By NICOLE EVATT and JOHN CARUCCI, AP Entertainment Writers
NEW YORK (AP) — Divine designs floated up the red carpet at Monday’s religion-themed Met Gala in shimmering golds, reds and fuchsia, in crowns and in crosses, and even a pair of giant wings.
One lesson of the night: If anyone can make a mitre modern, it’s Rihanna. The Grammy-winning artist — never one to shy away from a grand entrance — arrived dripping in pearls and crystals in a Maison Margiela by John Galliano minidress, ornate robe and beaded papal headgear.
The annual fundraising fete in New York brings out Hollywood’s elite for an evening of fashion and charity and to celebrate the spring exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute — this year, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.”
Along with Rihanna, who reigned supreme, other standouts included supermodel Gigi Hadid in a one-shouldered, beaded Versace gown seemingly inspired by stained-glass windows (or butterflies), and Zendaya, a fierce Versace warrior princess in armor-like layers and delicate chainmail fabric, inspired by Joan of Arc.
Katy Perry rose to the occasion of the night’s theme challenge with larger-than-life feathered angel wings, metallic boots and dress by Versace. After wowing on the red carpet, the pop star was forced to turn sideways to squeeze the six-foot stunners through the gala entryway.
If Perry looked to the heavens for inspiration, Nicki Minaj seemed to peer in the other direction with a sequined Oscar de La Renta gown in vibrant shades of red and maroon. The temptation-inspired look came complete with billowing sleeves, a plunging neckline and a beaded headpiece.
Stars also channeled the theme with shimmering gold fabrics, and, of course, crosses. Jennifer Lopez, who picked a colorful Balmain number with a feathered train and sky-high slit, had a bejeweled cross emblazoned on her chest. “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman wore an ivory cape featuring crosses in gold beadwork. And Kim Kardashian West — walking the carpet sans her husband, Kanye West, who is under fire for recent controversial tweets — wore her cross on a shimmering gold Versace dress.
Other Kardashian family members represented at the Met Gala included matriarch Kris Jenner in a high-collared, feathery concoction and Kylie Jenner in a long, strapless black gown featuring a torso cut-out.
Madonna rocked an all-black Jean Paul Gaultier frock with a crown made of crosses.
“Religion and spirituality has informed my work for my entire career, and fashion also, and combining the two is the perfect marriage,” said the pop star. “And then we bring in Jean Paul and it’s the perfect three-way!”
As always, there was a sea of spectacular trains, like Diane Kruger’s sky-blue Prabal Gurung number.
Bella Hadid held court as a gothic priestess as her gold-embroidered headpiece-train fanned out over a simple black corset and skirt by Chrome Hearts Official. The dramatic look was topped off with a structured, embossed leather jacket, emblazoned with a gold cross.
Rita Ora’s massive train trailed behind as photographers frantically snapped pictures of her elaborate, spiked headdress. Even Kendall Jenner’s pants had a train. The “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” star kept it simple in a white angel-inspired, off- the-shoulder look from Off-White, and wide-legged slacks with fabric streaming from the hems.
Always on-point Sarah Jessica Parker chose her gown and headdress from a series of drawings by Dolce & Gabbana. The intricate headpiece was a Neapolitan nativity altar made to scale by the Italian design house.
Kate Bosworth’s pearl-encrusted veil draped over a shimmering tulle gown by Oscar de la Renta, while Mindy Kaling wore a regal, jeweled crown with a feminine silver gown and navy gloves. Kaling stars in the upcoming “Ocean’s 8,” a jewelry heist romp set at the Met Gala.
Ariana Grande arrived with designer Vera Wang, who created the singer’s romantic look: a strapless confection of soft layers patterned with Michelangelo’s Last Judgment, atop blush tulle.
Janelle Monae walked the carpet with designer Marc Jacobs, who crafted her striking black and white-striped custom skirt suit. She paired it with a crystal headscarf and wide-brimmed hat by Stephen Jones.
“I’m very religious about anything that makes the world a more beautiful place,” Jacobs said.
Cardi B showed off her baby bump in a pearl-drenched gown and headdress by Jeremy Scott while Blake Lively urged photographers to “calm down” in a stately, burgundy embroidered gown by Versace.
This year’s co-chairs also included Vogue’s Anna Wintour, Amal Clooney and Donatella Versace.
Clooney arrived early in a striking silver corseted top, navy slacks and a cascading metallic, rose-patterned skirt. The ensemble, from designer Richard Quinn, gave a crinkling sound as she made her way up the Met’s famous steps.
Though the recent Vogue cover girl arrived with movie star husband George Clooney, the Academy Award winner knew his place. “I’m the flower on the side,” he joked to reporters.
Wintour arrived in a beaded off-white Chanel gown and a cross necklace alongside her daughter, Bee Shaffer. The highly influential Vogue editor, the gala’s longtime head, was asked if this was her last Met gala; there have been unconfirmed rumors she is leaving her post. “I hope not,” she replied, before heading into the soiree.