The annual Met Gala is dubbed as one of the most important nights in fashion. Every year, celebrities, designers, and heavy-hitters in fashion attend The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute benefit gala to celebrate the opening of that year’s exhibit, which always has a theme. This year, the theme was “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”, which explored the intersectionality of fashion and religion.
While celebrities have continued to post about their exquisite gowns on social media for days after the event, the very mixed reactions have continued to pour in, as well. Indeed, the theme was very prominent at this year’s Met ball, from Ariana Grande’s Sistine chapel-inspired dress designed by Vera Wang, to Sarah Jessica Parker’s Dolce and Gabbana Nativity Scene headpiece. As a result, this caused both reactions of optimism and anger to how such “inspirations” were displayed at this year’s event.
Ross Douthat, a Catholic columnist at the New York Times, called the gala a “beautiful and blasphemous spectacle” and qualified this statement by stating that “When a living faith gets treated like a museum piece, it’s hard for its adherents to know whether to treat the moment as an opportunity for outreach or for outrage.”
While it is entertaining and, indeed, beautiful, to marvel at the pieces—some of which took thousands of hours to create—one cannot help but wonder whether the theme is truly being appreciated as thought provoking, or as simply an excuse to wear an expensive, intricate designer piece and smile for the cameras.
While we love fashion, there also seems to be a double standard between the elite that are a part of this spectacle, and other fashion-lovers who do not have the privilege of spending $30,000 for their Met ball ticket – yes, you read that correctly.
If cultural appropriation is a faux-pas in fashion, and it should be, this year’s Met ball is guilty. Just last week, a a Utah teen wore a Chinese dress to her high school prom even though she was not Chinese herself, and faced a national uproar.
While fashion knows no limit, we, as responsible observers, should encourage fairness and mutual respect in order to truly be able to use moments like this to foster positive change and acceptance, whether that is with respect to religion or any other controversial issue.
Information accredited to Crux.