Costume Institute Gala - the Met Gala, 2019
Curator of the Costume Institute at the Saint Regina Metropolitan Museum of Art, Françoise Hardy stood up at the podium in front of all the guests she had welcomed into the Museum, in a grand briefing room with marble columns, gold leaf, and renaissance paintings decorating the room. Françoise stood up and read her notes, adjusted her glasses and started speaking.
"Welcome to the first Annual Met Gala. This event is a fundraising ball and dinner for the costume exhibit at the Saint Regina Metropolitan Museum of Art. In this exhibit is housed some of the greatest works of fashion in the entire European Union, here we host many travelling items from other countries on our museum exchange programme, and we also host many permanent fixtures from Icholasen also. By attending this gala, we hope to raise money for the museum and for the fashion exhibit, which continues to strive for excellence on the European stage.
The theme for this year's gala is: Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. This theme hopes to celebrate Europe's unique religious heritage, focusing on the Catholic religion. Icholasen's significant Catholic minority will be presenting itself magnificently here tonight, in beautiful garments specially made for this evening.
The evening will start with the catwalk into the exhibit. Once the celebrities and famous individuals have made their way past the cameras and the journalists, they will then have the opportunity to view the exhibit.
The exhibit consists of three rooms: firstly, the Historical Religious Costume exhibit. In this, exhibit there are historical garments of Bishops, Nuns and other clergy costumery. The second exhibit is our Historical Artefacts exhibit, with pieces relating to the Catholic Church. We have some items on loan from the Museum of Saint Romain, with some relics relating to the Saints, with the intricate displays that these relics were put in. And finally, the last exhibit is that of religious art. Beautiful depictions of Jesus, Mary, and the Last Supper show how dedicated people in the renaissance and beyond were to their religion, with massive paintings of the people they veneered.
After having seen the exhibit, guests may make their way into the dining area, they will be then guided to their seats. Thank you for your attention and I hope you enjoy this evening of art and fashion."
Françoise then left the stage, and the doors were open for the press walk.
(OOC: there is no need to apply, just start posting and RPing. The theme is based off of: this Met Gala theme.)
Severina, days before he Met Gala
Severina is Red Croatia's biggest musical diva, but she never had the opportunity to showcase her talents to an international market due to her nation having been isolated for most of its history. This hasn't bothered her until, following Red Croatia joining the EU and loosening up on the isolationism, some foreign artists like that pesky Mariah Carey released some singles that outsold her in her own country. Curse you, All I Want For Christmas Is You!
Determined to make her mark outside of Red Croatia, she carefully plotted her introduction to the rest of the world... and the Met Gala sounded like the perfect opportunity. Now, the only problem was getting invited. Queen Irene, having established herself as a star in the EU already, was naturally invited with some extra tickets to boot. After hearing about it, Severina slid into the Queen's DMs.
Severina: "hook me up with some met gala tickets girl"
Irene: leaves Severina on read ✓✓ for an hour, forty seven minutes and three seconds to demonstrate dominance before responding "why do you need them"
Severina: "i haven't made a headline since four days ago when my nudes leaked... again...."
Irene: "OMG!!!" shocked emoji, crying emoji, crying emoji "four days???? say no more" devil emoji, dancing emoji, high heel emoji, dress emoji, purse emoji, diamond emoji, sunglasses emoji "your fashion better be on fleek girl"
Severina: "i'll serve. don't worry, queen. ily sm" heart eyes emoji, dancing emoji
Severina: "oh btw will we be on the same flight?"
Irene: leaves on read and doesn't respond
Severina started thinking carefully about what she was going to wear to the Met Gala. The idea was to wear something Catholic inspired, but she wasn't really feeling it. How can she represent Red Croatia in the best way possible with a stupid theme like that? In an attempt to find inspiration, she reminded herself of the fundamental Red Croatian values: blind ambition, shameless self promotion, legal prostitution and self-confidence to the point of delusion. Then, it hit her...
"Well, the Whore of Babylon is kinda Catholic, no? Mwahahahaha..."
Severina, day of the Met Gala
A crowd of nuns began to exit the biggest Catholic cathedral of Saint Regina and started walking to the Met Gala, followed by the press and a plethora of guards. They were going to attend to make sure that everything goes smoothly and that their religion is respected by the event. The journalists were desperate to get something juicy out of the bleak nuns....
"Yo ladies, aren't you gonna dress up too?"
"Do you have to wear those costumes all the time?"
"Are you mad that your religion is being used as inspiration for some vapid celebrity outfits?"
...but they were left ignored.
The press thought that they weren't going to get anything particularly spicy out of this, but then came Severina. "Time to give these Catholics something real to worship." she thought as she walked over to the men guarding the nuns, while being surrounded by her own bodyguards.
"Oh, I'm so sorry guys!" she said while holding up her Met Gala ticket. "I'm a foreign celebrity, here from Red Croatia, and I don't know how to get to the Met Gala. I know that these wonderful ladies are going too, so may I join them?"
