The rigid minds in the industry love to call the Met Gala “fashion prom,” but this year, it’s something else: the afterworld. A world of neverending happiness; you can always see the sun, day or night. There’s a lot of wiggle room in its 2018 theme, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” and with Catholicism as a prevailing theme in designs throughout history—including Gala co-chair Donatella Versace—less chance to fuck it up culturally speaking.
So, who’s coming as an exorcism? My lapsed-Catholic ass is ready for this shit, and praying (get it) that everyone thinks outside their Dolce and Gabbana and gets ruthless. I’m hoping we’ll get some commentary on the prevailing and globally oppressive anti-abortion mandate of the Vatican, for instance, or perhaps a cool, bloody homage to the Crusades. This is wishful thinking, I’m sure—if anyone comes as La Virgen I’ll cut their ass, maybe—but with Rihanna and Amal Clooney as fellow co-chairs, and in the wake of last year’s Rei Kawakubo homage, at the very least the directive may be more outré than in recent years. Please consecrate your night with our annual, constantly updating guide to all the looks as they happen; maybe after 8 p.m. we’ll start turning water into wine!
This year’s winner for earliest arrival: Jenna Bush Hager, whose image showed up on the wires by 5:04 p.m., which means she promptly arrived before happy hour in a god-crimson floral lace gown. She’s clearly covering it for Today—all the first people on any red carpet are television hosts—but the distinction of number one at the Met Gala is my favorite one to give; it is not an admission of thirst but an admission of stick-to-itiveness. The dress is whatever, a portent of what’s to come.
E!’s Alicia Quarles arrived in a Cristian Siriano quinces gown that for SURE will be the first of many tonight. Keltie Knight is here in Paolo Sebastian but it’s her earrings we’ll remember forever. Talk about religious iconography! Here’s Laura Love looking like a Dolce knight’s page, or a member of the band Cub.
Wow, the HOLY GHOST is in the house! The rumors are that Anna Wintour will retire after this year’s September issue, and if her level of happiness is any indication, all smiles point to yes. Additionally, she looks blessed, look at her working the light on the lower third of this image. Touched by a freakin angel.
The ever glamorous Amal Clooney kept it unconventional in cigarette pants and some kind of foil floral pattern, which looks like the carpet in somewhere that smells perpetually of Easter incense. Do your thing ma.
Daniel Kaluuya is every bit your altar boy crush; Francesco Carrozzi and Bee Shaffer are the flawless spawn of fashion royalty, like Westworld invented them. Gisele Schmidt is always somewhat funereal except now the event calls for it, and Gary Oldman.
Yessss, let’s get weird! Jasmine Sanders is out here looking like the chalice from whence you take the Eucharist. As your Priest would say monotonously, “BODY OF CHRIST. BODY OF CHRIST. BODY OF CHRIST.”
For my Riverdale hive, Lili Reinhart is interpreting Catholicism as more of an Ebenezer Scrooge joint. She’s the ghost of Christmas future and you betta recognize wind as the renewable energy it is, bish!
Furthering my Dickens theory, Cole Sprouse is here legit dressed AS Ebenezer. Princess Beatrice and Olivia Munn are trying to be rescued from the 14th and 13th centuries, respectively. And because you can’t have heaven without hell, may I introduce you to Mitt Romney?????
Donatella “Dis Tew Much” Versace is out here finna wrestle for Jesus, while Huma Abedin’s demure in a floral the color of God’s honeysuckle patch or some shit. What was the the most Catholic European country ca. 1822? Spain? That’s who Lynda Carter seems like she’s repping for, and the queen of. Rita Ora is just simply the queen of my heart with her TRICERATOPS REALNESS. Doesn’t she know creationists don’t do dinosaurs? Always a rebel.
Amanda Seyfried and some man are going for Shakespearean drama; Cynthia Erivo knows that God smiles upon nothing more in the Coachella epoch than a flash tat. If the gown is an indicator the only churches Wendi Deng Murdoch attends are in Vegas, which, can relate.
LILY COLLINS JOAN OF ARC IN THE CLUB WAITING FOR THE DROP
This is what we came for. The Three Wisemen Offset, Quavo, and Takeoff have arrived bearing frankincense, gold and brrrr! (GROAN)
Bella Hadid is like, an ounce of goth beneath the aspiration of princessness, a goal with the latex but a reach with the shoulders in fondant. Sies Marjan’s Sander Lak dressed Doutzen Kroes in the Northern Lights via Amsterdam, nature is brought to you through a popsicle. Katherine Langford and Misha Nonoo, I’m just not sure what the hell is going on. Like, do people associate religiosity with court jesterdom exclusively? I really expected tonight to be like every museum in Italy where you’re just walking through 42,000 square feet of 15th century, forlorn Jesus pics in gold leaf, but nah. Someone give me the SHROUD OF TURIN, at LEAST.
