Is 2018 Met Gala Theme a Recipe for Disaster?

3:15 PM 11/9/2017

by Sam Reed and Stephanie Chan

Tonight's Met Gala theme, "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination," should create some interesting red carpet moments. It won't be the first time pop stars have mixed fashion and faith.

Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga - Split - Getty - H 2017
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  • Beyonce at the 2017 Grammys

    Beyonce channeled Madonna (the Virgin Mary, not the singer) while performing in an elaborate gold ensemble at the 2017 Grammy Awards. 

    The singer paired her sheer, bedazzled gown, which was artfully draped over her very pronounced baby bump, with a golden, halo-inspired crown reminiscent of a Byzantine-era religious artwork.

    The biggest difference in Bey's performance, however, was her replacement of patriarchal imagery — male apostles, prophets, saviors, etc. — with images of herself, her mother, Tina Lawson and her daughter, Blue Ivy. 

  • Nicki Minaj at the 2012 Grammys

    Nicki Minaj made quite the fashion statement at the Grammy Awards in 2012, when she arrived in a red silk hooded Versace gown reminiscent of a religious robe. She further drove home her controversial sartorial point by stepping out arm-in-arm with a man dressed as a pope.

  • Katy Perry at the 2013 Met Gala

    Katy Perry looked to Dolce & Gabbana's fall 2013 collection, which re-imagined the golden mosaics of Sicily's Cathedral of Monreale, for her 2013 Met Gala ensemble.

    Perry, who grew up in a Christian household, stood out in a fully beaded and embellished dress that featured a bedazzled religious figure along the torso. According to the pop star, she picked the flashy dress to coincide with that year's "Punk: Chaos to Couture" theme. "I looked at it and I thought to myself, 'Oh if I wore this, I feel like I would be the original punk, like a Joan of Arc," she said at the time. She also paired her outfit with a gold crown and crucifix earrings.

    Looks like this outfit could fit well with this year's Met Gala theme, too.

  • Lady Gaga on the 'Monster Ball' Tour

    Never one to shy away from controversial outfits, Lady Gaga hit the stage wearing an edgy twist on a nun's habit and a see-through latex dress (with crosses covering her nipplesl, natch) during her Monster Ball Tour in 2011.

    Gaga's questionable nod to nuns was also part of her 2010 "Alejandro" music video, which saw her swallowing a set of rosary beads while wearing a red latex habit.

  • Swedish Heavy Metal Band Ghost

    Cloaked and cowled Swedish heavy metal band Ghost (B. Akerlund styles them) is led by a vocalist posing as a Satanic pope named Papa Emeritus. 

    Following a long history of theatrical-looking metal rockers (Kiss, Alice Cooper), Papa Emeritus wears a skull-painted face and is joined on stage by religiously-garbed band members known as Nameless Ghouls. Not surprisingly, Ghost's music is also a commentary on the church, "we are dabbling with mankind and his or her relationship to God. That has been the thing through all three records. It will be the thing on the fourth, too," a member tells Rolling Stone.


  • Gwen Stefani in the "Wind It Up" Music Video

    For her "Wind It Up" music video in 2006, Gwen Stefani briefly dressed up as a nun in a short hooded habit at the beginning of the video.

    The Sophie Muller-directed clip was influenced by The Sound of Music, according to the singer. "I remember when I was a little girl and saw The Sound of Music, it was such a huge inspiration for me. It was a huge staple forever. If you go see it, you can see all the references [from the video]," she told MTV at the time.

    The video also sees Stefani portraying an orchestra conductor, as well as a modern Maria von Trapp.

  • Madonna on the 'Confessions' Tour

    Being subtle has never been Madonna's strong suit. Case in point: During her Confessions Tour in 2006, Madge performed her single, "Live to Tell," while hanging on a giant mirrored cross and wearing a crown of thorns — a not-so-subtle reference to the crucifixion of Jesus.

    After drawing negative reactions from certain religious groups, Madonna said of the situation, "My performance is neither anti-Christian, sacrilegious or blasphemous. Rather, it is my plea to the audience to encourage mankind to help one another and to see the world as a unified whole."

    Of course, that was hardly the first time the Material Girl upset faith-based organizations. The "Like a Prayer" music video, which featured many Catholic symbols including stigmata and cross burning, was condemned by the Vatican in 1989 when the clip was released.