Princess of China: How Rihanna’s 2015 Met Gala still steals the show
The confetti and glitter have been cleared up from May 1st’s 2017 Met Gala – whose honorary chairs were music legends Katy Perry and Pharrell Williams – but that doesn’t mean we can’t look forward to the next instalment – and to speculate on the themes and honorary chairs of 2018’s edition.
Originally developed as a way to raise money for the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art’s Costume Institute in New York City, the growing connection between musicians and fashion has made the Met Gala one to watch. Each year a theme is announced to tie together the costumes on show, and musical greats flock from far and wide to take advantage of the red carpet and showcase their creativity in keeping with the theme that matches their outfits.
In 2017, the theme was Commes de Garcon, a Japanese brand that expects you to experience its fashion as well as just wear it. Already scooped up by the likes of Kanye West, Drake, and Lady Gaga, host Katy Perry didn’t disappoint with the classy take on Commes de Garcon she adorned on the runway.
The theme comes in a long line of themes that help musicians reflect their inner personality on the red carpet. 2016’s Age of Technology theme promised a look into the future of fashion – and allowed honorary day chair Taylor Swift to rock in a silver snakeskin number, allowing the country singer to break away from her roots.
But the most impressive theme was 2015’s China: Through the Looking Glass. The display featured traditional Chinese art and costume to highlight the culture and its influences in the modern day Western world. The theme came as a way to address criticism that the West’s portrayal of the Far East was ‘patronising and inauthentic’. The passion for traditional Chinese elements spread down the red carpet, too, with Rihanna being one of the standouts with her Chinese-inspired gown.
Western music and art have often borrowed heavily from themes from the Far East – whether it be through traditional Chinese instruments and symbolism used to evoke a flash of the traditional or superstitious. The display borrowed from the floral themes that personify Chinese art, and the cultural dress that various members of Chinese society wear. There was even an emphasis on Chinese superstition, such as how lucky the number 8 is.
The lucky number 8 in Chinese culture refers to the motif of the number 8 being used to bring good energy. In the Western world, the superstitions of China are a point of fascination that we infuse into various things. For example, the lucky number 8 can even be played as a slot game online, as can be seen with the recent Great 88 launch, which showcases both the lucky number’s usage in Chinese culture, and combining it with something decidedly more modern. The game uses the number 8 as a wild, which helps players win, and also encompasses the 8 into the payout and buylines of the game. The number also features as a plot point in the Age of Mythology 3: Tale of the Dragon, which showcases Chinese mythology alongside the popular supremacy world-building of its predecessors.
Rihanna’s outfit on the red carpet brought back images of 20th Century Chinese royalty, and that train certainly had the music world talking. While the 2018 Met Gala may be far away in April 2018, we can begin the speculation now, although we doubt that the theme could be as expressive and synonymous with music as the Chinese culture theme was in 2015. music news.com