In case you missed it, the first Monday in May is a big deal. Marking the opening night of The Costume Institute of New York’s annual exhibition, The Met Gala is arguably the most anticipated event in the fashion calendar.

Unlike other fundraisers, the Met Gala is strictly by invite only, and with its own carefully considered theme, blends the finest extravagance, elegance and creativity that the fashion world has to offer.

Every year the biggest names in fashion and celebrity collide, as designers are assigned to dress the biggest Hollywood stars, socialites and the musical acts of the moment. With only 600 attendees, all personally approved and handpicked by Anna Wintour, only the best walk the carpet- so they dare not disappoint.

This year’s theme and exhibition title was, ‘Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination’, and as you can imagine, it was crucifixes galore as designers dared to incorporate religious influences and holy iconography.

Many of us sat at home with our charcoal face masks, judging the Hollywood elite as they stepped onto the steps of the Met in a pretty parade of couture. While many were guilty of taking an easy pass (Kardashian klan, we’re looking at you!), there are some stars who never fail at an assignment. If you want sexy pope couture, goddess chic and crowns galore, keep on scrolling.

Here are some of our favourite looks from the night…

Blake Lively

Winter is coming 🏰🐉❄️🐺🏰

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Closing the red carpet and probably one of the most underrated attendees, Blake Lively took the crown in her custom Versace gown.  Blake is one of the most consistently well-dressed Gala veterans, unafraid of tackling the annual theme and always poised in an elaborate gown with perfect hair. This year was no exception, as she glided through the press in an Arch Bishop inspired dress with embellished corset and train.

As our digital editor, Shelley, remarked, “The only reason I’ve woken up today is to stare at photos of Blake Lively at the Met Gala, everything else is cancelled.”

Ariana Grande

I went to da met and was super Italian

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This look from Ariana brought the Sistine Chapel to the Met steps in a beautiful custom Vera Wang ball gown. An angelic look, Ariana prettied up the theme in a dress which was a welcome escape from the masses of crimson and cream garments. The dress, completely covered with the Michelangelo painting of The Last Judgement, and a very big nod to the Italian Renaissance, brought classic Catholic artwork to Manhattan.

Sza

#METGALA2018 💗 @versace

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This was Sza’s first Met Gala and it’s safe to say that her debut delivered, in an angelic number by Versace. This is actually the second time this year Sza’s been dressed by the Donatella and the team, as she was also dressed by them for her first Grammy appearance. They are clearly a match made in Heaven.

Solange

A post shared by Solange (@saintrecords) on

We didn’t get a look from Beyoncé (boo) this year but who cares when you have the fashion goddess herself, Solange Knowles. Walking up the steps in a spellbending sculptural masterpiece by Iris van Herpen, Solange delivered the most experimental look of the night. Complete with a headpiece symbolising the sun, we were gifted with a look fit for any stained glass window.

Rihanna

caught by @dennisleupold

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The most highly anticipated look of the night, RiRi completely stole the show (again). A Met icon and all-around fashion connoisseur, Rihanna came dressed to kill the Met Carpet in her pope inspired ensemble by Maison Margiela.  Known for avant garde looks and killer make up, it’s not the Met without Rihanna, who quite simply, always comes to play. This year was no exception with this stunning hybrid of religion, fantasy and couture.

Nicki Minaj

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Nicki Minaj in Oscar de la Renta is one of the darker takes on the night’s theme but a mystical dream all the same. In a sultry red ombre gown and bejewelled headpiece with cross detailing, Catholicism met a worthy match in gothic chic perfection.

Zendaya

🗡

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In another look by Versace, Zendaya took the theme to a new level. With heroic roots, this Joan of Arc-inspired silver armoured piece caught the eyes of many. Her choice of simple but striking red bob-cut just adds to the impact of this outfit. This look is everything the Met Gala is about, beautiful, thought-provoking and most importantly, an inventive take on the theme.

Featured image: Mike Coppola

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