The Met Gala might be The Fashion Party of the Year (Rihanna as the Pope! Jared Leto channeling Jesus!), but its themes tend to have lasting effects on fashion and accessories long after the theatrics and social media storms have died down. This year’s theme: “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” is sure to spark the obvious trend of crosses going forward, but after seeing the Red Carpet parade, it’s clear that there will be other influences as well. From rich embroidered reds to jewel encrusted golds, some designers celebrated the opulence of the Catholic Church through the ages and many of its processional garments. Some other themes sure to pick up:
Katy Perry did not disappoint at this year’s Met Gala (did anyone expect her to?), and showed up in huge feathered angel’s wings. This A-list angel might just boost the angel wing trend, which has been fairly strong lately anyway.
The Angel wing trend has wings (sorry) not just because they’re beautiful, but also because they’re an easy trend for consumers of all faiths to tap into. They aren’t an overt religious symbol like a cross, but rather a more spiritual one. Agabhumi captured their essence in a pair of earrings, beautifully carved in mother of pearl.
Headpieces were everywhere at the Met Gala, so much so that we’re giving them their own post. While these were of course, more dramatic, they should inspire a spike in golden head crowns (something has to replace all those flower crowns of yesteryear!).
You don’t immediately think of pearls as being something intricately tied to the Catholic Church…until Rihanna stepped onto the Red Carpet, that is. Encrusted from head to toe in pearls (her “Pope hat” is officially called a mitre), Rihanna was stunning in all white pearls and crystals. New York City archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan lent it to Rihanna (could we make this stuff up?)
What you might have missed during the Met Gala was the custom crystal and pearl-encrusted Slim Slide clutch made for her by Judith Leiber. With a subtle cross positioned front and center, this was the bag of the evening.
Crosses might be the most obvious influence to come out of the event, and they’ve been a strong fashion statement ever since Madonna thrust them into pop culture back in the 80s. The exhibition showed a wide range of crosses, including pieces from the Met’s archives as well as borrowed ones from the Vatican. There was also a vast array of fashion crosses collected for the show by more current fashion designers.
Jewelry designer Kenneth Jay Lane, known for fashion interpretation of Maltese and more traditional crosses, has been with this trend all along. “Kenneth actually gave one of these crosses to the Pope!” says Chris Sheppard, President of Kenneth Jay Lane.
“We’ve always had an extensive assortment of crosses in the collection, and they’re more a fashion statement than a strong religious element,” says Sheppard. But he is optimistic about how the show might spark renewed interest. “It’s been years since Madonna made crosses such a hot accessory item, and having such a wonderful exhibit as ‘Heavenly Bodies’ can only help them gain more in popularity.”
SAINTS AND THE VIRGIN MARY
To be honest, this is a trend that won’t be appropriated by many non Catholics, but the industry might very well see a spike in saint and Virgin Mary jewelry for this market, as a result of the show’s closer look into this world (according to U.S. Catholic, there are over 10,000 saints venerated by the Catholic Church!).
Off course, consumers can also swing by the Met Store to get exclusive items specifically inspired by the exhibition and created by master goldsmith and jewelry historian Donna Distefano.
The knight/religious warrior trend on the Met Gala’s Red Carpet caught us a bit by surprise, but it does make sense. Celebrities like Zendaya showed up in full armor (actually, a silver Versace gown) and chain mail, representing martyr and religious warrior Joan of Arc. She looked amazing, and we think consumers might be eager to test this trend out in more accessible ways.
Shields, particularly triangular-shaped ones, were also used during those times in the Crusades. These shield earrings by Bianca Pratt are right on point, made fashionable in gold and diamonds.
Not sure the Church would necessarily approve of Kim Kardashian’s slinky Versace dress (although almost 3 million of KKW’s followers sure did), but we see gold becoming an even bigger trend moving forward. (It’s interesting since The Met’s 2016’s “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an age of Technology” definitely kicked off a silver trend!).
Catholic Churches were rich with gold, from gold jewelry to gold chalices to gold leaf in books and other items. Many stars used this trend in their dresses and accessories, sometimes singularly and sometimes paired with gold. Regardless, gold jewelry, gold shimmer and gold metallics are sure to have another spike.