Although it feels as though the 2017 Met Gala has barely been and gone, the Costume Institute have recently announced the event’s 2018 theme as Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.
Unsurprisingly, the religious direction of the theme generated headlines that immediately commented on how controversial it is. And, although there are none that particularly denounce or praise it for being provocative, there are subtle hints at the potential to cause offence. However, those who are concerned by this year’s decision seem to forget what the aim of the Met Gala is and has always been: to respect, celebrate and honour the chosen theme through fashion. Additionally, the intention has always been to provide guests with a theme which enables them to both perplex and amaze spectators, through their own personal interpretation of what it means to them. Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of the guests not to choose disrespectful or distasteful outfits, thus the theme itself does not progress from a slight concern into an actual issue unless others choose to make it so.
Besides, it’s not as if the fashion industry hasn’t incorporated religious themes into designs before. Just recently, Jeremy Scott showcased multiple designs with Jesus iconography printed onto the front in his Autumn 2017 collection. Scott’s collection mainly received an influx of praise for its striking and eye-catching incorporation of religion into contemporary fashion.
If anything, we should be grateful that they’re pushing the provocativeness of the theme a little more this year, as the religious focus will hopefully encourage guests towards the direction of rich, deep hues of purple and red – or a whole spectrum of glowing colour if inspired by stained glass effects – and plenty of gold, plus with any luck some more stunning iconography. This could actually revive some of the lustre the Gala was lacking in 2017, with many of the celebrities playing it painfully safe with the Rei Kawakubo/Comme Des Garçons theme of 2017 (yes Selena Gomez, it is you we’re still judging).
So unless any guests decide to take the theme in an unsavoury direction (basically, any Catholic schoolgirl type outfits are a clear and resounding no-no) or equally unless they decide to play it safe again, donning just a plain black dress with stiff white collar, I’m otherwise incredibly excited to see the looks that will be produced.