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The Met Gala and Beyond: Fashion and Art

Celestial Hierarchy II, 2018, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, USA.


The Met Gala and Beyond: Fashion and Art

You only need type ‘Fashion’ into the search bar on DailyArt Magazine and you will be met with numerous articles on the topic ranging from how fashion and art intersect, to the sculpture-like dresses of various designers. Furthermore, our writers have attempted to answer the age-old question of whether or not fashion is indeed an art. I think we all agree on the answer: YES. In that same line of thought, let’s check out how fashion designers and their creations mirror art throughout history. There is a place where fashion literally meets art, it is the famous Met Gala!

The Met Gala: A Walking Art Gallery

Outside of the numerous annual fashion weeks across the globe, one event that draws international attention is the Metropolitan Museum of Art‘s yearly Met Gala. It is a fashion event mixed with a fundraiser for the Met’s Costume Institute. Here are several examples of the amazing designs over the years compared to correlating art works.

Vintage Fashion Design Plate from the Met's Costume Institute collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.
Vintage Fashion Design Plate from the Met’s Costume Institute collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, USA.

It began in 1948 under the direction of fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert. Though it started as a more intimate occasion, it has now turned into one of the fashion world’s most sought-after invitations. Vogue’s Editor in Chief, Anna Wintour, took over running the event in 1995. She moved it to the first Monday in May and made it what it is today, the fashion event of the season.

Ariana & Michelangelo

Vera Wang designed this amazing dress for the pop singer. It is printed with The Last Judgement fresco, one of the flag Renaissance masterpieces.

Met Gala Fashion: Ariana Grande in Vera Vang, Met Gala 2018. Michelangelo, The Last Judgement.
The Met Gala and Beyond: Fashion and Art.
Ariana Grande in Vera Wang, Met Gala 2018. Glamour.
Michelangelo, The Last Judgement, ca. 1536-41, The Sistine Chapel, Vatican City.

Selma Blair & Degas

Blair’s dress echoes Degas‘ pastel ballerinas.

Met Gala Fashion: Selma Blair in Behnaz Sarafpour, Met Gala 2003. Edgar Degas, Ballet Dancers.
The Met Gala and Beyond: Fashion and Art.
Selma Blair in Behnaz Sarafpour, Met Gala 2003. Popsugar.
Edgar Degas, Two Dancers Entering the Stage, ca. 1877-1878, Harvard Art Museum, Cambridge, USA.

Gigi Hadid & Tiffany

Gigi’s Versace dress resembles the stained-glass designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Met Gala Fashion: Gigi Hadid in Versace, Met Gala 2018. Louis Tiffany.
The Met Gala and Beyond: Fashion and Art.
Gigi Hadid in Versace, Met Gala 2018. Sean Zanni, Artnet.
Louis Comfort Tiffany, Magnolia and Irises, ca. 1908, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, USA.

Harry Styles & François Quesnel

Harry’s effeminate style matches that of the late King of France, Henry III.

Met Gala Fashion: Harry Styles in Gucci. Francois Quesnel, Portrait of Henry III of France.
The Met Gala and Beyond: Fashion and Art.
Harry Styles in Gucci, Met Gala 2019. Karwai Tang/Getty Images.
François Quesnel (attrib.), Portrait of Henry III of France in Polish hat, ca. 1580-86, National Museum Poznań, Poznań, Poland.

Jared Leto & Caravaggio

Leto walked into the 2018 gala looking eerily similar to this painting by Caravaggio.

Met Gala Fashion: Jared Leto in Gucci, Met Gala 2019. Caravaggio David with the head of goliath.
Jared Leto in Gucci, Met Gala 2019. Karwai Tang/Getty Images.
Caravaggio, David with the Head of Goliath, 1607, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria.

Zendaya & Joan of Arc

Perhaps one of the most talked about looks of the 2018 Gala, Zendaya looked ready for a battle in her Versace chain-mail gown.

Met Gala Fashion: Zendaya in Versace, Met Gala 2018. Miniature painting of Joan of Arc
Zendaya in Versace, Met Gala 2018. Nielson Barnard/Getty Images.
Miniature Painting of Joan of Arc, ca. 1450-1500, Archives Nationales France, Pierrefitte-Sur-Siene, France.

Amber Valletta & John Galliano/Maggie Norris

This 18th century inspired design, from head to toe looks like something a Queen would wear.

Met Gala Fashion: Amber Valleta, Met Gala 2004. Gucci. Marie Antoinette.
Amber Valletta in John Galliano and Maggie Norris, Met Gala 2004. Getty Images, CR Fashionbook.
Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Portrait of Marie-Antoinette, 1783, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, USA.

Janelle Monáe & Man Ray

Met Gala Fashion: Janelle Monae in Christian Siriano. Man Ray, Indestructible Object.
Janelle Monae in Christian Siriano, Met Gala 2019. Time.
Man Ray, Indestructible Object, 1964, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA.

“Janelle’s look was all about surrealism. It was inspired by Picasso paintings and we wanted it to feel kitschy and funny…”

– Christian Siriano, Interview with PureWow.

Usually each year the Gala has a theme but there have been a handful of years without one. Designers are approached to construct unique designs for their clients for the event. Many of the most well-known ‘fashion’ moments in the world come from those attending the Gala.

With the many themes throughout the years, it is always interesting to see who shows up wearing what and who will push the boundaries of the theme. While the 2018 Gala provided many examples that look as if they came straight out of a Renaissance painting, overall there are many more examples that were seemingly inspired by artists of the past.

More Info:

This article only scratches the surface of the many collaborations and inspirations. Here is a list of themes from the past few decades of the Met Gala to help you further along in your search.

Is fashion a form of art? Read more:

Art historian (art lover, artist), coffee drinker, writer, Mom to 2 girls. BA in History and an MA in Art History. Favorite art style is Impressionism. Favorite theme is the Annunciation. Located in Central Kansas.



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