Monday, May 7, 2018

Ecclesiastical Fashion Show at the MET: Review By Polly Guerin

Evening Coat Cristobal Balenciaga for House of Balenciaga
Fashion is becoming more than ever devout and the worshipers trending this inspiration include Christian Dior, Gianni Versace, Cristobal Balenciaga, Valentino, Dolce &Gabbana and Yves Saint Laurent, to name a few. Their fashion garments culled in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's fascinating Spring exhibition, HEAVENLY BODIES: FASHION AND THE CATHOLIC IMAGINATION, opens to the public this Thursday, May 10th.  Image 1 (left) El Greco, Cardinal Fernando Nino de Guevara (1541-1609), Oil on Canvas; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, H.O Havermeyer Collection Bequest f Mrs. H. O. Havermeyer (1929); Image (c) Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image 2 (right( Evening Coat, Cristobal Balenciaga for House of Balenciaga, autumn/winter 1954-55; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Digital
Collection Scan by Katerina Jebb.
      Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, at the press opening this morning, responded to something that may have been on the minds of some of the attendees; "You may be asking, what's this church doing here?" He explained that the Catholic imagination embodied not only truth and goodness, but beauty, too! "The truth, goodness and beauty of God is revealed all over the place, even in fashion," he said. 
Dolce & Gabbana
The thematic exhibition is presented in three distinct gallery locations---the medieval galleries and the Anna Wintour Costume Center where a group of papal robes and accessories from the Vatican occupy space and at The Met Cloisters. 

       "Fashion and religion have long been intertwined, mutually inspiring and informing one another." said Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute. "Although this relationship has been complex and sometimes contested, it has produced some of the most inventive and innovative creations in the history of fashion."
        Approximately 150 ensembles, primarily women's wear from the early 20th century to the present captivate your attention in the medieval galleries alongside religious art from The Met collection, providing visitors with with a mesmerizing view of fashion's engagement with Catholicism. "Fashion and religion have long been intertwined, mutually inspiring and informing one another," added Bolton. Some designers initially told Bolton that their work wasn't influenced by religion, but later added that it played a roll in their creative imagination.     
Modern Nuns and Parochial Schoolgirls
The ecclesiastical fashions are obviously from couture collections where the runway shows are more about fantasy and entertainment than wearable art.  Nonetheless, fashionistas will be making a pilgrimage of sorts to view the collections enriched with religious symbolism, tiaras encrusted with thousands of diamonds, emeralds and rubies, papal cloaks and vestments encrusted with gold

embroidery richly designed with a Midas touch.  
     Ta Ta Darlings!!! This is one fashion statement you do not want to miss, which includes some rather parochial school-inspired black garments, a Chanel wedding gown inspired by a communion dress and saintly gowns with gold crowns to match. Fan mail welcome, please email
pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.org and click on the Blog link in the
left hand column to the subject that interests you on visionary men, women determined to succeed, the fashion historian and poetry from the heart.
     

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