Met Gala 2018 Mixed Fashion & Religion Without Much Ado
The theme of the Met Gala 2018 was “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”. Numerous celebs descended on the red carpet, last night, draped in a mix of fashion and catholic imagery. From takes of the papacy, knighthood, virginal brides and angels, to god almighty himself, the designers showcased bold imagination and nostalgia which stemmed from a Catholic upbringing.
“Most designers featured in the exhibition were raised Catholic. While many of them no longer practice, and their relationships to Catholicism vary considerably, most acknowledge its significant influence over their imaginations.”—Andrew Bolton, Curator of #MetHeavenlyBodies pic.twitter.com/R6RfUN3pWx
— The Met (@metmuseum) May 7, 2018
Bold and Heavenly
The fashion designers and celebs came all guns blazing for the Met Gala this year. They showed no reservations to what some may consider as a controversial theme.
The likes of Rihanna, Madonna, Chadwick Boseman and Jared Leto did not shy away from endorsing the vision of these designers.
— The Met (@metmuseum) May 7, 2018
Madonna is perfection at the #MetGala — her look is deceptively demure, riddled with history, provocative but not cheap, reverent. She looks like she harbors great hidden power. And she is ready to attend your funeral. #Madonna #MetBall #Gaultier pic.twitter.com/SmBXtbeaxp
— Boy Culture Blog (@mattrett) May 8, 2018
— Feyre☽ (@kyloxchalamet) May 7, 2018
However, Blake Lively’s ethereal look was the one which stole my heart.
— Megan Crimmins (@megancrimmins12) May 8, 2018
Followed by Priyanka Chopra‘s bold medieval knight inspired look in a crimson gown. Be it on or off the red carpet, our girl has her fashion game on point.
— The Met (@metmuseum) May 8, 2018
This mix of religion and fashion certainly did not go down well with everyone.
Religion is one of the few things in the world today, which draws strong defensive emotions among people. It is not just a belief, but a vital part of their identity for many. So, there were some people on social media who thought that it was tasteless to reduce a religion to a fashion statement.
We don’t have to go any further than our own country to understand how defensive people are about their religious beliefs. In fact, I can never imagine a fashion gala in India, where celebrities and designers would dare play with such a sensitive theme.
It is amusing that the Met Gala managed to get away with this theme, with such low levels of outrage. Especially in today’s hostile environment, where everyone merely needs a reason to draw the daggers. But then that is the west. The current Indian scenario and our sensibilities make it hard for us to grasp the concept behind “Heavenly Bodies”.
Besides, Met Gala has always loved to throw challenges to the designers, only to bring out their creativity and spunk. Previously, the gala has thrown themes like Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between, Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, China: Through the Looking Glass and Punk: Chaos to Couture. These themes, apart from giving us some hilarious memes (like Chopra’s trench coat dress last year), have tested the limits of merging thought and opinion into fashion.
The Met Gala is not about creating controversy or publicity. It is about making a statement via fashion.
It’s about looking on subjects like religious iconography, technological advancements through the eye of the designers. This perspective is not meant to appease everyone, but we cannot call it crass if it is done sensibly and tastefully. I agree that some of these dresses bordered on bold and challenging. But not all of them. Maybe a constructive feedback would help these designers draw a clearer line between what is offensive and what is not.
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.