Is the Pope Catholic? No, he’s Rihanna!

The Met Gala in celebration of the Costume Institute’s spring exhibition traditionally used to be called the ‘Party of the Year.’ But what was once a rarified fashion event has, as exemplified last evening, literally morphed into one big expensive costume party (it’s like Halloween in May). With the theme, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” it seems a few too many let their imaginations get the better of them.

Katy Perry

Many of the high profile guests seemed to be intent on making the most significant statement, wearing the most outlandish, attention-grabbing outfit, the tallest hat, the longest train, and becoming the most memorable photo op (isn’t that what it’s all about?!). Walking up the stairs on the red carpet has become performance art. Some guests are not wearing accessories; they are wearing props (how do they eat in that, or go to the loo for that matter?) In some cases, the accouterments were so large and exaggerated, they could be dangerous. Katy Perry’s massive angel wings practically knocked one guest over as she descended the stairs.

Madonna in Jean Paul Gaultier with the designer 

Increasingly, it’s all about who can outdo one another, or outdo oneself, in owning the theme.  But let’s face it, that is also the fun of watching it. It’s a guilty pleasure. As soon as I heard what the theme of the upcoming exhibition was, my mind flooded with images of how that might translate at the gala. In addition to Rihanna and Katie, the ones who took the theme and ran with it most literally (some more costumey than others) were Madonna, wearing Jean Paul Gaultier (well, of course!).

Greta Gerwig in The Row

Greta Gerwig’s austere black and white ensemble by The Row was very nun-like. Vanessa Friedman said that when she saw this on the runway, she immediately thought of this upcoming exhibition. ‘Nun’ the less, I did too!

Lana de Rey and Jared Leto

Lana and Jared both in Gucci looked like they could step right out of the Vatican.

Zoe Kravitz in Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello

A few guests paid heed to the exhibition, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” but what they seemed to take was the ‘heavenly body’ part (meaning, a lot of skin), as exemplified by Liza Koshy wearing a sheer black lace dress with black thong underwear. And then there was Zoe Kravitz in body-revealing Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello.

Kate Moss  and Amber Valletta in Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello

Kate Moss, in her first Met Gala appearance in years, looked terrific and chic in a leggy Saint Laurent. And so did Amber Valletta, who also proved that less is more.

Amber Heard in Carolina Herrera 

No, not everyone necessarily piled it on, or took the more is more approach. Looking simply ‘Divine’ was Amber Heard in red Carolina. Herrera Kim Kardashian, in Versace’s liquid gold chain mail, was also surprisingly subdued.

Anna Wintour in Chanel Haute Couture

The High Priestess of Fashion herself, Anna Wintour wore a very flattering pale Chanel Haute Couture gown. I liked that she left her signature jeweled choker necklaces at home and opted for a long crucifix instead.

Amal Clooney wearing a design by Richard Quinn

There were far too many ‘misses’ and disappointments to mention, but one was Amal Clooney. I must say I was not blown away by her bustier, pants, and floral printed overskirt ensemble (I thought it was a bit garish and do I not get how it related to the theme necessarily). But I did like her unexpected choice of designer: Richard Quinn, the British designer who got Queen Elizabeth to sit front row alongside Anna Wintour at his recent runway show.

– Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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