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Fashion & Trends, People

Fairplay in NYC:
Inside The Met's "Heavenly Bodies" Exhibit

By Sofia Celeste 02 August 2018

NEW YORK, USA - We made it to the most talked about exhibit of the year… and perhaps the decade.

Step into the Medieval Sculpture Hall of the Met Fifth Avenue and a bejewelled madonna awash white and celestial blue Thierry Mugler Evening Ensemble rises high above a frenzied crowd. The light catches the crystal encrusted dress just so, and for a moment we wonder, just for a second, if it is the Virgin Mary reincarnate.

To one side, Federico Fellini’s “ecclesiastical fashion show,” a scene from his 1972 cult film “Roma” is playing in the background - a satirical, almost vulgar display of the opulence and hierarchy that at times, defines the Catholic Church.

Interpretations of the cassock or black soutane by Dolce & Gabbana and Jean Paul Gaultier stand in a uniform row, and conjure memories of a strict religious upbringing and education.

Our conflicted catholic-inner child starts to resurface… we go on.

The work of designers like John Galliano and Yves Saint Laurent, two creatives that grew up in strict Roman Catholic families stood out for their unadulterated masterpieces. The first was credited for the bronze-winged angel wrapped in white silk, that stood out for its purity and the latter, for its heavily ornamented statuary vestment made for a copy of the Virgin of El Rocio in the Chapel of Notre Dame - encrusted in pearls and jewels made by Parisian jeweller Goossens.

“Fashion and religion have long been intertwined, mutually inspiring and informing one another,” said Andrew Bolton, Wendy Yu 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.”

The Costume Institute’s spring/summer 2018 exhibition, "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination" will be on view until October 8 at The Met Fifth Avenue and is on view at the Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries for Byzantine Art, part of The Robert Lehman Wing, and the Anna Wintour Costume Center—and uptown at The Met Cloisters.

The exhibition features approximately 40 ecclesiastical masterworks from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, many of which have never been seen outside the Vatican. Encompassing more than 15 papacies from the 18th to the early 21st century, these masterworks are on view in the Anna Wintour Costume Center galleries and include papal vestments and accessories, such as rings and tiaras like the one ruby and emerald encrusted one given to Pope Piux IX in the mid 1800s that caught the eye of many a flashing iPhone.

The museum said that last time the Vatican sent a loan of this magnitude to The Met was in 1983, for The Vatican Collections exhibition, which is the Museum’s third most-visited show.

The exhibit’s opening was presided by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York. Gaining the Vatican’s blessing to go forth with the Met Gala theme “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” would never have happened during the last two pontificates of John Paul II or Pope Benedict XVI. It’s clear that co-organiser Anna Wintour and Pope Francis are both in-line when it comes to impacting the masses, as well as pop culture.

 

 

 

Sofia Celeste
FAIRPLAY Editor-in-Chief

When she is not hunting down the latest in tech and fashion, Sofia Celeste is scouting artisan talent for her online magazine bacoluxury.com. Born in the US and raised on the Pacific Island of Guam, she went on to write for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. Her work is now regularly published in top fashion publications NOWFASHION and WWD.

NEW YORK, USA - We made it to the most talked about exhibit of the year… and perhaps the decade.

Step into the Medieval Sculpture Hall of the Met Fifth Avenue and a bejewelled madonna awash white and celestial blue Thierry Mugler Evening Ensemble rises high above a frenzied crowd. The light catches the crystal encrusted dress just so, and for a moment we wonder, just for a second, if it is the Virgin Mary reincarnate.

To one side, Federico Fellini’s “ecclesiastical fashion show,” a scene from his 1972 cult film “Roma” is playing in the background - a satirical, almost vulgar display of the opulence and hierarchy that at times, defines the Catholic Church.

Interpretations of the cassock or black soutane by Dolce & Gabbana and Jean Paul Gaultier stand in a uniform row, and conjure memories of a strict religious upbringing and education.

Our conflicted catholic-inner child starts to resurface… we go on.

The work of designers like John Galliano and Yves Saint Laurent, two creatives that grew up in strict Roman Catholic families stood out for their unadulterated masterpieces. The first was credited for the bronze-winged angel wrapped in white silk, that stood out for its purity and the latter, for its heavily ornamented statuary vestment made for a copy of the Virgin of El Rocio in the Chapel of Notre Dame - encrusted in pearls and jewels made by Parisian jeweller Goossens.

“Fashion and religion have long been intertwined, mutually inspiring and informing one another,” said Andrew Bolton, Wendy Yu 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.”

The Costume Institute’s spring/summer 2018 exhibition, "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination" will be on view until October 8 at The Met Fifth Avenue and is on view at the Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries for Byzantine Art, part of The Robert Lehman Wing, and the Anna Wintour Costume Center—and uptown at The Met Cloisters.

The exhibition features approximately 40 ecclesiastical masterworks from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, many of which have never been seen outside the Vatican. Encompassing more than 15 papacies from the 18th to the early 21st century, these masterworks are on view in the Anna Wintour Costume Center galleries and include papal vestments and accessories, such as rings and tiaras like the one ruby and emerald encrusted one given to Pope Piux IX in the mid 1800s that caught the eye of many a flashing iPhone.

The museum said that last time the Vatican sent a loan of this magnitude to The Met was in 1983, for The Vatican Collections exhibition, which is the Museum’s third most-visited show.

The exhibit’s opening was presided by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York. Gaining the Vatican’s blessing to go forth with the Met Gala theme “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” would never have happened during the last two pontificates of John Paul II or Pope Benedict XVI. It’s clear that co-organiser Anna Wintour and Pope Francis are both in-line when it comes to impacting the masses, as well as pop culture.

 

 

 

Sofia Celeste
FAIRPLAY Editor-in-Chief

When she is not hunting down the latest in tech and fashion, Sofia Celeste is scouting artisan talent for her online magazine bacoluxury.com. Born in the US and raised on the Pacific Island of Guam, she went on to write for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. Her work is now regularly published in top fashion publications NOWFASHION and WWD.

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