I'm Not Mad About the Met Gala, Except That I Wasn't Invited: Catholic Stuff Saturday

Happy Saturday folks, the winner of last week's giveaway is at the bottom!

If you are a fashionable celebrity who reads this blog, you're probably aware of last Monday's Met Gala. For the rest of us, the Met Gala is a yearly red carpet/costume party thing where famous people get dressed up by famous fashion designers, in over the top outfits based on the theme of a special exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This year's gala was especially noteworthy for Catholics as the theme was Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and The Catholic Imagination.

The exhibit features art, design, and even architecture on loan from the Vatican, and paired by the Met curator with notable works of fashion design. It sounds really amazing. If I didn't live very far away from New York City, I'd go see it.

I enjoyed this article on how the exhibit came to be:

The Costume Institute Takes On Catholicism

and especially this quote from the Catholic exhibit curator: “Beauty has often been a bridge between believers and unbelievers.” Truth.

But the exhibit at the museum always seems to get less press than the red carpet in front of it, and this year was no exception. I started hearing buzz about the theme a few weeks back, and I was immediately SUPER excited. I appreciate fashion, particularly Catholic fashion. I own and wear and love Annunciation Stained Glass Leggings, that aren't everyone's cup of tea, but are totally my cup of tea. I was pretty confident that I was going to enjoy the spectacle. I was a little disappointed when my invitation never arrived in the mail.

I had to be content to just enjoy perusing photos of the red carpet looks from the comfort of my home. Anyway, it lived up to my expectations. I thought some of the dresses were beautiful and creative and I would TOTALLY wear them.

The Marys! The beading! I swoon. If we could put some cap sleeves on there I'd wear it every day. Or maybe Joan of Arc for every day, and Marys for Sunday?

The Joan of Arc dress is a beautiful interpretation, and she's even got the hair!

Some, I appreciated the effort, but they just didn't QUITE work for me.

The sorrowful heart on this dress is WAY cool and I would totally rock it at next year's All Saint's Day Pageant. I also am totally there for her St. Lucy's eyes on a stick.

I'm just not getting them together, and with a winged halo. Apparently Sarah Jessica Parker's hat on the right features a miniature nativity scene. A for effort!

Some were predictably tacky, and tackily predictable. Sigh.

Despite rumors to the contrary, that is definitely not a mitre lent to Rihanna by Archbishop Dolan. He was joking. All the Catholic imagery and imagination of the last two thousand years and all you can come up with is a sexy cardinal costume? It looks like she got it off the rack at the Halloween Store.

I'm disappointed. But I'm not mad.

Art is always going to be hit or miss. That's what this gala is, and always has been. It's a chance for fashion designers to take inspiration from a theme and go wild with it, and create clothing that wouldn't usually get to exist. Some art is going to be to my taste and some isn't. I'll even be so bold as to say some art will be good and some will be bad. But I want art to exist in the world, and, for the good art, I'm willing to suffer the bad to exist as well.

I am happy that Catholic art and history was recognized as it should be. Our art is the BEST ART. I'm glad to see it honored and appreciated by a new generation.

And cultural appropriation is not a term that should be applied to Catholic culture. Our culture is for everyone. It's for every country and people and time. If you like it, please have some. That's how we roll.

This was one of the most interesting takes I read after the event.

Make Catholicism Weird Again

It's an opinion piece on the fascination with Catholic culture on display at the Met Gala, and why Catholics might want to take note, and embrace our own culture more loudly . . .

"Thus the only plausible approach for Catholicism is to offer itself, not as a chaplaincy within modern liberalism, but as a full alternative culture in its own right — one that reclaims the inheritance on display at the Met, glories in its own weirdness and supernaturalism, and spurns both accommodations and entangling alliances . . . "
I think it would be a mistake to assume that the attendees of the gala, even the sexy clergy types, were out to degrade and offend. I don't doubt they are looking for attention, as starlets are wont to do. Some of them could have used some better advice. But the red carpet interviews, again and again, showcased a thoughtful interest in Catholic art and culture that went into the planning and wearing of this clothing.

I loved how many reminisced about their Catholic upbringing. I hope it brings some of them back to a practicing faith. But mostly, I just thought it was fun and cool and there were a lot of pretty dresses.

And now for Catholic Stuff Saturday!

The winner of last week's giveaway of The Rosary in Art for Children by Mary Cooney, and The Stations of the Cross for Children by Carolyn Cooney is . . .

Comment #6: Amanda! Amanda, congratulations! Your profile is hooked up to an email address, so I've emailed you!

Stay tuned for next week when I'll have another great giveaway. If you are a Catholic artist, author, or small business owner who would like to be featured on Catholic Stuff Saturday, and offer a giveaway, email me at helpdesk@catholicallyear.com.

I wish you a very happy feast of the Ascension on Sunday (or on Thursday, if it was on Thursday for you), and a very happy Mother's Day to all the mothers and daughters out there, especially mine.