The men, struck by the sight of the gorgeous woman with a sexy, foreign accent were more than willing to help her - but they went on to ask permission of the head nun first. The old woman agreed to let her walk with them. "We must always be kind to those in need." she said, imagining a shy girl in a cute Catholic inspired gown. But what she got instead was a striking woman who wore a scandalous outfit and conveyed massive sex appeal ever so casually.
Severina joining the nuns
The Red Croatian pop queen walked over to the head nun and expressed her gratitude in a manner that came off as sincere, humble and genuine. "Thank you so much, my dear. I don't know what I would've done without you."
"Oh... ummm..." the nun responded, shocked by the woman. "Yes, yes... Oh God..." she looked away, speechless.
As Severina started walking with the nuns, the press and the observing crowd went wild over her. Her appearance alone was sensational, but what really won everyone over was how perfectly she dealt with the press, unlike the nuns who just ignored them.
Press: "Is that that Severina girl? Damn... Hey, who are you?"
Severina: "You're right, it's Severina." she answered in a calm, sensual tone, not projecting to make herself more easily heard - but instead making them listen more carefully. It changed the mood of the exchange instantly.
Press: "What are you wearing? It doesn't look very Catholic inspired."
Severina: "Well, I'm a very creative person, so I decided to wear something that's inspired by Catholicism - but doesn't resemble any of the garbs we usually associate with Catholics. This particular look represents a version of Saint Teresa of Avila who is... less shy about her desires. Do you know who she is? You should see a sculpture Bernini made that is inspired by her."
Press: "Well, it will certainly make an impression." Even the reporters were speechless, unable to think of further questions to ask her - since she already gave them so much to write about over the course of few brief moments. "Ummm... is that something you're trying to accomplish tonight? Making an impression?"
Severina: "Trying? Trying to... make an impression? Ha... I'm not trying to do anything except to be myself. If me making an impression is meant to be, it will be."
Once Severina and the nuns found their way to the red carpet, the nuns immediately proceeded to the exhibition while Severina stayed and posed. She got significantly less attention than she did when she was walking with the nuns. She still stood out for her beauty, but she wasn't as interesting to photograph without the setting she had back at the cathedral.
But then again, that just proved how intelligent her publicity stunt earlier that day was. Tomorrow, the pictures of the glamurous Red Croatian woman walking amongst Catholic nuns were bound to be all over the news worldwide. And just like that, she secured her international success and relevance in one day.
"I really look utterly ridiculous," Craticus whispered aloud in the back seat of the limousine. Craticus looked over to Aleksandra who sat beside him and he hoped to get a response from her. Nonetheless, Aleksandra remained mute, kept her head turned her away from him and seemed to be withdrawn in deep internal contemplation. Craticus turned his own head and caught a glimpse of himself in the reflection of the limousine's tinted windows. A smile crept across Craticus' face. He truly did look ridiculous. Craticus was itching to wipe away the golden glitter that was currently applied under his eyes, and he was moving uncomfortably in his seat, with two black wings painfully protruding from his shoulders and against his back.
Normally, Craticus despised attending these sort of formal events. At this point, Craticus has attended countless coronations, weddings, state dinners, birthdays, quinceañeras, kwanzaa feasts, full moon howling ceremonies and made-for-Youtube gender reveal parties, but Craticus knew that this event would truly be among the worst. The principal offense, in Craticus’ mind, was the theme of the event, which was conceptualized as ‘Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination’. Craticus was almost insulted when he received the invitation to the event, as it seemed exceptionally crude to invite the head of the Inquistan Orthodox Church to celebrate fashion and art inspired by ‘the Catholic Imagination’. However, Craticus realized why he was invited. It was Saint Dominico that was the heart and soul of the Renaissance, and much of the art movement that defined that era – including virtually all of the artwork, sculptures and architectural designs patronized by the Papacy – were carried out by Inquistan sculptors and painters, such as Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Perugino and Pinturicchio – just to name a few. Despite the Inquistan Schism, which was born during the height of the Renaissance (and began the true separation of the Inquistan and Roman Catholic Churches), it was in many ways Inquista which remained in the ‘imagination’ of the Catholic Church and its aesthetics. Inquista could shake-off the Catholic Church, but the Catholic Church could never shake-off Inquista.
Second to the theme, Craticus was also appalled by the extravagance of the event. It was no secret that Craticus despised extravagance, which he associated with usury. In all the formal events which Craticus has attended, he has normally kept himself looking rather simple and humble. However, Aleksnadra had made quite the fuss about wearing a proper outfit at home, and Craticus found himself increasingly capitulating to her desires in order to keep her happy. Besides, it wasn’t too hard for Craticus to dress so exuberantly for this occasion, as it would be considered rather ordinary and plain in Inquistan terms. Inquistans usually dressed rather lavishly and impractically for Church, which was always an occasion used by Inquistans to demonstrate how “blessed” they were by God (as in, how much money they had, or how well they looked). This was a practice that disgusted Craticus personally, but he’d at least find this whole MET event to be rather homely, as if it were just another Sunday in Saint Dominico.
