Heavenly Bodies

Jessica Mackin-Cipro
Donatella Versace and Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan at the “Heavenly Bodies” preview.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute spring 2018 exhibition, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” opens to the public on Thursday, May 10. In celebration of the opening, The Met’s Costume Institute Benefit, also known as The Met Gala, was held on Monday.

Considered to be the fashion industry’s premier event, each year’s gala celebrates the theme of that year’s Costume Institute exhibition. The exhibition also sets the tone for the formal dress of the night. Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour oversees both the benefit committee and the guest list. This year’s co-chairs included Amal Clooney, Rihanna, Donatella Versace, and Anna Wintour, and honorary chairs Christine and Stephen Schwarzman. The event is The Costume Institute’s main source of annual funding.

“We hope people from around the world are inspired by the beauty they see here,” said Stephen Schwarzman at a press preview on Monday.

The thematic exhibit examines fashion’s ongoing engagement with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism. It features a dialogue between fashion and masterworks of medieval art in The Met collection. The exhibition hosts 49 ecclesiastical masterworks from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, many of which have never been seen outside the Vatican.

His Eminence Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan also made remarks at the preview, stating that both the Catholic Church and fashion industry aim for “truth, goodness, and beauty.”

“The pope wears Prada,” opened Andrew Bolton, Wendy Yu curator in charge of The Costume Institute, in his remarks.

Designers in the exhibition include Azzedine Alaïa, Cristobal Balenciaga, Geoffrey Beene, Thom Browne, Gabrielle Chanel, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix, Karl Lagerfeld, Henri Matisse, Rick Owens, and Yves Saint Laurent, to name a few.

The exhibit runs through October 8. View the exhibit at The Met Fifth Avenue and uptown at The Met Cloisters.

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