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July 2018

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Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination Part 2

heavenly bodies part 2

Currently on display at the Met Museum on Fifth and the Cloisters in the fashion exhibition Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. Read part one here, the premise of this exhibition is fashions relationship with the Catholic religion and religions in general. Many of the designers showcased grew up in the Catholic church or still practice a belief. Items like Papal robes and other catholic dress were on loan to the museum. While the designer pieces were set among artifacts found in Medieval time periods or set in the Cloisters, a regal feeling building. To get a total understanding of how the exhibition flows, its best to visit both locations. Can’t make it? Keep reading, and don’t forget to read part one. Click images to enlarge.

 

Items From the Vatican.

These items were not allowed to be photographed. Only the artifact in the entrance was allowed to be photographed. Inside this portion of the exhibition were papal dress worn by Vatican Popes including crosses made of precious stones and gold, crowns, zucchetto skullcaps and various robes among other items.

Heavenly bodies

Chasuble Designed by Henri Matisse-1950

 

 

Treasures For Heaven I

Medieval churches held many treasures within them and like those found in the Cloisters, they inspired designers. Pieces that inspired them include alter frontals, stained glass, rosaries and more. This section included a piece by Alexander McQueen, which consisted of a S/S 1999 Ensemble made of plywood, leather, wood and lace. This piece was apart of the ‘No. 13″ collection where he explored the tension between man and machine. Pictures were not allowed.

 

Earthly Hierarchy

In this portion of the exhibition religious dress and color schemes are examined. It showcases the different religious dress within one religion, usually expressing a hierarchy and religious differences in dress between different religions. Focusing mainly on the Roman Catholic church where colors black, violet, white and scarlet are heavily used. They also highlight hue changes for specific occasions within Catholic proceedings.

 

 

The Habit

This religious dress worn by females usually consists of a tunic, a scapular or apron, a veil and a sash at the waist.

 

 

 

The Dominican Habit

Perhaps the most widely recognized Habit thanks to Hollywood is the Dominican Habit. Its black and white contrast has a  stronger visual appeal for designers, as opposed to the simple brown and plain white of other habits.

heavenly bodies part 2

Thom Browne A/W 2011-12

 

The Soutane

The  everyday dress of the secular clergy is the Soutane. Created in the late 12th century this garment usually has a white clerical collar, a floor length, long sleeves and 33 buttons. Daily dress is normally a black soutane with a sash and skullcap.

 

 

 

Ecclesiastical Fashion Show

The liturgical processions of the Roman Catholic Church have similarities to a fashion show. Both follow an orderly arrangement, involve active and passive participants and involve music. The following designs were put in a fashion show like order and were placed near the rolling film “Roma” by Federico Fellini in which there is an “ecclesiastical fashion show” scene.

 

 

 

 

Celestial Hierarchy I

Inspired by saints, angels and the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. Angels, which usually are depicted as guides and messengers for humans, inspired many fashion designers.

 

 

The Dressed Madonna

Many designers created and continue to create garments for Madonna and Child sculptures. Featured here are vestments created by Ricardo Tisci and Yves Saint Laurent.

 

 

 

Celestial Hierarchy II

The designers showcased here were inspired by early Italian Renaissance paintings that were based on religious themes. Particularly inspiring were saints, angels, The Virgin and the work of painter Fra Angelico, who specified in frescos following this theme.

 

 

Mosaics I

Inspired by Byzantine art that showcases figures such as Christ, The Virgin Mary and more. Dolce and Gabbana were inspired by fresco paintings found in the Moreale Cathedral in Sicily.

 

 

Mosaics II 

The Gianni Versace dresses showcased here were inspired by mosaics of Ravenna’s Byzantine monuments. The mesh like material and cross take inspiration from elements Gianni saw in the Met when he visited “The Glory of Byzantium” exhibit in 1997.

 

 

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination will be on display at the Met on Fifth and the Cloisters until October 8th 2018. I hope you can check it out, and see how fashion is inspired by everything, even religion. Have you been able to visit the exhibit? What were your favorite parts? -T.S.

Fashion exhibit The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met’s Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination Exhibition

It’s always said that there are certain things you shouldn’t talk about. Politics, money, family, and religion to name a few. Perhaps because these are highly personal decisions, that when revealed can draw a striking line between people. Although opinions always differ by who is viewing that topic and who interprets it. That is exactly what the exhibition Heavenly Bodies is, an interpretation on religion through the translation of fashion.  It is also an exclusive view into Papal dress and ceremonial items with the blessing of the Vatican. Many of the designers that contributed pieces to the exhibition, were raised in the Roman Catholic church or similar religions. Of which they used the physical symbolism, garments, and the religious orders to inspire their work.