Thinking about Saint Dominico quickly drew Craticus’ attention back to the Archbishop’s Palace. His daughter, Little Ali, had been left at home while Craticus and Aleksandra were out. Since coming to Saint Dominico, Craticus arranged for a Red Croatian governess to take care and educate Little Ali in the Palace. However, the sweet old Red Croatian governess, Magdalena, was only just fired yesterday after Aleksandra heard Little Ali whisper “kurac” under her breath. So, without any time of his hands, Craticus needed to find a babysitter, and organized that Mikaela Kligenberg take care of Little Ali in the meantime. Craticus and Aleksandra were still keeping their relationship a secret, and Little Ali’s existence was kept hidden in the dark from everybody, so Little Ali could only be trusted within an inner circle, which, oddly enough, includes Mikaela Kligenberg. Mikaela seems harmless enough, Cratiucs rationalized, because, even at her worst, she was an inoffensive bimbo. Besides, Craticus changed the WiFi password of the Archbishop Palace’s. There was no chance that Mikaela would accidentally take a picture or a video of Little Ali and upload it onto her Instagram or Snapchat, which was the only damage that Mikaela could really do.
The limousine eventually came to a halt. Craticus again looked over his shoulder to Aleksandra, who now turned to look at him. Craticus just about burst out laughing, as he thought she looked almost as ridiculous as himself, and even more ridiculous than the time she went incognito as Anitax Aureliana. “You look beautiful” Craticus said smiling, hiding his complete lie.
Craticus and Aleksandra stepped out of the limousine and onto the red carpet, and they were immediately hounded by paparazzi. Craticus wasn’t one to shy away from controversy, so he immediately began straightening out his suit and making evident the gold-encrusted Orthodox Crosses on his suit.
"Your Holiness! Your Holiness! The Archbishop of Inquista! Who are you wearing?"
"It's a one-of-a kind outfit made by Mikro Zoft-Paynt,” Craticus said while exchanging a curt wave with the paparazzi. Many of the paparazzi were in awe, as they were expecting the Archbishop to arrive in something more plain or simple, never mind wearing the well-renowned and illustrious Mikro Zoft-Paynt, who was definitely the most sought-after and up-and-coming designer coming out of Inquista.
“Are you dating Sia?” one of the paparazzo shouted.
“I’m not dating Sia,” Craticus responded sternly, but in a friendly tone. Craticus and Aleksandra began making their way up the red carpet towards the entrance to the MET exhibit. As Craticus reached the entrance to the MET exhibit, he suddenly turned and gave a final spiel to the paparazzi who were calling to him.
“As we all know, the best thing the Catholic Church gave to all of us is the Inquistan Orthodox Church”, Craticus began, tightening his black suit and once again showing-off all the gold Orthodox Crosses encrusted on it. “By celebrating the Catholic Church, we will be celebrating God’s true church, which is of course, the Inquistan Orthodox Church. Inquistans are very generous. It was the fabulously wealthy ‘Dons’ and ‘Donnas’ of the Inquistan Renaissance who generously patronized the artists that defined the aesthetics of the Renaissance, whom the Catholic Church envied and coveted. As God-fearing men and women, these Inquistans also gave generously to the Catholic Church, and encouraged the Church to also begin patronizing God's gifted artisans. Indeed, this Inquistan generosity continues today. In honour of the MET, the Inquistan Orthodox Church will donate 5 million Euros to the MET tonight. Furthermore…” Craticus began, attempting to force a tear to come to his eye. It has been many years – decades even – since Craticus last cried, but he tried his utmost hardest to squeeze one out. “The Inqusitan Orthodox Church will also be donating another 5 million Euros to a local Nicoleizian charity, Young Soundcloud Rappers In Need. I just heard the saddest story the other day of Lil Onion Cry3r, who could not afford a face tattoo, and of Lil T ZZZwifty, who could not pierce both her eyelids… and… I just,” Craticus continued, with his speech breaking, “… I just feel for these young kids, who truly a deserve a shot at SoundCloud stardom. My thoughts and prayers are with them.”
With that, Craticus then turned and entered the exhibit hall.
Queen Anastasia and Prince Tommy were getting ready for the Met Gala in Anastasia’s huge room in the Royal Palace in Saint Regina. Both of them had no men in their lives, and they had become like aging Babushkas, gossiping, single and catty. The legacy of Anastasia’s 2 dead husbands didn’t exactly entice men, and with Tommy’s flaws being broadcast on dedicated 24 hour news networks, both of them were lacking in interested men.
“What have we become Tommy?”
“What do you mean Anya?”
“I don’t have a date for this Gala, and neither do you.”
“I’m actually fine with that, Anya.” Tommy lied.
“I’m not. But the Church wouldn't let me get a third husband anyway.”
“But sweetie, you’re the head of the Church of Icholasen. You can choose.”
“Oh yeah you’re right, wow, all this talk of Catholicism had me confused."
Anastasia looked in the mirror, attempted to fix her makeup, fiddled with her hair and sighed. “I’m not sure I like the theme though, Tommy. Why did they have to choose Catholicism, it’s too… extra. I like simplicity. It’s why I’m a protestant... Thanks for reminding me by the way.”
Tommy laughed. "No matter what religion they chose as the theme, you’d still look busted.”
Anastasia smirked. “Ha, very funny. How does your costume even fit the theme anyway?”
