will be provoking will be the thought-provoking dialogue between its visitors.
Since the beginning of time, fashion has had a history of including the influences of the Catholic church into its crafts. From the infamous Dolce & Gabbana designs that walk down the runway every season and bring some sort of religious context within themselves, such as a dress with the portrait of the Virgin Mary to earrings in a shape of a cross; to (possibly?) Chanel’s notorious Quaran dress from the 1994 collection that was called “Satanic Breasts” by the weekly Journal du Dimanche, the exhibit will have plenty at the MET and that is for sure.
On the contrary, the exhibition might actually portray a different perspective on religion, however, the celebrities invited to the gala might take the spotlight away from the exhibit itself.
Often times, the MET Gala invitees tend to dress for themselves rather than for the theme, and the next year’s exhibition might become another case of cultural appropriation if it will not be done appropriately. However, let’s hope for the best and let this ball of fortune roll.
“Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” might become one of the biggest and most well-known exhibits yet, and after all, it might achieve the unachievable: combine the worlds of fashion and religion, and make peace between them once and for all.