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Revealed! Met Gala 2018 Theme: “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”

The Costume Institute will present “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” as it’s 2018 theme.  "Designed to create a dialogue between fashion and the masterworks of religious art in the museum’s holdings, the show will be presented in a trinity of locations: the Anna Wintour Costume Center, the medieval galleries at the Met’s Fifth Avenue location, and further uptown at the Cloisters. Central to the conversation will be the papal garb on loan from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, many of which have never been seen outside the Vatican, even in the 1983 Met blockbuster, “The Vatican Collections: The Papacy and Art.”

The ecclesiastical pieces will highlight the influence of religion and liturgical vestments in fashion and will display works from designers from around the world.  Sponsors are Christine and Stephen A. Schwarzman, of the show and Donatella Versace and  additional support by Condé Nast.  The exhibit will include around 150 pieces from renown designers including Coco Chanel and John Galliano, whose Christian Dior AW2000 show opened to a voice chanting “Understand the concept of love” with a pope-like model swinging incense, quite a site.

2018 Met Gala co-hosts: Amal Clooney, Rihanna, and Donatella Versace. By placing fashion within “the broader context of religious artistic production” (like paintings and architecture), Costume Institute curator in charge Andrew Bolton, working alongside colleagues from the Met’s medieval department and the Cloisters, aims to show how “material Christianity” has helped form “the Catholic imagination.” The intersection of faith and fashion, the sacred and profane, as it were, has not always been easy—“complex and sometimes contested” is how Bolton characterizes the relationship—but the interplay between the two has inspired some awe-inspiring sartorial innovation.

“Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” is on view May 10–October 8, 2018. A catalog with photographs by Katerina Jebb will accompany the exhibition.



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