“Suits are very Catholic. At least all the Catholics I met in my gap year in Red Croatia wore them. And hey, it's harder making male clothes present anything at all. I would’ve gone in full drag but I didn't want to tuck.”
The two returned to the silence as before, looking at themselves in the huge desk-mounted mirrors in the suite. It would be an understatement to say these royal siblings were vain. Tommy perched himself on a pink Ottoman and looked at himself in the mirror, and looked at his newly forming laughter lines.
“Maybe I am bothered that I don’t have a date. Maybe I’m coming to the end of my wild days.” Tommy said, snorting a line of coke wistfully.
“Tommy don’t say such a thing!" Anastasia exclaimed, genuinely offended.
"Maybe I want babies, a small family with a loving man."
"Do you know what Mikaela Klingenburg is doing right now?"
"No, I don't have dumbass alerts on my phone."
"Mikaela Klingenburg is at home babysitting. Babysitting! Do you really want to be doing the same thing with your surrogate babies while the rest of Europe parties?”
Tommy sighed and continued styling his hair.
The two then readied themselves and made their way downstairs out of the palace. They got in the car, and made their way to the Museum. The scenery passed them. The two of them wondered who would be there, and what kind of outfits they'd be wearing. They arrived in front of reporters as a pair.
“TOMMY, WHO ARE YOU DATING?” Asked one reporter.
“ANASTASIA, WHY DO YOUR HUSBANDS KEEP DYING?”
“TOMMY, HOW’S YOUR CAT?"
“ANASTASIA, WHO ARE YOU WEARING?” Asked another.
“I’m wearing Michel Arnaque.” Responded Anastasia, finally giving the paparazzi the attention they craved.
The two then perused the exhibition. Tommy was bored by it, if he wanted to see outdated clothes, he’d just check out Mikaela Klingenburg’s Instagram. But Anastasia actually loved looking at the exhibit and all the clothes on display, it reminded her of a simpler time when it wasn't suspicious that two of your husbands had died within only a couple of years of each other. The two then continued into the dining and ballroom. Anastasia and Tommy were both secretly looking for a man (after midnight), but they hoped no one would call their bluff. They looked out into the crowd of dignitaries, looked each other in the eyes, then both said simultaneously: "I need a drink."
Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks
"Good lord, woman," sighed a very perturbed Heidi Klum. She was followed rather closely by Tyra Banks, the two being the top German models in the industry and of course were asked to represent the German Empire at such a huge event. Having seen the strides forward the Imperial Government made to get closer to Icholasen, this was both a notable industry event and notable political event. Heidi took her assignment seriously from the Chancellor. She was to be cordial, open and friendly. All things she was never known for.
"What!?" yelled Tyra loudly at Heidi. "I'm just steppin' and posin'!" Tyra felt the need to pose for nearly every picture possible on the entrance as the two walked in, Heidi pausing momentarily for her photo. "It's almost as good as my beauty skin, eye and everything cream!"
Heidi rolled her eyes. Tyra was so loud. So...unbearably loud.
"Your...oh Gott im Himmel...don't say it..." Heidi said.
"It's VASELIIIIIIIIIINNNNNE!" Tyra yelled, holding a bedazzled mini jar of Vaseline. The petroleum jelly was nothing secret or anything worth more than about 3 marks, but for some reason she kept refilling the bedazzled jar with Vaseline. Tyra held it and screamed and screeched for about two minutes straight as Heidi tried to hurry up.
"I hope the others get here soon, because I don't think I can handle Tyra being Tyra for this long," Heidi groaned.
Bastian Scheinsteiger and Ana Ivanovic
Bastian and Ana's limo pulled up to the entrance. Despite knowing the theme was Catholic Inspiration and what not, they dressed as their normal selves. One of the most famous non-royal couples in Germany, they addressed the rather large elephant in the room when hearing about the theme of the Met Gala this year.
"Did they not realise we Germans would probably not be super into the Catholicism thing...as, you know, the home of the Protestant movement?" asked Bastian, looking out the window. Ana smiled and let out a chuckle.
"No, but it's anyway exciting for me to be here right now. It's the big fashion event of the season, and we'll at least be dressed well," Ana smiled at her husband before letting out a slight squeal at the sight of the illustrious entrance to the gala. She was used to, after her tennis career ended, being what some might call a WAG, a trophy wife for the successful athlete husband. But as they sat on their millions, one child at home and trying for child number two, they seemed unbothered and ready to slay.
As Ana looked around, Bastian noticed Tyra screeching down the entrance about Vaseline before letting out a roar.
"Ana, do you know Tyra? Does she normally behave like this?" Bastian asked; Ana looked at the model before shrugging her shoulders. "You know, she reminds me of some crazy opponents of yours on the court, Anci."
Ana turned and looked at Bastian before laughing again.
"You don't mean Serena do you?" asked Ana. "Ti si tako zao."
Bastian smiled before grabbing his wife for a picture for the press. Ana pulled our her phone and began to post a bit on Instagram Story and her Snapchat when she saw some of the other guests.
"We're really in the big leagues now," Ana commented as Bastian posed again.
