League of Legends is a deep game — with one hundred and fifty champions, books of lore, events, tournaments, and esports. But one group of fans is approaching the game’s cast from an entirely different angle. The Rift Gala is a project centered around creating a high-fashion experience for League of Legends fans, and seeing how the game’s enormous cast looks in a variety of high-end styles via the power of fan art. That art is being coordinated and planned over Discord, and will roll out to the public this upcoming weekend on social media.
The Rift Gala was inspired by the Met Gala, the fundraising benefit held annually at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The Met Gala is high fashion tailored to a theme, and industry experts, actors, models, and other people of influence show up in highly elaborate gowns and garb. Themes are pretty open-ended — ranging from “Heavenly Bodies” to “Camp” — resulting in a wild, unpredictable array of avant garde looks.
So why are players dressing up the League of Legends cast, who are chained to their in-game silhouettes and battle-ready garb? This fan art event has become a dedicated fandom project. A Twitter user named ChimesCollector suggested the project, and another League fan with the handle Ccosmicbim began organizing it. Ccosmicbim and RedezOfTheVoid are two of the organizers of the event, but artists, fans, and volunteers have chipped in to capture the live fashion experience for the fantasy characters.
“Since everyone knew it was inspired by MET Gala, I originally went for a ‘Prestige’ angle, everything big, ostentatious and golden, not really focused on something and giving free reign,” Ccosmicbim told Polygon via Twitter DM. “But it was Redez who gave the big idea to centralize on a theme, and that’s how we chose ‘Angels’ as the keyword, honing in on Catholic imagery mixed with the original ‘Prestige’ vision.”
Once artists started collaborating on Discord, things began to flow smoothly. The Rift Gala is a cooperative experience, where everyone is trying to up their own game and help other artists out in the process. “We found ourselves soon taking inspiration from actual Gala outfits,” says Ccosmicbim. “From actual high fashion, from buildings, paintings, aesthetics and everything that could help the ‘religious’ vision, mixing in with a bit of Art Deco for the extra ‘Prestigious Reunion’ aesthetic.”
From there, the group began to spread the word and prepare for the Rift Gala. The team is trying to create something as close to the Met Gala experience as possible, which includes a live unveiling of each costume on the group’s Twitter feed.
The Rift Gala will run from Oct. 16 through the 17th, with over 100 champions — over two thirds of the game’s roster — being shown in various high-end fashion pieces, all planned, designed, and drawn by fans who love fashion and League.