“Heavenly Bodies – Fashion and the Catholic Imagination- was an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2018. The exhibit was in three locations – the Met Fifth Avenue in the Byzantine and medieval galleries, continued in the Anna Wintour Costume Center and concluded at the The Met Cloisters in northern Manhattan, where elements from French monasteries have been rebuilt as four cloisters.

It featured the work of designers who for the most part were raised in the Roman Catholic tradition. While their current relationship to Catholicism varied, most acknowledged its enduring influence on their imaginations. On the surface this influence is expressed through explicit Catholic imagery and symbolism as well as references to specific garments worn by the clergy and religious orders. On a deeper level, it manifests as a reliance on storytelling and specifically on metaphor – which the sociologist Andrew Greeley describes as the essential characteristic of a particular sensibility he defines as – the Catholic imagination” (excerpted from the exhibition brochure)

My favorite was the Jean-Paul Gautier which is the featured image. I also recognize that Lacroix t-shirt by with the cross from the time it was on the cover of Vogue. I went to this exhibit on a field trip organized by the San Francisco Textile Arts Council and we enjoyed curator-led tours to this fabulous exhibit.


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