“The Nativity” (detail) by Zanobi Strozzi & an evening dress by Jeanne Lanvin for Lanvin

New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced its Spring 2018 exhibition, which will also serve as the theme for the museum’s annual Met Gala. “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” opens at The Met Fifth Avenue on May 10th, 2018 and runs until October 8th. The exhibition, presented throughout three locations at the Anna Wintour Costume Center, the medieval galleries at the Met Fifth Avenue and the Cloisters uptown, will feature 50 ecclesiastical masterworks from the Sistine Chapel sacristy and 150 ensembles from the early 20th century to the present by a wide range of designers including Coco Chanel, Jeanne Lanvin, Gianni Versace, Vivienne Westwood, Craig Green, Thom Brown and Rei Kawakubo (whom the Costume Institute honored with its 2017 exhibit “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between”). Papal garb never before seen outside the Vatican will also be loan by the Sistine Chapel for the duration of the show.

British Bible and Book of Common Prayer & an evening dress by Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino

“The Catholic imagination is rooted in and sustained by artistic practice, and fashion’s embrace of sacred images, objects, and customs continues the ever-evolving relationship between art and religion,” said Daniel H. Weiss, President and CEO of The Met. The exhibition and gala’s religious theme is sure to spark controversy. Andrew Bolton, Curator of the Costume Institute addressed the inevitable backlash: “Fashion and religion have long been intertwined, mutually inspiring and informing one another…Although this relationship has been complex and sometimes contested, it has produced some of the most inventive and innovative creations in the history of fashion.”

The Met Gala will take place on May 7th, 2018 co-chaired by Amal Clooney, Rihanna, Donatella Versace, and Anna Wintour. Christine and Stephen A. Schwarzman are this year’s Honorary Chairs. Considering the gala’s history of iconic red carpet moments, we can’t wait to see what fashion and art’s biggest stars decide to wear this year. And don’t miss our roundup of the best Met Gala looks of years past!

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