What Is The 2018 Met Gala Theme? It's Inspired By Catholicism

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The who's who in society have been put on notice: It's time to start planning your next Met Gala outfit. While the next exhibition isn't until May 2018, the 2018 Met Gala theme has just been announced — and it's going to be an interesting one. The theme of the ball will be Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. Meant to link back to all the famous religious works available for viewing in the iconic museum, this exhibit will aim to express how the religion not only inspired fashion, but also helped shape it. According to Andrew Bolton, the costume institute curator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, he will aim to show how “material Christianity” has helped form “the Catholic imagination.”  

More than that, there will also be a study on how fashion and religion often clashed throughout history. Their intersection, Bolton explained, has often times been “complex and sometimes contested,” but nevertheless it has resulted in amazing and memorable pieces.

In order to bring this curation together, he will be working with colleagues from the Met’s medieval department and the Cloisters, the branch of the Met that specializes in European medieval architecture, sculpture, and decorative arts. According to Vogue, there are already some exciting items acquired, which will help inspire guests as they choose what to wear for the red carpet. The star item thus far is a papal garb on loan from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, which almost never leaves the Vatican. The Met wasn't even able to acquire it for their 1983 exhibit, “The Vatican Collections: The Papacy and Art," so this is quite the feat.

It will be fascinating to see not only the curation, but stars' interpretation of the tricky and somewhat controversial theme. Expect to see safe bets, like celebs walking down in Dolce & Gabbana, which has dabbled in Christian motifs for years now, or more sensational options, like Jeremy Scott's new (and angry) Fall 2017 collection.

There are a bevvy of designers that have used Christianity as inspiration in their past collections, so no one is going to be at a loss as to where to pull their outfits from. To speculate what we might be treated to come May, here are some previous religion-inspired collections.

1Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2013

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Taking on the Byzantine mosaics of the Cathedral of Monreale, the two Catholic designers pulled from their religion to create their Fall 2013 collection. Their infamous wiggle dresses and midi skirts were decorated with Italian motifs featuring chubby cherubs, the sacred Madonna, baby Jesus, and crosses of all shapes, sizes, and styles. It was the Vatican dressed up in couture.

2Jean Paul Gaultier Spring 2007

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Jean Paul Gaultier's runway turned into a religious experience in Spring 2007, where models painted into crying Madonnas glided down the catwalk. Whether they were wearing a white pantsuit or a dream-like dress, each model had an elaborate halo on her head. The clothes were inspired from the centuries of masterful artwork found inside old churches.

3Jeremy Scott Fall 2017

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Not your typical come-to-Jesus collection, Jeremy Scott's Fall 2017 show created a hybrid between pop culture and religion. Featuring Christian iconography on top of leopard prints, shiny mini dresses, and bright, neon colors, it was a capsule full of contrasts. He thought of the concept right after the 2016 election, channeling his anger at the outcome into art. "We're in this mess we’re in by not seeing the difference between deities and politicians and entertainers," Scott shared with W.

4Christian Dior Fall 2000

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In Christian Dior's Fall 2000 show, the designer opened his runway with a series of characters that explored sex and fetishism. It started with an old-timey bridal party marching down the catwalk, but they were first introduced by a sadistic priest in gorgeous, gold garb who swung incense down the runway.

Glimpsing at these past collections, you get an idea how wild the 2018 red carpet will be. Hopefully the stars start planning their looks early.