Wednesday 18 September 2019

Angels & demons

Good mostly overcame bad as stars opted for daring looks at the Catholic-themed Met Gala, writes Meadhbh McGrath

Rihanna arrives at the Met Gala
Rihanna arrives at the Met Gala
Ariana Grande
Greta Gerwig
Katy Perry
Emma Stone
Jennifer Lopez
Shailene Woodley
Blake Lively

Meadhbh McGrath

For true fashion fans, the only red carpet that matters is the Met Gala. Run by US Vogue editor Anna Wintour and hosted this year by Donatella Versace, Amal Clooney and Rihanna, it welcomes the biggest names in film, music, design and even political figures like Mitt Romney, Huma Abedin and, in past years, Donald and Melania Trump, who got engaged at the event in 2004.

This year's theme was Heavenly Bodies, to honour the Costume Institute's exhibition exploring the influence of the Catholic church on fashion.

It proved to be one many stars could adhere to, resulting in a string of fabulously daring looks. Some stars used the occasion to level criticism at the church, including Emmy winner Lena Waithe, who confronted the church's exclusion of the LGBT community in a spectacular rainbow flag cape, and singer Solange Knowles, who celebrated black pride in a sequinned head covering that read "My God Wears a Durag".

Actress Zendaya paid tribute to Joan of Arc in breath-taking Versace chainmail (attempting a similar homage, albeit much less successfully, was Shailene Woodley in ill-fitting Ralph Lauren).

Katy Perry's effort to make a statement in six-foot high feathered wings and a gold Versace mini dress fell flat, but Ariana Grande's Vera Wang dress offered a feast for the eyes, featuring Michelangelo's 'The Last Judgement' from the Sistine Chapel. JLo embraced the theme in stunning Balmain, while pregnant rapper Cardi B looked every inch the fertility goddess in heavily-beaded Moschino.

The 'naked dress' was conspicuously absent as more modest silhouettes prevailed, most notably on Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig, whose sumptuous gown by The Row nodded to a nun's habit.

Sunburst halos proved to be a major trend. They offered an easy interpretation of the theme, but were taken to towering extremes by Blake Lively, in a crimson Versace gown so grand she had to take a party bus to the ball.

With a theme as provocative and personal as religion, the event risked becoming the most controversial of all. But aside from a cohort of Twitter users who cried 'cultural a-pope-riation' at Rihanna's deliciously opulent papal-inspired robe and mitre by Maison Margiela (never let it be said she doesn't commit), the ball was blissfully free of outrage - and sexy Catholic schoolgirl outfits.

Irish Independent

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