As soon as the 2018 theme — “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” — was announced, the fashion world was on the edge of its seat waiting to see what outrageous look Madonna, 59, would wear. And true to her daring self, the superstar went all out. After all, she was born for this red carpet.
As someone who’s already dressed “Like a Virgin,” she went in the opposite direction with her Jean Paul Gaultier look and collaborated with stylist Eyob Yohannes on her Met moment, which he describes in three words as: ” Immaculate Goth Queen.”
“The religious theme most certainly played into the look however we wanted to put a twist on it so we decided to make it all black,” Yohannes tells PEOPLE exclusively. “Madonna has always woven in religion and spirituality into her music and image throughout her career. This years theme could not have better suited her.”
Her black ball gown featured a fitted bodice and a sheer cross cutout, a full ball skirt, black veil, cross-adorned crown and she finished the look off carrying a black flower in her hand.
“Madonna and Jean Paul have had quite a history together so it was a wonderful family reunion and quite the fashion throwback,” Yohannes said. “It was lovely to work with Jean Paul who has such a creative eye.”
This year’s theme celebrates an exhibit showcasing 40 pieces on loan from the Vatican as well as designs from Coco Chanel, John Galliano and Cristóbal Balenciaga that spotlight the influence religious iconography has on fashion. The event is hosted by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintor, as well as this year’s special co-hosts Amal Clooney, Rihanna and Donatella Versace.
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Catholicism has been an important factor of Madonna’s personal brand (she was raised Catholic but later became a devotee of Kabbalah), which has caused plenty of controversy for her in the past.
During the singer’s 2006 Confessions Tour, Madonna infamously hung from mirrored cross and wearing a fake crown of thorns, referencing Jesus Christ’s crucifixion during a performance of “Live To Tell.”
A spokesman for the Vatican called the singer’s mock crucifixion “a blasphemous challenge to the faith and a profanation of the cross” and ordered “she should be excommunicated” from the Church. “To crucify herself during the concert in the city of Popes and martyrs is an act of open hostility,” he added.
Madonna was first condemned by the Vatican when she released the music video for her hit 1989 single, “Like A Prayer,” which included imagery of burning crosses as well as a kiss between a saint and Madonna wearing a sexy black slip dress.