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Met Gala If Held During Olden Times
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Met Gala If Held During Olden Times

Imagining the guest list for the iconic, lavish annual event if Jewish biblical figures graced the museum

Actors who portray princesses and talking animals in films seem to come the closest to living in a fairy tale — but every spring, the lucky few (spoiler alert: they’re all top-tier celebrities) step into a night of real, live enchantment at the annual Met Gala.

Every year around the time when the air turns warmer and the cherry blossoms begin to bloom, Hollywood’s elite gathers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue for an extravagant night of whimsy and fantasy rivaling the elaborate universes created for them on the silver screen.

On Monday night, the night was exploding with star power. Kendall Jenner, Blake Lively, Pharrell Williams, Opera, Madonna and Katy Perry were there. So were MOTs Amy Schumer, Emmy Rossum, Jake Gyllenhaal, Lena Dunham and other Jewish stars.

Beginning in 1946, the annual fundraising gala benefits the museum’s Costume Institute. Marking the grand opening of the Institute’s annual fashion exhibit, the opulent evening is a visual feast of high-end couture — with A-list celebs acting as the canvases.

Formally called the Costume Institute Gala, each year the event chooses a different theme, celebrating that year’s exhibit, and guests are expected to arrive in apropos fashion.

Also known as the Met Ball, the anticipated soiree involves a swanky red carpet arrival, followed by a tour of the exhibit, cocktails, a formal dinner and performances by the year’s hottest entertainers (which are often a surprise). This year Perry sang along with hip-hop group Migos.

The guests, many of whom are actors, are used to taking direction and being thrown into wardrobe by costume designers — and for many, the frequently elusive themes can prove challenging. Past themes have been “Fashion In An Age Of Technology” (2016), “China: Through the Looking Glass” (2015), “Beyond Fashion” (2014), “Punk: Chaos to Couture” (2013) and even “The White House Years” (2001), which was an ode to First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

This year’s theme, “Art of the In-Between,” proved one of the more befuddling motifs, and many guests requested further instruction — but the museum wanted to keep the night abstract and open to interpretation.

Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour has been chairing the event since 1995, overseeing the guest list and benefit committee — and ultimately acting as the night’s fashion maestra.  

Through the years we’ve been used to seeing the same types of faces walk down that coveted red carpet and up the palatial step, (the list is limited to 650-700 people) … but we wonder who would have made the cut back in biblical times.

Here are our guesses for Jewish guests from the days of yore, and what they would have worn for this year’s theme:

Moses

He’s got a lot to work with. One of the most prominent prophets in Judaism, Moses helped to liberate the Jewish slaves from Egypt and received the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. Considering his rich CV, we imagine he would have arrived in a high-end suit woven out of Torah scrolls, with two inscribed tablets serving as cutting-edge breast plates, and a slanted piece of matzah on top of his head as a kind of a contemporary beret.

Miriam

Sister to Moses, Miriam is one of the most lauded prophetesses in Judaism. Her name, which has several meanings, has been interpreted as “water” and “bitter.” Therefore, we envision an avant-garde flotation dress filled with the finest spring water and a clutch purse in the shape of a horseradish root. Very chic.

Judah Maccabee

Having led the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire, which sought to destroy Jewish temples and prohibit Jewish worship, Judah was considered a great military force. His ultimate victory in restoring Jewish independence has made him a valiant hero in Jewish history. Now, we commemorate his valor every winter during Chanukah by lighting the menorah, a symbolic ritual that recalls how one little drop of oil lasted for eight days. We see him marching up the stairs in a mesh jumpsuit with bejeweled armor-inspired designs woven throughout — and for the finishing touch, eight flashing bulbs illuminating his steel shoulder pads, literally and figuratively lighting up the red carpet.

Esther

A true heroine, Esther, was forced to hide her Jewish identity for fear of death and lived in exile before being selected to be King Ahasuerus’ wife. Upon learning of the villainous plan by Haman (the king’s grand vizier) to exterminate the Jews, Esther risked her life by revealing who she was, ultimately saving her people. Her look could function on a number of levels: she was part ostracized orphan, part royalty and part luminary. Her look: a modish tiara woven out of gemstone fruits to represent the feast of Purim, a masquerade-style mask, billowing, silken robes and pointed stilettos in the triangular shapes of hamantashen. That’s a look you can eat up.

Solomon

Though many of the guests of the ball receive their lavish outfits au grátis from designers, Solomon, who was one of the wealthiest kings of Israel, could have commissioned his own ensemble at any cost. Considered very wise, Solomon wasn’t without vulnerability and so could fall prey to the temptations of celebrity life. According to the Bible, he had over 700 wives and 300 concubines — many of whom were foreign and exotic. So more than anything, we imagine Solomon rolling up to the daunting steps of the Met with several ladies on each arm (maybe the equivalent of the Kardashian clan of his day), and perhaps not much else.

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