The theme of the 2018 Met Gala, which is often used as inspiration for everyone’s ensembles on the red carpet as well, is “Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” The exhibition the gala will be celebrating will highlight the many links between past and present fashion and Catholicism, religious art and even liturgical vestments, which means gala attendees are encouraged to bring elements of Catholicism and its art to their outfits.
Cue our anxiety.
This is a theme that could be gorgeous — plenty of designers including Galliano and Versace have drawn inspiration from Catholic imagery and its own fashion through the years. It is also a theme celebrities could get very wrong, and come dressed up as, oh we don’t know, a bunch of nuns.
Nuns can be fierce, yes. We all love The Sound of Music and Sister Act, but this is a high-fashion event that’s meant to celebrate both religious iconography as well as fashion, and showing up in some Party City nonsense would be disrespectful.
So here are some tips for celebrities not trying to offend an entire group of people.
Please don’t dress up like Jesus
Listen y’all, just do not do this. We know he’s the centerpiece of a lot of Catholic art, but do not come with a cross. Do not come wearing a beard. Do not come in those sandals.
You are not Jesus, nor will you ever be. Justin Bieber, sweetie, do not do this.
Please don’t dress up like a nun
Again: We know Sister Act rules, but simply just dressing up like a nun isn’t enough for this event. Even on Halloween this costume is a bit cliché, and the Met Gala red carpet really should be a celebration of luxe fashion and couture.
Please don’t dress up like a sexified pope
It’s just lazy (and disrespectful), dude!
Please don’t dress up like a sexified Mary Magdalene
It’s just lazy (and disrespectful), girl!
Please don’t dress up like a sexified priest
Sensing a theme? If you’re thinking about merely slipping into a sexy anything-to-do-with-this-theme ensemble, do not do it. We can see some press-hungry dude showing up with a clerical collar and a shirt unbuttoned to his belt.
We would frankly rather you come dressed up as a straight-up communion wafer. (Don’t get any ideas, Rihanna.)
Maybe don’t insensitively allude to the Catholic church’s many scandals?
You know we have to say this. Celebrities at the Met Gala have used their fashion to send political messages before, and with this particular theme, someone could easily use their outfit as a way to call out the church’s scandals, and maybe even the ones involving sexual abuse.
We’re all for free speech here of course, and red carpets are naturally a good platform to make a statement, but celebrities should be sure to not allude to these scandals in an insensitive or even slightly lighthearted way. Just be smart about it.
No blood please
There’s hella blood and violence in a lot of religious and Catholic art. Maybe don’t splatter that on your face and/or body. It’s neither respectful nor chic.
That all being said, there has been truly gorgeous fashion influenced by the Catholic church and its art. Celebrities could show up in gowns that look like stained glass windows or make them look like angels (in a chic way) or have Renaissance-era paintings printed on the gown itself.
No matter what, we’ve got a feeling the gala on May 7 will likely be unforgettable — for better or for worse.