Met Gala 2018: Catholic imagery reverberates across red carpet

Stars were full of superlatives and decked out in their finest Monday night on the steps of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

"It's the fashion Olympics," designer Vera Wang told CBS News' Dana Jacobson. 

"It's the Oscars of the fashion world. The party of the year," designer Tommy Hilfiger said.

"I'm the flower on the side," George Clooney said as he stood next to his wife, Amal Clooney.

The Met Gala 2018 “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”
George and Amal Clooney Eduardo Munoz / REUTERS

The theme of this year's gala and costume exhibit, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, explores the dialogue between fashion and religion – the result of a unique partnership with the Vatican.

"We were honestly anxious and nervous about the thing," said Bishop Paul Tighe, the secretary of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture, who was instrumental in coordinating it.

"The people are looking at how throughout the ages Catholicism has found different ways of expressing its traditions in terms of the garments," Tighe said.

The Vatican loaned the exhibit more than 40 garments and accessories including Pope John Paul II's iconic red shoes.

The theme also provided designers inspiration for some extraordinary gowns worn on the red carpet.

"For me, art is my religion," designer Zac Posen said. He wanted to create a dress that united all religions for his date, Egyptian-Moroccan model Imaan Hammam. 

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals
Imaan Hammam and Zac Posen Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

"I'm Jewish by background. My date is Muslim. And I kind of try to think about like, what form connects it all," Posen said. "So I started with a circle. I started with a circle at dinner, and it was a placemat… and I kind of was trying to find form that wasn't purely about the power of Christianity or Catholicism, really something that was a uniform form of power and belief. And so I started playing… with folding different shapes, and I kind of arrived at that."
"I feel amazing. I mean, it's really a statement," Hammam said as she wore the dramatic, sculptural black gown.

Posen and Hammam showed off their final creation – not bad for a designer who started as an intern for the Met's Costume Institute. 

In keeping with the theme, Catholic imagery reverberated across the gold and red carpet.
"Kind of a magical night. You feel like Cinderella coming up these stairs," artist Jennifer Lopez said.
No matter their religion, all worshiped at the altar of Rihanna. A night of the divine, and for some like rapper 2 Chainz who proposed to his girlfriend on the red carpet, even divine intervention.