Queen Irene von Taurus
To Irene, preparing for the Met Gala was like preparing for battle. The new Queen of Red Croatia, who barely ruled for two whole years by now, was insistent on proving herself worthy of her crown with every. single. move. she made.
And in Red Croatia, the birthplace of social media and home to the world's most celebrity obsessed civilization, proving yourself worthy meant stunning in every social appearance, looking flawless every time you leave your house, courting attention with your every move and setting trends with your style choices.
This wasn't the case for just the Queen though. Every Red Croatian citizen put much thought into their social images, especially the celebrities, because the country forced obligatory social media profiles on their citizens and invested a lot in educating Red Croatian students on social psychology and social conduct. The country was hell for introverts and shy people, but heaven for social butterflies like Severina and Irene - the two women representing Red Croatia at this event. But even though both are glamorous, over the top divas on the surface, they are driven by entirely different things.
Severina stood out from other Red Croats since an early age because she was so assured of her worth and confident in who she was, which allowed her to have fun with how she portrayed herself on social media and in social events while other kids were insecurity driven and just trying to keep up. While other kids were thinking "how do I not embarrass myself at this party? How do I convince everyone I can be just as pretty and just as eloquent as every other Red Croat?" (none of them were aware they all felt equally inadequate on the inside) she was thinking "how do I stun everyone at the party? I wanna make sure everyone has fun!" She was a bright, positive person to the core, so to her courting attention at the Met Gala was fun! Walking with Catholic nuns while wearing a provocative dress was something she had a lot of sense of humor about. These things fulfilled her.
Irene, on the other hand, stood out for different reasons. While other kids were thinking "how do I not embarrass myself?" she was thinking "how do I embarrass everyone else?" Every time she did anything social, she was aiming to out-do everyone else and make them feel inferior. An alpha to the core, her self esteem depended on making everyone else feel like they're dirt.
So when she was plotting her big entrance at the Met Gala, she was thinking of how to make everyone else look out of place and inadequate. She wanted to make the politicians who arrived just because they felt they had to look boring, she wanted to make the celebrities who came in desperately trying to get some publicity look unimaginative, she wanted to make the very event organizers feel like shit by looking better than the exhibit and she wanted to make the people of Icholasen fall so madly in love with her that they give her more attention than they do to their own queen, Anastasia. She wanted to make the event so blatantly about her to the point that it's dubbed the "Irene Gala."
And this desire for attention might even have a bigger pay-off than making her a huge celebrity and attracting more people to Red Croatia. There's a very, very big reason behind why Irene has been so insistent on mentioning her Sahrawi ancestry (black Red Croats migrated from Sahara) and her love of Sahrawi culture in her every European media appearance, and it goes beyond her using their style to make herself more interesting and start new trends...
Irene makes her entrance
"Get it? I'm an angel! A messenger of God..." Irene smirked as she arrived at the Met Gala and strutted down the red carpet. "A wonderful Sahrawi designer made this for me." Due to her previous appearances in Icholasen's media, she was already a sensation and someone that the press knew that they could rely on to give them juicy content to write about. Because of that (and her ridiculous angel outfit) she gathered the most attention out of anyone. Photographers weren't afraid to rudely stop taking pictures of other celebrities (hopefully including Tyra) and rush over to get a picture of the main event.
"WOAHHHH! SLAY QUEEN!"
"WOOOOO, I'M CONVERTING TO CATHOLICISM!!!"
"ARE YOU DRESSED UP AS ANY PARTICULAR ANGEL? A FALLEN ANGEL, PERHAPS? QUEEN!!!"
The press was going berserk, with some of the messier reporters already posting online about how it's humiliating that a foreigner was more absorbed in the Catholic Imagination theme than Queen Anastasia at an event taking place in Saint Regina, Icholasen.
Irene did what she had to do...
She slayed the red carpet and she slayed everyone else's self esteem.
Former Queen of Red Croatia, Aleksandra von Aries
Seeing Irene gather so much attention while she was wearing her disguise and posing next to Craticus invoked a strong emotional reaction out of Aleksandra. She knew that this could happen if Irene chose to appear, but she couldn't foresee how intensely it would feel once she saw it play out in real life. "I have to go the bathroom." she told Craticus before rushing away from him.
She rushed over to the bathroom, but when she saw that it was full of other women she decided to run elsewhere. Anywhere where she could be alone and give herself some time to think. "FUCK!" she shouted as soon as she got some privacy, needing some emotional release. She felt the need to scream, but she controlled herself so that the guards don't catch her and force her to reveal her identity. "Uhhh, FUCK!!!! This exhibition is SOOO FUCKING GREAT!!! Yay!!??" she added, hoping that it would be enough to prevent people from being curious about her shout if anyone overheard.
She then slid down to sit on the floor, her back against a wall. "You knew this was coming, you knew this was coming..." She kept repeating to herself in an attempt to calm down.
The past few years were the most emotional years of her life for Aleksandra, who went from being a successful monarch of Red Croatia to a nobody.