Kate Bosworth is at her first communion, huzzah, and my goddess Kate Moss, distaste in her mouth for this whole conservative shit, is dressed as the angel of death. Mindy Kaling’s crown is, I am hoping, some sort of silent protest invoking the Koh-i-noor diamond, because what is quickly becoming grossly apparent is that this night is deeply rooted in religious colonialism! Shout to Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin!
My most sacrilege story as a teen Catholic was during a meeting with my church as we prepared to make a massive pilgrimage to see Pope John Paul II for World Youth Day. The Bishop of the Archdiocese of Wyoming was there, as were all of my peers and our parents, including my very Catholic mother. The Bishop was like “Do you have any questions,” and I raised my hand, because I had a legit one. After he called on me, I very earnestly asked, “I actually don’t know why we’re making such a big deal out of the pope anyway?” My mom groaned with embarrassment, her years of driving me to catechism and church camp circling the drain. The Bishop, flustered and angry, spat back at me: “Because HE is the VICAR of CHRIST!!!!” I quit the Church not long after but now I finally understand.
Is this some monk shit or has Dolce led everyone to believe that Sicilian lace and feathers always lead back somehow to God? Anja Rubik and Amber Valletta kind of look like they’re going to the Waverly, save it for the afterparties, gals. Zöe Kravitz actually is giving me that Sicilian grandma shit, so yes, I believe she is pious. It worked. Uma Thurman is wearing a thing that looks exactly like the bridesmaid dress my friend showed me she has to wear to an upcoming wedding, except the bridesmaid dress was like 75 times tighter. Uma’s cool, you gotta let your shit breathe.
Eiza Gonzalez is here to raise the important question of how AI fits into religiosity and will hopefully later ask the Cardinal if he likes Blade Runner 2049! Normally at these things I get mad at people who don’t arrive FULLY on-theme but let’s get real, this theme is shitty and boring, so props to Gabrielle Union arriving like a ray of sunshine. You know the priest or CCD teacher you were always afraid of, and who you imagined slept in his vestments? Kris mfing Jenner. Meanwhile, I am so glad that SZA went more heavenly creatures than heavenly bodies! She’s that partygoer who’s gonna be reading charts by the end of the night.
Ashley Graham is one of the bronze statues of some saint my abuela used to keep on her altar, kudos for matching the spray-tan to the gown. Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin are my favorites of the night so far, they come off like their kink is cosplaying as religious figures on a regular (haha, they do tho). Kate Upton and Diane Kruger are again making me think that the only Catholicism anyone knows about is the Euro kind, I mean give colonialism a little more credit for its efficiency, they did this shit AROUND THE WORLD, not everything has to be French or Italian princess of yore!
Dakota Fanning, Hailee Steinfeld, Sasha Lane. The milkiness of chiffon and organza and angel robes. Lena Waithe, a pride flag, and institutional Catholic inconsistencies on its overall charity towards LGBTQ people. I think you know what’s up!
A rose is a rose is a rose is a Renell Medrano and ASAP Ferg, tactile and crispy as the LORD JESUS INTENDED.
Many of our friends, the Met Gala attendees, have chosen to interpret tonight’s godly theme through a series of crowns that either allude to or explicitly present themselves as halos. C.f.: Amber Heard, Karen Elson, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. But framing the skull is not the only place the heavenly aura appears; sometimes it occurs as a diamond burst along the front and side of the Timb, as though the holy spirit itself were to grace the feet of a legend. C.f.: Lewis Hamilton, also sometimes referred to as “my guy.”
DO YOU EVEN RENN FAYRE BRO?
Okay listen, I’ve never worn anything this brolic in my entire life, but I GUARANTEE that while Sarah Jessica Parker was shimmying and baby-powdering and contorting her body into this thing, she was blasting:
One thing that perhaps has not been made clear yet this evening is that spirituality is truly what you make of it, as embodied in these three young gentlemen known as Chadwick Boseman, Jaden Smith, and Donald Glover. But what we find out here is that any one of them can be a brain. An athlete. A basket case. A princess. An icon. An archbishop. A thinkpiece.
God is how you manifest.
From the American Gods guide to getting yours, an acknowledgement that all the stories we tell ourselves (to live) are part of a mythos that’s existed as long as humanity, even if you’re a HOST like Evan Rachel Wood, unleashed into sentience, or a DIAMOND like Jourdan Dunn, QUEEN VAMP and cool equestrian, or simply serving us Nike realness, Katy Perry out here flapping her shit like a Greek deity.
