The Religious Imagery Stitched Throughout The 2018 Met Gala

Some celebrities' nods to the religious theme were obvious. Others needed a closer look.

The 2018 Met Gala theme offered an interesting challenge this year ― inviting celebrities and designers to create gowns that mixed religion and fashion.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art gala on Monday was the result of a months-long collaboration between the museum’s Costume Institute and the Vatican. The exhibition, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” explores how fashion designers have been inspired by Catholic iconography, liturgical vestments and religious habits.

Pop star Rihanna’s provocative Margiela dress, inspired by papal regalia, was a bold nod to the theme. But while her look was one of the most recognizably religious, there were other allusions to Catholic and religious imagery sprinkled throughout the star-studded night.

Here are some religious references you may have missed.

The Seven Swords
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Lana Del Rey, here with Jared Leto, wore a cream-colored Gucci dress and a halo embellished with blue wings. But the most peculiar aspect of the outfit are the swords piercing a yellow fabric heart. Look closely and you'll count seven, which could be a reference to the seven dolors (meaning sorrows or pains) of the Virgin Mary. These are seven tragic events that occurred in Mary's life. They are often represented by seven swords piercing the mother's heart.
The Garden of Eden
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Salma Hayek's gown for the gala was inspired by the Garden of Eden, the paradise God created for Adam and Eve. Designer Joseph Altuzarra told Vogue that he paid homage to a 17th century painting by the Flemish masters Rubens and Brueghel, titled "The Garden of Eden." Atuzarra also incorporated an image of Hayek's dog Diva in the design.
The Nativity
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Actress Sarah Jessica Parker decided to stick close to the theme by adding a Nativity-inspired headpiece to her heavily embroidered gold Dolce & Gabanna gown.
The Sistine Chapel
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Ariana Grande attended the Met Gala wearing a Vera Wang ball gown inspired by"The Last Judgement," a fresco by the Renaissance painter Michelangelo that covers the back wall of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.
British actress and singer Cynthia Erivo also turned to the Sistine Chapel for nail-art inspiration, re-creating "The Creation of Adam" with black women.
The Joans Of Arc
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Actress and singer Zendaya paid homage to Joan of Arc, a French Catholic saint from the early 1400s who helped drive the English from French territory.
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Eva Chen, director of fashion partnerships at Instagram, told The New York Times that her outfit for the Met Gala was also inspired by Joan of Arc.
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Actress Shailene Woodley also appeared to channel Joan of Arc for the gala.
The Angel
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Singer-songwriter (and pastors' daughter) Katy Perry came to the gala in a chain-mail gold Versace dress and giant feathered angel wings, which reportedly span 6 feet. Catholics believe angels are heavenly messengers sent from God.
The Halo
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A halo is a radiant circle or disk used by artists throughout the Middle Ages to illustrate the holiness of Christ, the Virgin Mary and other important religious figures. Halos made multiple appearances at the Met Gala on Monday night. Here, singer Solange Knowles wears a radiant gold halo with a durag.
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Singer Janelle Monáe walks to the Met Gala with a headpiece that framed her face with a golden halo.
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Rosie Huntington-Whiteley completed her look with a simple gold halo.
The Crown Of Thornes
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Actress Anne Hathaway arrived in a brilliant red Valentino Haute Couture gown, but the topper was her sharp headpiece. While other celebrities chose to don heavenly halos, Hathaway went with a style that more closely resembled a crown of thorns -- evoking the painful crown placed on Jesus' head before his crucifixion.
The Religious Habit
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Some celebrities wore outfits inspired by the religious habits worn by Catholic priests and religious orders. Actress Lily Collins told The New York Times that her black and white Givenchy Haute Couture gown was supposed to be "chic nun."
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Actress and director Greta Gerwig's black and white gown was meant to have a "priest-like" feel, according to Vogue.
Exclusive Met Gala Photos 2018