It all started in this exact city, in this exact country (Saint Regina, Icholasen) five years ago, during the coronation of Anastasia, the still reigning Queen of Icholasen. It was the night she seduced the Archbishop of Inquista into sleeping with her out of fun, hoping to add a man who maintained such a pious image to her list of conquests. She succeeded in her seduction, but it resulted in an unplanned pregnancy.
Because Red Croatian monarchs are expected to practice eugenics and only have children with ideal mates, she knew that she was risking losing the crown if she didn't abort the child, but she chose to give birth anyway. Not because she felt it was immoral to not have her baby, but because at that point in her life... she wanted to lose the crown. She wanted the noble families to force her into abandoning her rule and leave Croatia in the hands of a more suitable person (Irene) because she saw it as a way to escape the overwhelming pressure of being the Queen of such a gargantuan country.
And so, things went just as she foresaw them. Aleksandra was replaced and forced to leave the country. She chose to go to the Sahrawi Union, a country under the dual rule of Red Croatia and Inquista, and live there. While she lived there, she felt more free than she ever did in her life. She fell in love with Sahrawi culture, adored being a new mother, took time to pursue her passions and discovered herself anew.
But, when she heard of the news that Irene has plans to take over Sahara, her life became stressful and complicated again. Just as she embraced her new home, she had to leave to Inquista and seek protection for herself and her daughter. She had to live under the supervision of the Archbishop, as it was safer than staying in a place that Irene was set to conquer...
Uncertain of the future, she had to spend the last few months in hiding, hoping that something stops Irene. And now that she saw her enthrall everyone at the Gala so effortlessly, she was once again assured of the new Queen's competence. Was this woman really going to take over Sahara, the only place in the world where Aleksandra felt happy and free?
"That bitch is good..."
Queen Anastasia looked around the room at all the dignitaries from all around Europe.
"Honestly, Tommy, I didn't imagine this many people would come. I mean with such a provocative and ill-thought out theme, I thought most of Europe would boycott."
"Yeah. I'm sure we would've if not for the reformation." Tommy replied.
"Oh that's such a good song."
"REFormation, not Formation, Anastasia."
"Yes I knew that." A long pause erupted between the two. "So, what are we going to do now?"
"We could start to mingle. I suppose that's the proper thing to do." Tommy said, looking around the ballroom.
"Oh look, there's the exhibition curator, Françoise Hardy, let's talk to her."
The two royal siblings walked up to the aged curator as she sipped her red wine while talking to some interns. Françoise was from the Nicoleizian region of Romain which spoke French and was Catholic. She was highbrow, intellectual and unashamed to look down her nose at people if they didn't conform to her standards of intellectualism.
"Hello." Said Anastasia sheepishly. "It's a pleasure to meet you Madam Hardy."
"Your Highness." Françoise said, curtseying. "How did you find the exhibit?"
"Oh it was wonderful." Tommy butted in, in a highly sarcastic manner. Françoise raised her eyebrow.
"It really was." Said Anastasia, clearly annoyed at Tommy. "Why did you decide on this theme by the way?"
"Well, I had been choosing all conventional themes and rather boring ones. But what gets you attention is scandal. And here I am, an elderly curator embroiled in a scandal. More Archbishops have called me out this week than have Prince Tommy. I think that's an achievement in itself... No offense, Tommy."
"Oh none taken, I've had a dry patch."
"Now, if you'll excuse me." Françoise said, "I must get back to curating."
The royal siblings then looked over to Queen Irene. Anastasia thought how much good press she could get by being friends with such a popular and famous Queen.
"Do you see Queen Irene over there?"
"How could I miss her, she's dressed like a drag queen at a Mardi Gras parade."
"Well, I say we go and schmooze with her! I want some good magazine covers for once. No more single Anastasia is a single party-pooper."
"Okay, as long as I can have two free insults."
The two walked over to Irene, Anastasia with her head up shoulders back approached her, Tommy was rather the opposite, with folded arms he arrived on the scene slightly behind Anastasia and looking anywhere but straight ahead. In truth, Tommy was intimidated by Queen Irene.
"Good evening." Anastasia said.
Queen Irene von Taurus
"Anastasia!" Irene exclaimed gleefully when she saw Anastasia, immediately going over to give her a big hug. Even though the woman looked intimidating at first, Irene's demeanor was warm while her speaking tone was high-pitched, girly and friendly - she was talking to Anastasia as if they were good girlfriends. She was so concentrated on 'stasia that she didn't even realize Tommy was with them. "The press have exhausted me already, and they're probably twice as hard on you. Will you be my friend for tonight and help me stay sane?"
The Met Gala press
Just as Irene complained to Anastasia about the press being irritating, the papparazi jumped on the opportunity to pester the two Queens.
"Two queens together - that could be a good headline... LOOKING GOOD, LADIES!"
"POSE, GALS! OVER HERE!!!"
"ARE YOU TWO GETTING ALONG? DO YOU FIND IT YOU HAVE MUCH IN COMMON, BEING TWO NEWLY CROWNED HEADS OF STATES?"
"IRENE, HAVE YOU MET ANASTASIA'S CHILDREN?"
"ANASTASIA, WHY IS IRENE THE FIRST FOREIGNER YOU CHOSE TO INTERACT WITH AT THE GALA? ARE YOU FOND OF HER?"