2 CHAINZ PROPOSED TO NAKESHA WARD ON THE STEPS OF THE MET!!!! Your mama definitely proud. She definitely looks like a dang angel.
The ‘90s, three ways: Frances McDormand is giving us Alexander McQueen (the father), Phillip Treacy (the son) and Isabella Blow (the holy ghost), with her look, exemplifying a metaphor that is extremely refreshing on this tan carpet of literalism. Then Ruby Rose accessorized with a large velvet/cross belt that is basically like if you Honey I Shrunk the Kids’d Madonna’s Like a Prayer choker. Then we got Shailene Woodley, doing Joan of Arc but also Roman soldier but also 1999 runway when everything was in that material, you know? I mean, live your truth.
Is that... Michael B. Jordan in... Off-White? SON, WHAT DID THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT FALSE IDOLS!!!!!! Claire Danes, Sarah Paulson, and Tracee Ellis Ross were like honestly fuck this shit, we are just going as a late ‘60s cocktail party.
MADONNA AND CHILD, THE ULTIMATE CARDI B. I’m assuming this is not immaculate conception but someone do a mold and put it in a museum (NOT on a perfume bottle, fucking thanks!).
[In the voice of DJ Whoo Kid] FIRST COMMUUUNIOONNNNNN [deep and guttural laugh]
Okay, the ‘60s element is falling into place—JFK was the last Catholic president, so perhaps it was a direct homage on the part of Alicia Vikander to silhouette Jacqueline Bouviér. But what of Jennifer Connolly? Or Joan Smalls? Is this all an actual Crusades reference, or in the case of Kim Kardashian West, a subtle shout to the iconic Jesus piece? Makes sense.
Cara Delevingne basically going as a confessional booth is exactly the kind of shit I was hoping to see tonight—conceptual, self-effacing (a primary facet of Catholicism), and referential. She gonna have to administer some fashion Hail Marys tonight. Em Rata is liquid gold and succeeds in being the exact fashion opposite of Greta Gerwig, who is the picture of piety? For her sake in tonight’s survival I hope she got the vape in the pantaloon. Letitia Wright has embraced this gala’s weird provisions and gone with its demands: lace! gold! necklines! Why is this a theme!
Puffy and Cassie are the world’s most serious priests. Anne Hathaway is the world’s most serious actor. Janelle Monáe is extremely serious about her dirty computer and this resort vacation she’s trying to take immediately after this freaky function. Ruth Negga’s ensemble appears to be imagining a future in which latex is breathable, I stand in solidarity with this particular fashion demand.
You ever seen The Last Kingdom on Netflix? It’s historical fiction about the battle for what we now know as England, between the Danish Vikings and the Saxons (later Anglo-Saxons) of what would become London. The Danes in the show have face tattoos and the Saxons are, relaxed, like, “What would happen if we could convert all these people to Christianity?” It happened, apparently, but only after a lot of living on the land and stabbing each other. This palette—Gigi Hadid, Jennifer Lopez, Mary Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen, Salma Hayek—reminds me of the earth tones in the godforsaken show, The Last Kingdom. Shout to the set designer.
Grimes and Elon Musk are hangin’, so... that’s goth. Priyanka Chopra is luxuriating in this rich velvet and gold drape. I love that Kylie Jenner is like “let’s do tiny reflective glasses for this Met Gala,” it’s fine and will be read as subversive (“omg a young person trend on the carp”) but is just whatever Insta. Travis Scott is here.
Madonna is doing Evita but braids? Sofia Coppola in a relaxation pantsuit as though she has been here every year for 100 years. Has she??? Tessa Thompson TURNED IT OUT in a Priest-goes-to-prom ensemble. And Winnie Harlow is an Easter lily, blooming and unconcerned with the moment, just the sun.
One thing we should all do to acknowledge: Nicki Minaj performed in 2012, wearing red Versace, in a theatrical performance that included a spoofed exorcism and homage to the Pope. Here she is doing the same, less provocatively perhaps but no less seriously, and here is a whole ass Met Gala that is based on her same idea, only less vilified. Just saying!
Gold and silver, silver and gold! Emilia Clarke is doing a cameo on the canvas of her skirt; Issa Rae is glowing in a gorgeous belted number. Michelle Williams again out here on some chain mail shit, and Yara Shahidi is like, the ballet queen who’s about to do 14 pirouettes without losing the hat.
I love how Nick Jonas is Color Me Badd dude 2012. The contrast stitch is fire.
Solange in Iris Van Herpen, the most innovative, future-projecting of the couture designers. It’s not about religion, it’s about ideas! Look at this god!