The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Institute Benefit, popularly known as Met Gala, came up with another controversial theme this year that explored the connection between high-end fashion and the Roman Catholic Church.
The theme this year is “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” by curator Andrew Bolton.
Amid the mixed divine and Catholic-inspired looks of Hollywood’s elite, several people on Twitter cited Filipino designer Michael Cinco’s past collection that was “Met Gala-worthy” but not presented in the event on Monday.
Michael Cinco is an award-winning fashion designer known for his elegant couture gowns with luxurious details like Swarovski crystals.
Many users specifically recalled Cinco’s Autumn-Winter Collection in 2015 titled, “The impalpable dream of Sainte-Chapelle,” which featured hand-painted designs inspired from stained glass windows of Catholic churches.
You know what a Filipino designer MIchael Cinco did a stained glass gown and no one even think to wear this at the met ball. This could be the most show stopping gown because you brought the whole church pic.twitter.com/mOjkoW8z6X
— Lance Rementina (@Lancerementina) May 8, 2018
There are those who argued that Cinco’s own Catholic-themed collection is already “old” in the industry of high-end fashion.
What? We’re inspired by old fashion to make new pieces, but to directly wear a 3 year old piece, especially at the Met Gala, is an insult to high fashion
— Ethan Harris (@occammadeiteasy) May 8, 2018
Cinco’s official social media accounts also brought up his 3-year-old work on Tuesday, one of which the Dubai-based designer thanked his followers for the support, but explained that most of the pieces in that collection were already sold.
“The 20-foot long hand painted cape was already worn by Jennifer Lopez in one of her performances so we decided not to give it to someone for the Met Gala,” he said as a reply in an Instagram post.
Cinco had a wide celebrity clientele in Hollywood, which include those who are regular attendees of the Met gala like Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé.
Met Gala version
Aside from Cinco’s past work, some Twitter users also cited that the Catholic theme of Met Gala 2018 was also similar to that of Binibining Pilipinas 2017.
They recalled a photo shoot last year wherein the 40 candidates wore different interpretations of the national costume, from the classic terno to lavish Victorian dresses.
While y’all be ooh-ing + ahh-ing bout them #METGALA18 looks, let me inform you – Filipinos have been on that “Catholic Imagination” for YEARS! We call it the national costume competition of our Binibining Pilipinas (Miss Philippines) beauty pageant. @BinibiningPinas #metgala2018 pic.twitter.com/soMuahelDa
— Justine Abigail Yu (@justineabigail) May 9, 2018
One Twitter user, Anelien, made a thread filled with past Filipino candidates of big beauty pageants, including from Binibining Pilipinas 2017, who donned dresses that could have been included in the Catholic theme of Met Gala 2018.
The controversies of a costume party
Amid the glamour and the media hype, the Met Gala in New York City is actually a fundraising event for the museum’s Costume Institute.
Last year, more than $12 million was raised to fund the fashion department of the museum, according to New York Times article.
The theme for the grand soiree, which began as a high-society dinner in 1948, is always tied up with the Costume Institute’s fashion display.
US Vogue editor Anne Wintour had been the Met gala’s organizer since 1999, and this year she was co-chaired by Rihanna, Donatella Versace and Amal Clooney.
As with the previous year’s Met Gala, many cried foul over cultural appropriation of Catholicism.
The Vatican, however, welcomed the subject of the exhibit and even lent more than 40 pieces to the Costume Institute, based on reports.