2018 MET MUSEUM costume institute EXHIBITION
FASHION & THE CATHOLIC IMAGINATION
Fashion's ANGELS in AMERICA
// words + PHOTOS by TEDDY TINSON //
May 7, 2018, NEW YORK, NY - This morning, The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute previewed its new exhibition, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” ahead of tonight's star-studded benefit (a little party known as the Met Gala). Through a partnership with the Vatican, the show marks the first time certain papal vestments have ever been on display outside of Vatican City; they are presented in the Anna Wintour Costume Center, on a separate floor apart from the contemporary fashions.
According to VOGUE, the show, curated by Andrew Bolton, is the museum’s largest in terms of square footage, winding from the Anna Wintour Costume Center through the museum’s Byzantine and Medieval art galleries and into the circular Robert Lehman Wing, with another group of installations annexed in the Cloisters. Bolton’s latest show is impressive in terms of scale and scope, and also remarkable for how it tackles what he calls the “underlying nervousness” in discussing the relationship between religion, art, and clothing. His Eminence, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York was in attendance at this morning's preview and remarked, "Thank God for the gift of beauty."
At the start of the exhibition, all hearts, minds, and eyes are drawn toward an oversize pair of wooden angel wings (fashioned as a backless corset with leather harness) by Alexander McQueen from the late designer's Spring/Summer 1998 collection, against stained-glass. In the main hall, museum-goers are greeted by a Fellini-esque line-up of "fashion nuns" mostly donning Thom Browne. A dramatically-lit liturgy of breathtaking haute couture runway exits fit for The Young Pope or Joan of Arc, meanwhile, serve as the exhibition's anchor. These include designs from Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Paul Gaultier, Elsa Schiaparelli, Christian Dior, and Christian Lacroix. Also on view: the Lacroix silk jacket with a bejeweled cross emblazoned across its bust that Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele paired with Guess denim, styled on Israeli model Michaela Bercu, for Anna Wintour's very first American VOGUE cover in 1988. (Is this a clue confirming A.W's rumored retirement after 30 years at the helm of fashion's bible? I doubt it, but it'd certainly make for one impossibly chic swan song. To quote Candy Pratts Price, "Anna is like the Pope.") I digress. Lacroix, Sweetie, Dahling!
Down the hall, the Atelier Versace chainmail itti-biti-mini-dress and silk organza veil (both sacrilegiously adorned with glittery rhinestone crosses!) immortalized by Naomi Campbell in 1997 - also known as my ideal/"in my dreams" 2018 Oscars after-party look, lest you forget - literally sits on high alongside a half-dozen more of the house's signature chainmail goddess gowns. (Paging My Friend, Michelle Obama!) Gianni's glorious rainbow colored, crystal encrusted bustiers, and handsome boleros are neatly nestled in an adjacent cave.
// words + PHOTOS by TEDDY TINSON //
This year's benefit co-chairs include Donatella Versace, Amal Clooney, and Rihanna. Coincidentally, VOGUE's June 2018 cover girl (and unofficial/reigning Met Gala Queen) @BadGalRiri will also co-star in this summer's highly anticipated all-female Ocean's 8 film franchise reboot. Spoiler: the plot centers around a Met Gala-themed heist. I predict a friendly fashion showdown at tonight's soirée from the Ocean's 8 ladies; It just makes sense when the cast includes Riri, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina, and Helena Bonham Carter.
“Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” opens to the public Thursday, May 10. In the interim, enjoy the images above (also uploaded on my Instagram feed) for highlights from this morning's preview, and stay tuned for tonight's inaugural #YGBQ Red Carpet Rundown to see who's DRESSED for the GAWDZ!