The celebs have left, so check out the Met’s ‘Heavenly Bodies’

Art lovers already know the Metropolitan Museum is heaven on Earth. But its new exhibit, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” running through Oct. 8, should convert everyone else.

The latest from the museum’s Costume Institute, “Heavenly Bodies” examines the fascinating, complicated and often mutually beneficial relationship between fashion and the Catholic Church. It’s also the largest, most ambitious show in the museum’s 148-year-old history, spanning 25 galleries, 60,000 square feet and both the Met’s Fifth Avenue location and the Met Cloisters, uptown.

And now that the celebs have taken their red carpet and gone home, the faithful — fashionable or otherwise — will want to make the pilgrimage. More than 150 jaw-dropping couture ensembles fill the Met’s medieval and Byzantine galleries, from Balenciaga’s priestly capes and Gianni Versace’s sexy Joan of Arc-style chain-mail slips to Rodarte’s angelic draped dresses and Jean Paul Gaultier’s witty Virgin Mary-esque get-ups. The Fifth Avenue location also includes 40 ecclesiastical masterworks from the Sistine Chapel Sacristy — some of which have never left the Vatican before — including Pope John Paul II’s red shoes, some absurdly over-the-top bejeweled tiaras from the 18th and 19th centuries and a set of heavily embroidered vestments that took some 15 seamstresses 16 years to craft for Pius IX in the mid-1800s. My God! Talk about an immaculate collection.

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” runs through Oct. 8 at the Metropolitan Museum (1000 Fifth Ave.) and the Cloisters (99 Margaret Corbin Dr.); MetMuseum.org

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