Rihanna: Reigning Queen of the Met Gala
Posted May 7, 2018 11:13 p.m. EDT
NEW YORK — Many celebrities flirted with the Met Gala theme this year — the influence of Catholicism on fashion — but no one took it on as fearlessly as Rihanna, who dressed like the female pope the Vatican’s never had.
She wore a white beaded Margiela corset mini dress under a full skirt, with a beaded bishop’s hat to match. The outfit was accessorized with a pearl anklet and a bejeweled crucifix necklace.
Rihanna’s hat was reminiscent of the papal tiaras worn by popes from the medieval era until the mid-1960s. The last papal tiara — a bejeweled, three-tiered gold and silver number worth at least $15,000 — was worn in 1963 by Pope Paul VI. He gave his tiara to the world’s poor the following year in a dramatic gesture at the end of a liturgical mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Still, the tiara isn’t banished from Catholicism for good. It can still be worn for ceremonies that call for full papal regalia. It seems only fitting that Rihanna donned the lavish symbol for the most lavish costume party of the year.
The singer, who was co-hosting the gala with Anna Wintour, Donatella Versace and Amal Clooney, has earned a reputation for being among the best-dressed — if not the very best — every year. In the weeks, days and hours leading up to the gala, the internet was bubbling with anticipation about what the singer, fashion designer and star of the upcoming coming Met Gala heist movie, “Ocean’s 8,” would wear.
Last year, for the theme “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between,” Rihanna fully embraced the avant-garde in a structured petal-covered Comme des Garçons number, with thigh-high strappy sandals. The two-piece, three-dimensional ensemble resembled pink, red and blue flowers in full bloom.
In 2015, the gala’s theme, “China: Through the Looking Glass,” was focused on the influence of Chinese culture on Western fashion. While some celebrities altered and sexualized traditional Chinese dresses — and others carried “China doll” bags and kimonos (which are Japanese) — Rihanna honored the theme by wearing a yellow embroidered fur-lined dress, with a 16-foot train by a Chinese designer. The couturier, Guo Pei, was popular in China before Rihanna wore her dress, but not well known in the U.S.
After the 2015 Met Gala, Guo Pei was catapulted to fame. Maybe this time next year, everyone will be wearing papal tiaras.