"IRENE, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT ICHOLASEN?"
"ANASTASIA, DO YOU FEEL UNDERDRESSED NEXT TO IRENE?"
"IRENE, DO YOU THINK YOU COULD TURN PRINCE TOMMY STRAIGHT?"
Anastasia was clearly irritated by the papa papa paparazzi, and she could tell Irene was too. She smiled graciously and posed for the cameras, yet remained quiet. Anastasia had a habit of just ignoring questions. She thought, "if it's not in the constitution that I have to do it, I won't". However the press kept on asking questions.
"ANASTASIA, ARE YOU PREGNANT OR HAVE YOU HAD A FEW TOO MANY COMMUNION WAFERS?"
"ANASTASIA, WHO'S YOUR FAVOURITE EUROVOICE WINNER?"
"ANASTASIA WILL YOU REMARRY?"
All these questions weren't too much for Anastasia to handle, but she was very close to losing it, as she so often was. She turned to Irene (and to Tommy but... to a lesser extent) and asked "Would you like to go somewhere more private? I want to talk to you."
The legendary music producer behind most of Angleter's hits in the 1980s and many of its less successful EuroVoice entries, Pete Waterman, or "Sir Pete Waterman" as he likes to call himself, is known primarily around Europe for the much-loved protest song Nuke the ECoJ.
Pete made his way along the catwalk wearing a classic black tie suit with a light overcoat. After posing for photos briefly, and upon seeing the photographers divert their attention to some woman or something, Pete shouted out: "DO YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW SIR PETE WATERMAN IS FOLLOWING THE THEME?"
After a few seconds, as it became apparent that nobody was interested, Pete walked over to the cameras and edged in between two women he didn't recognise. "EXCUSE ME," said Pete to the press, "THIS IS SIR PETE WATERMAN, CATHOLIC THEME!"
Pete turned around and asked the two models to remove his coat. They did, reluctantly, revealing the back of his dinner jacket reading in large Tipp-Ex letters 'ECOJ REPENT OR GO TO HELL'.
"IT SAYS: ECOJ REPENT OR GO TO HELL! Also we need more trains. Waterman out." Pete made his way past the rest of the bewildered press and into the exhibit.
Gisela Stuart and Peter Montfort
"We're the only Angleteric politicians here, aren't we?" asked Gisela.
"Well, you are. I'm not even a politician," replied Peter. "But yes, everyone else is too scared of Cardinal Sidhu and the voters."
"Do you miss being accountable to the voters?"
"Oh, absolutely not. I much prefer running the vote to taking part in it. I wonder if Sidhu will try and boycott any EV entry who goes to this."
"Haha, could you imagine. Fucking rock singers doing public penance to try and get 12 points from Angleter."
"Speaking of bishops, why did you take me as your date and not, you know, Firoux?"
"Because you know this isn't a real date."
The press shouted for Gisela and Peter to come over and take questions from them
"Premier Commissioner, what's on your head there?"
"It's a nativity scene; how better to represent the birth of a new era for the EU under my leadership?"
"Is this really the best use of your time? What will the voters think?"
"I'm not here to talk politics; tonight is about charity, supporting our fashion industry, and respecting the artistic tradition of the Catholic Church. That's why I'm here and I hope everyone else is here for the same reason. And besides, I can't run again next time, so I don't need to obsess over my 'image' or anything like that. Have a great evening!"
"And Mr Montfort, will we be seeing this costume next time you're in Icholasen for EuroVoice?"
"You'll have to watch to find out!"
They continued into the exhibit.
Kate Bush was on a roll after a new tour and an appearance at EuroVoice 34 in Angleter. The press called her over almost as soon as she arrived on the catwalk.
"Kate, can you take us through your outfit? No Wuthering Heights red dress?"
"I'm wearing all black because traditionally it's the colour women wear when meeting the Pope. In fact only a handful of queens and princesses are allowed to wear white instead; so the inspiration came from that."
"And what do you think of what you've seen so far tonight?"
"Well, I've only just got here, but from the couple of outfits I've seen tonight, I'm totally blown away. Great originality, great creativity; it's what tonight should be all about."
"Can we be expecting a performance from you tonight?"
"Nothing official, but you know what, I bet you could do with some entertainment out here, right?"
The journalists all eagerly agreed, so Kate launched straight into the chorus of Running Up That Hill:
"If I only could... make a deal with God..."
Kate signalled for the journalists to join in; some of the other attendees on the catwalk began to crowd around and also joined in:
"AND I'D GET HIM TO SWAP OUR PLACES... BE RUNNING UP THAT ROAD.... BE RUNNING UP THAT HILL..."
Kate stopped singing and gestured to the crowd, who filled in:
"BE RUNNING UP THAT BUILDING..."
Kate finished: "Say if I only could, ooh-oohhh"
The audience that had built up around Kate applauded as she took a bow and then proceeded towards the exhibit.
Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum
Tyra noticed the attention slide off of her antics for a moment when the delegation from Red Croatia showed up.
