The 2018 Met Gala: Religious costumes at a fundraising event

Each year, fashion enthusiasts look forward to the Met Gala or Met Ball held by the Metropolitan Museum of Arts’s Fashion Institute. This invitation-only fundraising event also marks the beginning of the Institute’s fashion exhibit. Celebrities such as Rihanna, Blake Lively, Madonna, Katy Perry, etc. are expected to dress up according to the year’s chosen theme. For the Met Gala 2018, the theme (“Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic imagination”) caused, as expected, quite a controversy.

Catholicism and controversy: should Met Gala 2018 guests have worn religious costumes?

While not all the guests dressed up in elaborate religious costumes, some celebrities took their gala gowns to the next level. Rihanna and Katy Perry were the most talked-about celebrities on Twitter last night: Rihanna’s papal gown and Katy Perry’s 6-foot angel wings certainly made a splash. Some fans were awed by the gorgeous outfits worn on the red carpet, but others were not impressed; Catholics called the Gala “disrespectful”, “wrong”, and “offensive”.  Others wore more typical cardinal costumes and priest costumes. The Vatican, however, had approved of the theme, and even lent some accessories to the Met.

met gala 2018 religious costumes controversy

Source: Twitter


The question sparked a heated debate on social media, with devout Catholics arguing that religion should not be a fashion statement, and other people pointing out that Catholicism has its dark sides, which should not be celebrated or promoted. Are these religious-themed outfits, and, by extension, religious costumes in general disrespectful? Did the Met Gala gloss over some of the problematic aspects of Catholicism? The question remains open: what do you think? Would you wear a religious costume or outfit?


Highlights from the Met Gala


Regardless of what the answer to that question may be, it is undeniable that some of the religious costumes from the Met Gala 2018 were absolutely stunning: here are some of our favourites.


Rihanna’s religious costume: the controversial (but gorgeous) papal dress

Rihanna’s papal gown, complete with a matching headpiece, certainly got people talking. Heavy Metal band Ghost, who are known for their Pope costumes, even gave her a shoutout!

Religious Costume Rihanna Met Gala 2018

Source: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Katy Perry’s religious costume: wings for days

Katy Perry Met Gala 2018

Source: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Katy Perry made an entrance you couldn’t miss, clad in gold and wearing gorgeous 6-foot wings.

Chadwick Boseman’s outfit: Wakanda at the Met Gala 2018

Met Gala 2018 Religious Costume Chadwick Boseman

Source: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Black Panther fans were overjoyed to see the cast reunited at the Met Gala 2018, and Chadwick Boseman’s religious outfit made quite an impression.

Jared Leto, Lana Del Rey, and Alessandro Michele: Gucci fashion and religious costumes


Jared Leto Lana Del Rey Met Gala 2018

Source: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

With her stunning headpiece, Lana Del Rey was absolutely striking. Next to her, Jared Leto and Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele adorned Jesus-inspired religious costumes.

Lena Waithe’s Met Gala Outfit: a powerful statement

Lena Waithe met gala 2018

Source: Twitter

Rather than simply showing up in a religious costume, some celebrities used the Met Gala’s theme as a point of discussion about Catholicism. By wearing an incredible pride flag cape, Lena Waithe made an extremely powerful statement.

Zendaya’s religious costume: Joan of Arc at the Met Gala


Source: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Zendaya’s Joan of Arc inspired religious costume was arguably one of the most original outfits at this year’s Met Gala.

Religious costumes and fashion: it’s not the first time

Fashion, after all, is art, and art has often been inspired by religion or used to discuss religion. In that sense, it seems appropriate that these Met Gala outfits have gotten people talking. As points out, past fashion collections have also included heavily Catholic influenced garments:


Source: themadameblue

Should Rihanna’s papal gown be so controversial, then? Or was this year’s Met Gala theme sacrilegious? We’d love to hear your opinions.