“The Met Gala is fashion’s biggest night and this year’s theme was ‘Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.’… Rihanna wore a papal crown and cape designed by Margiela. Katy Perry wore 6-foot angel wings.” – CNN.com, May 7, 2018
Having been raised Protestant in a very Catholic town, it was difficult for me to decide what to wear to the Met Gala, whose theme was “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” The only thing I remember those Catholics imagining was, “Hey, let’s get that skinny Protestant kid.” But maybe that was more in keeping with next year’s theme: “Fashion and the Protestant Persecution Complex.”
Thankfully, just like the other famous, beautiful guests, I didn’t have to think at all. That’s what we have designers for. And so I called up my second-favourite designer, Poncello Ribisquik. (My favourite designer, Corsagie, went into hiding in January after he was accused of sexually harassing several bolts of fabric, although if you ask me the #mesew movement has gone too far.)
“Poncello,” I chirped (I was in a chirping mood), “Ponchy, baby, I need you to whip up something ornate but spiritual, humble but gaudy, tasteful but hinting at stigmatic bleeding. Can you do that for me, you wonderful polyamorous needle-bobbin you! You diaphanous feather duster!”
I heard Poncello pause on the phone. Then he took a deep breath, cleared his throat and said, “Who is this?”
Once we got that straightened out and I demonstrated my ability to procure payment in unmarked bills, we began brainstorming.
“I see webbing, I see gauze,” he blue-skied. “I see metal, I see jade.”
“I see London, I see France,” I spitballed.
“I see purple papal pants!” he postulated.
We work so well together, he and I, and unlike Corsagie, in my experience Poncello has always been nothing but respectful to linen.
“I want it to be classical in its beauty yet almost too painful to look at due to its great sadness and the tragic weight of regret,” I weighed in.
“Like Melania Trump!” Poncello conjectured.
“Eureka!” I blurted.
(An aside: how, you must be wondering, moving your lips as you think in that adorable but ultimately unflattering way of yours – how did I procure an invitation to the most exclusive celebrity fashion event of the year? And why am I so fond of the word “procure”? It’s quite simple, really: this year’s gala was co-hosted by Amal Clooney, I’m the only person who can properly shave George Clooney’s back, and voila!)
I won’t go into detail about the hours of planning and child labour that went into my outfit. And it’s best left unsaid the environmental impact, not to mention the decimating illnesses introduced into indigenous populations. Such is the price of art, religion and getting your photo in The Times.
Instead, I’ll let the results speak for themselves – except for the right kneepad, which speaks in the voice of Ian McKellen reciting the Book of Leviticus. But as Moses said to the kid collecting shells during the parting of the Red Sea, that’s not important right now.
The final product was reminiscent of the famous tunic St. Polycarp wore in AD 124 during the final episode of “Smyrna’s Got Talent,” except instead of sackcloth it was made entirely of reflective tape, gold leaf and silver-plated juice boxes. Over this, I wore a flowing garment encrusted with jewels. Was it a robe? Was it a gown? Was it agape? Yes it was, momentarily, which was embarrassing for both me and that poor woman at the bus stop.
My shins were encased entirely in ostrich feathers, because nothing says “Catholic imagination” quite like ostrich feathers.
In my arms, I carried a baby, representing the infant Jesus, and that baby carried an even smaller baby, representing an even tinier infant Jesus. Poncello wanted the smaller baby to hold a smaller baby still, but I told him I didn’t want to look ridiculous. Poncello flew into a rage. What that rage was doing there, I have no idea.
Halo? Do you even have to ask?
But the highlight was the eight animatronic cherubs attached to long, flexible poles strapped to my back so that they hovered above me singing an angelic version of “I Just Called to Say I Love You.”
I was truly fabulous, a showstopper. But when I got to the Met, I saw that Ariana Grande was wearing the exact outfit. Horrors! So I scurried back to my hotel, put on sweatpants and watched “American Pickers” for six straight hours. My sweatpants were also encrusted.