"Oh HELL no! Who is that girl stealing my shine?! She can kiss my fat ass!" Tyra grumbled. She ripped off her dress to reveal a different ensemble underneath.
"Jesus Christ..." Heidi grumbled. "We weren't supposed to do that until we got inside the venue, Tyra!" Tyra paid Heidi no mind and stormed over towards Irene.
"Well, so much for the surprise," Heidi said to herself, performing a quick change on the carpet to reveal her own angelic wings.
Tyra had made her way over to Irene before saying.
"Girl, I know you are fierce; I know that you are tough. Why didn't you tell me we were gonna do this right here right now? Strike a pose!" Tyra announced before doing several poses a la vogue. "Booty scootch with a tooty tooch!"
Heidi wandered over to Tyra and Irene, ready to apologise but the desire, the power of a modelling moment proved far too strong for Heidi to resist, and she too began to strike a pose.
"Somewhere more private? Sounds great. You know this place better than I do, so you lead the way." Irene was pleasantly surprised at the chemistry between Anastasia and herself. Neither of them came here to make friends - Anastasia was using Irene for good publicity and Irene was only associating with Anastasia because she was the top dog at the event, but this relationship looked like it might end up blossoming into something surprisingly genuine.
When the exhibitionist mess that went by the name Tyra interrupted Irene just as she was to head off with Anastasia, she was annoyed... but this wasn't a situation that she could escape. She knew that 'TYRA AND HEIDI CHALLENGE IRENE TO A POSE OFF' was headline material and that if she just walked off, the public opinion would be divided into those thinking that Irene was a dignified woman disassociating herself from two messy models (#TeamIrene) and those who thought that Irene was threatened by the younger girls and was no fun (#TeamTyra).
"I can't believe this Tyra bitch pulled off something like this... This is the most interesting thing that happened at the event so far, the most likely thing to be heavily covered by the media... the most likely top headline... I have to leave this exchange looking good." she thought, blissfully unaware of Severina's nearly impossible to top stunt because it took place off the red carpet.
"Oh my, you girls are so silly!" Irene giggled as she stepped in the middle of Tyra and Heidi, wrapped one hand around each and forced them into a big angel hug. "Aren't they fabulous? A queen and two angels!" she shouted, indicating friendliness and subliminally suggesting a way to cover this event to press.
"A queen and two angels is a good headline... The two thirsty bitches still get good attention, but I'm the one in the center and I'm the one whose queen... I'm the Beyonce of the trio and Tyra gets to be Kelly. Heidi can be... ummm... the other one."
The press immediately jumped at this.
"WOOO, LOOKING GOOD LADIES!"
"GIRLS, ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE A THREESOME AFTER THIS?"
"IRENE, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF GERMAN WOMEN?"
"TYRA, ARE YOU EXCITED TO BE IN THE PRESENCE OF A QUEEN?"
"HEIDI, HOW DOES IT BEING THE TOKEN WHITE GIRL IN THE TRIO?"
Irene was NOT letting Tyra speak or take her center stage position in front of the press, so she made sure to answer all of the questions - even those not directed at her - but in a way that seemed friendly as opposed to overbearing.
"Oh, you never know with us girls! Maybe we'll have some naughty fun later..."
"If other German women are anything like these two, I'm in love!"
"Oh, don't do Tyra like that! She shouldn't act like she's around a Queen, I'm just a normal girl!" The press collectively awwwed at Irene's faux kindness and immediately prepared to praise her humility. But even more importantly, this answer prevented Tyra from stepping in to say how honored she is to be next to a monarch. "Tyra could've ended up being portrayed as a humble girl that worked her way up to being able to stand next to me... I wasn't going to let her 'I can't believe I made it! I'm posing next to a queen?' shtick see the light of day." Irene thought.
"Haha, who cares about race nowadays? We're all fabulous human beings and that's what matters. We're ebony..." she points at herself. "Ivory..." she points at Heidi. "And regular, normal, everyday dark brown wood." she points at Tyra. The press continued to awwww at Irene, the humble, anti-racist and totally-not-passive-aggressive-and-overbearing Queen.
Gisela Stuart and Peter Montfort
"Oh God, it's Waterman," said Montfort, pointing out Pete Waterman's distinctive tuxedo.
"Why is he here?" asked Gisela.
"I think it's because of the whole Nuke the ECoJ thing. Also they couldn't get anyone else from Angleter."
"I don't underst-... why... what's that message about? We haven't even got an ECoJ?"
"I don't... Oh God, what's he doing?"
As he walked past Heidi, Tyra, and Irene, Pete couldn't help but notice the extraordinary amount of press attention they were getting.
He slowed down slightly and meandered a little as he walked forward.
He started again, hesitantly.
And then he did a complete 180 and walked straight towards them.
"HI GIRLS," said Pete as he barged between Tyra and Irene. "Here's the REAL pose of the night."
Pete jumped around, hunching forward as he did so, narrowly avoiding elbowing the Queen of Red Croatia in the side as he did so.
"IT SAYS: ECOJ REPENT OR GO TO HELL!" exclaimed Pete, pointing to the Tipp-Exed message on the back of his tuxedo. "What do you think of that then, girls?"