Fashion and controversy go hand in hand. Every runway show and outfit choice is meant to grab the attention of anyone who lays eyes on it. However, in recent years the industry has ventured into terrain that often incites angst, and more criticism than praise.
The announcement of the 2018 Met Gala was no exception. Next year’s highly anticipated event will revolve around “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” with hosts Rihanna, Amal Clooney and Donatella Versace.
The announcement immediately sparked apprehension not just within the fashion community, but in the media in general. Religion is an extremely tricky topic in fashion, as it can easily result in distasteful or disrespectful outfits. And due to the fact that we live in an increasingly social justice focused world, each outfit designed will have to navigate the space between “cultural appreciation” and “cultural appropriation” with extreme caution. Religion as the theme of one of the biggest fashion gatherings of the year only invites the potential for controversy.
On the other hand, the gala’s hosts are the most well suited and likable choices for the job. The well-respected fashion tycoon Donatella Versace, music and style A-lister Rihanna, and newly crowned media darling Amal Clooney, all possess the ability to transform the potentially awkward night into one of the best nights in the fashion industry. They will bring a reassuring air to an otherwise uncomfortable affair, and refocus attention on both the art and fundraising efforts.
Fashion is an art form which is meant to be provocative, and thought provoking, but there exists a fine line between alluring and offensive. This theme will either inspire delicate, renaissance age gowns and ornate Michelangelo like tuxes, or culturally insensitive imitation robes, which ultimately will distract from the Gala’s main focus. Only time will tell whether fashion’s biggest names will choose to embrace religion, or exploit it for the sake of media attention.