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Fashion victim

08 May 2018 | Liz Bowen

ICYMI, last night marked the fashion orgy that is the Met Gala Ball.

Each year, the great and the good of Hollywood, the music industry and everything in-between come out in an attempt to outdo each other (and their own, previous red carpet moments) for what is surely the biggest night in the fashion calendar.

In the run-up to the event, social media was awash with stars sharing their former fashion endeavours and teasing their looks for this year’s event, the theme of which was ‘Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination’.

Alongside award ceremonies like the Oscars, the Met Gala can be a turning point for designers who go all out to create red-carpet dominating styles which are either lauded into fashion Heaven or condemned to fashion Hell.

The event is actually a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York – a fact often overshadowed by the numerous fashion headlines and debates.

One of the many designers making headlines this year was Marchesa – the fashion house founded in 2004 by Georgina Chapman, the ex-wife of Harvey Weinstein, and her business partner, Keren Craig.

Since the accusations and wide-spread condemnation of the movie mogul last year, Marchesa designs have been visibly absent from the red-carpet, until actress Scarlett Johansson became the first person to don one of their designs at a high profile event.

Following the claims against Weinstein, there was debate over whether Hollywood’s elite would continue to turn to Marchesa, while the fashion house cancelled its runway show at New York Fashion Week earlier this year. No doubt then, seeing an a-list actress like Johansson, who is a vocal supporter of the #MeToo campaign, back in one of their designs is a big moment for Marchesa and one that is sure to generate debate.

However, while the fashion choices can be polarising, nothing has been quite as polarising as this year’s religious theme which has attracted criticism from the Church and social media users, who branded it ‘blasphemous’, ‘disgusting’ and ‘disrespectful’.

The Met Gala is no stranger to controversy, however, has this year’s event finally pushed things too far?

Of all the attendees, pop star Rihanna – who is often the most talked about attendee at the event thanks to her extravagant outfit choices – has come under fire for her outfit, especially her headgear, which was reminiscent of the Pope’s mitre.

Many blasted the event for making fun of Catholicism, claiming that this would not happen to any other religion, while an Australian opinion writer took a different approach in her criticism, claiming the theme celebrated ‘the two things so many find repugnant about the Catholic Church’; its wealth and ‘weird’ relationship with sex and sexuality.

Yet, despite this, the negative reviews and headlines are hardly likely to affect the event too much. As such a dominant event in the fashion calendar, once the headlines die down, it’ll surely go ahead as normal next year, with yet another ostentatious theme and fashion choices.