 

The exhibition spans the Met on Fifth and the Met Cloisters. The Met on Fifth hosts the papal portion of the exhibition and designer items spread out among the Anna Wintour Costume Center, The Medieval and Byzantine Art Wing and the Robert Lehman Wing, while the Cloisters hosts designer items showcased near artworks, architecture or similar pieces that directly inspired them. Some corresponding categories were split between both museums, so to understand the order you should visit both. The Cloisters was a perfect place to hold this exhibition as the building itself is reminiscent of a medieval castle or antique church. I talk about the Cloisters and how you can visit all three Met Museums in this post! (Click images to enlarge, press esc to go back)

 

The Cloisters part of the exhibition:

 

The Dressed Madonna II

This  Viktor & Rolf dress references  the Madonna and Child symbolism popular in the Middle Ages in Western Europe. To translate this symbol the designers created the ” Russian Doll Collection”, in which they took inspiration from the Madonna nesting a child in her lap as well as the traditional Russian Nesting Doll.

 

Holy Sacraments I

The designers in this portion of the exhibit were inspired by the act of Baptism. Karl Lagerfeld by the dresses worn by girls in France and Cristobal Balenciaga by the figures of the Virgin he saw in church processions.

 

 

 

 

Holy Sacraments  II

This Marc Bohan dress was part of his debut collection for Dior. It is named the ” Hymenee” after the Hellenistic god of marriage. Although there are also inspirations from the nun and monk habit.

 

 

 

 

Cult of the Virgin 

The dresses displayed here are from the Jean Paul Gaultier S/S 2007 Haute Couture collection ” Les Vierges” ( The Virgins). Inspired by the Blessed Virgin Mary. Each detail of the dress representing Mary, the blue, halo, veil and heart all an iconography depicting stages of her life.

 

 

 

 

Religious Orders

 

I couldn’t get close to all of these pieces, which included designers Rick Owens, Madame Gres, Valentina, Geoffrey Beene, Claire McCardell, and Pierpaolo Piccioli. These designers were largely inspired by simplicity and specifically for these pieces, the monastery.

 

The Crusades II

Craig Greene is continually inspired by Christian figures such as King Arthur. He mixes religious and military inspirations, practically the Orthodox Church with Islamic carpets for these pieces. Mixing both military and different religions.

 

Sacred/Secular

Inspired by the tapestry “The Unicorn in Captivity”. A piece of art that has been interpreted by Christianity and Secular groups to represent different meanings. This Thom Browne wedding dress mixes both meanings, Christ (Christian meaning) and a happy groom bonded by marriage (secular meaning).

 

Mary Mother of God

Inspiration for these pieces come from Mary, Mother of God. Chanel was inspired by stain glass windows found in a church in Germany. The windows depict Mary in a blue gown with wheat. Grain is a representation of the nourishment Mary gave and God’s bounty.

 

 

 

The Annunciation

Inspired by the Annunciation Triptych a Netherlandish painting. Mainly the subjects of the red robe of the virgin and the wings of an angel. The volume of both of these subjects is depicted by the feather outlines of the dress. It was also inspired by the painting Hans Memling’s Virgin and Child Enthroned with Two Angels.

 

 

 

 

 

Gothic Art and Fashion:

This part of the exhibition held designs by Alexander McQueen that were not allowed to be photographed. Alexander McQueen was inspired by religion, specifically the religions found in Netherland inspired paintings. On display in this section of the exhibition are pieces from his A/W 2010/11 collection that was showed after his death in Feb of 2010. Specific inspiration came from altar pieces and religious paintings and McQueen’s constant pursue of translating death and the after-life.

 

 

 

 

 

The Garden of Eden

These pieces were inspired by paintings that depicted Adam and Eve and the garden in which they resided.

 

 

The Crusades I

Inspired by armored giant of the d’Aluye family in France who crusaded across Europe preaching the gospel. This practice lasted three generations.

 

 

Treasures For Heaven II

This part of the exhibition focused on the objects or treasures churches held. Such as  carved wood, silver, gold reliquaries, and ceremonial vessels. Pieces made by medieval artists found within these treasures and more inspired these designers.

I’ll have a separate post on the items found at the Met on Fifth included in this exhibition. Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination will be open until October 8th.- T. S.