Billed as New York's party of the year, the Met Gala is a chance for the stars to show off on the red carpet. This year's dress code - Catholicism meets couture - saw celebrity guests turning heads with an array of outfits.
The annual Met Gala in New York is considered a fashion pilgrimage, but this year’s dress code demanded celebrity guests show some real religious zeal.
Catholic-inspired couture was the theme of the night as fashion devotees turned out in force for the annual spring fundraising event of the Metropolitan Museum, spearheaded by Vogue boss Anna Wintour and co-hosted by Amal Clooney, Rihanna and Donatella Versace.
The Met Gala is often billed as the party of the year for figures from the fashion, Hollywood and music worlds – despite being one of the few big events in the celebrity social calendar where no awards are handed out.
This year attendees were encouraged to channel their Sunday best in line with the theme of the spring exhibit of the museum’s costume institute: “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.”
Fashion and religion may not be an obvious pairing, but the Vatican approved the theme, and loaned more than 50 pieces of papal clothing and jewellery for the Met’s exhibition.
On her way in, Wintour, continuing her tradition of wearing Chanel, said she just hoped everyone had a good time.
The steps leading to the famous museum on Fifth Avenue become a haute couture runway as stars spent around three hours pouring into the building.
Adhering to the theme is not always convenient – top human rights lawyer Amal Clooney was one of several stars wearing dresses with long trains who struggled to get up the stairs.
Her husband George Clooney, who joined her for the event, didn’t appear sympathetic to her struggle. Asked whether it was hard being away from the kids for the night, George quipped “they’re under the dress.”
Madonna opted for black with a gold tiara of crosses and a black veil covering her face – a significantly more demure look than in her controversial “Like A Prayer” heyday.
Singer Katy Perry wore giant feathered wings and after a stint in front of the photographers had to carefully edge sideways though the doors into the building because she couldn’t fit through.
Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker donned a gold caged hat with a nativity-scene depicted inside it.
For her first Met Gala, singer Ariana Grande chose an all-over print of the Sistine Chapel for her dress.
Frances McDormand, star of Oscar-winning “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” departed from her usual simple style by donning a yellow dress covered by blue priest-like robes, complete with a blue floral headpiece. McDormand declared jovially “I’m a pagan” on her way into the event.
While most celebrities use the carpet to make fashion statements, others use the moment to make bold announcements.
Rapper 2 Chainz proposed to his girlfriend Kesha Ward as they entered the red carpet. Ward showed off her engagement ring to the paparazzi as they continued up the carpet.
Scarlett Johansson gave a red carpet debut to her cropped brunette pixie cut and her boyfriend, comedian Colin Jost. Johansson and Jost regularly appear together on comedy show Saturday Night Live, where she has cameos as Ivanka Trump.
Jaden Smith, son of actor and musician Will Smith, turned up holding a giant picture frame with his own gold record inside – hardly a symbol of Christian humility.
Once the stars are through the doors, the celebrations are not for public view.
Posting on social media is banned, but guests reportedly queue up to air kiss the hosts, followed by a cocktail reception and entertainment.
But by the time guests get inside, the main part of the night is over – because for those who treat fashion as a religion, it’s really all about the red carpet.