I finally made it to the NYC Metropolitan Museum of Art to see its #HeavenlyBodies Show.

After nearly 5 months, the exhibition of Papal, Catholic, novitiate, monastic and embroidered religious vestments and saintly garb and apparel and its influence on haute couture closes on October 8. Especially interesting were modern designs for Dominican nuns (when you think of nuns in pop culture, you imagine the black and white habits of Dominicans).

It was a fascinating show, filled with exquisite designs and priceless regalia; and it was accompanied by the works of 55 designers who combined reverential spirituality with excessive spectacle. Designers included Elsa Schiaparelli, Jean Paul Gaultier, John (House of Dior) Galliano, Gianni Versace, Alexander McQueen, Pierpaolo (Valentino) Piccioli, Raf Simons, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Thierry Mugler, Giovanna Fontana, Riccardo Tisci, Eisa, Cristóbal Balenciaga, A.F. Vandevorst, Christian Lacroix, Dolce & Gabbana, Yves Saint Laurent, Lanvin, Thom Browne (the partner – surprise, surprise – of the show’s Costume Institute curator), Duke Fulco di Verdura, Kate Mulleavy, and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte.

Andrew Bolton, the curator in charge, with backing from Christine and Stephen Schwarzman, initially created the exhibition to create a dialogue between faith and fashion in Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Christianity, and show the fashions in the galleries devoted to those belief systems. Later, they decided to focus on Catholicism and the Vatican.

Which makes me wonder… if they were to mount a exhibit of couture based on Jewish religious practice… I imagzine a show of bar and bat mitzvah outfits over the ages… like these from Georgenti, Merians, and Esquire.


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