Catholicism and fashion aren’t an obvious match made in heaven. The qualities of vanity, frivolity and pride that are often associated with the fashion industry are generally frowned upon by religious doctrine. The industry has its fair share of the gay population, who don’t have a particularly harmonious relationship with the Church. Ergo this season’s trend for religious iconography is, on the surface, somewhat surprising. However, delve a little deeper into the issue and it’s easy to see the parallels. The church has long used beautiful clothes and adornment to add gravitas to ceremony and tradition. In turn the beautifully rich colours and imagery from religious art work has a sensuality that naturally inspires designers, no matter the sociological and political implications that the Catholic church implies.
— Dolce & Gabbana (@dolcegabbana) July 31, 2013
Major collections from Dolce and Gabbana, Valentino and Alexander McQueen drew on holy imagery. Stefano and Domenico lifted images golden mosaics of Sicily’s Cathedral of Monreale for their exquisitely decadent pieces. Their catholic references were shimmeringly literal and deeply sensual.
— Who What Wear (@WhoWhatWear) August 1, 2013
Valentino’s Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli created an austere allure with modest lengths and necklines, coupled with sumptuous colour and details. The collars and cuffs were reminiscent of low church humility, yet the glimpses of exposed collar bone and the nipped in waists created a sense of smouldering scandal beneath quasi religious robes.
— Alexander McQueen (@McQueen) July 22, 2013
Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen merged ecclesiastic aesthetics with fetishistic thrill, the result was perversely beautiful. Added to this intoxicating mix were majestic neck ruffs a pearl incrusted bodices that an Elizabethan Queen, or a Moulin Rouge show girl wold be proud of.
What I love about all these looks, but most particularly the McQueen collection, is the re-appropriation of what is supposed to be untouchable. To me, they all make a defiant statement about what is fair game in fashion. Designers should always push the boundaries of what is acceptable and reflect the world we live in. With the continuing sex scandals within the Catholic church, it seems right and proper that designers not only pay homage to the beautiful art that has been inspired by religion, but not shy away the raging scandals that persist in corrupting papal institutions.
How does one go about wearing this trend? It can be as simple as an opulent cross pendant with a dress in luxuriant red and a slash of scarlet lipstick. Despite the high drama and complexity of this trend, the clothes themselves are beautiful, lavish and deliciously scandalous.
What I love about this look it’s it’s sultry subversiveness;
I love this look; it has a subversive sexiness that I’m drawn to like a moth to a flame. It’s demurely feminine and dramatic in equal measure.