Heavenly Bodies by Andrew Bolton
Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

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At heart, that means that despite clothes built on centuries of subtext about religious and state power, sexual and social weight, and enduring iconography quite literally vested in these artifacts, context is often absent. The result is beautiful, with some heavy silences.
-NPR

Synopsis

A brilliant exploration of fashion’s complex engagement with the great art and artifacts of Catholic faith and practice

Since antiquity, religious beliefs and practices have inspired many of the masterworks of art. These works of art have, in turn, fueled the imagination of fashion designers in the 20th and 21st centuries, yielding some of the most innovative creations in costume history. Connecting significant religious art and artifacts to their sartorial expressions, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination provides a critical analysis of fashion’s engagement with notions of the divine. Exploring fashion’s complex and often controversial relationship with Catholicism, Heavenly Bodies probes what dress reveals about the state of religion and spirituality within contemporary culture, and how it may manifest—or subvert—Catholic values and ideology. Art objects, such as devotional paintings and altarpieces from The Met’s collection, are presented alongside fashions from designers including Cristóbal Balenciaga, Callot Soeurs, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, John Galliano, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Madame Grès, Christian Lacroix, Karl Lagerfeld, Jeanne Lanvin, Claire McCardell, Alexander McQueen, Thierry Mugler, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Gianni Versace. The volume also presents a selection of ecclesiastical vestments and accessories from the Vatican collection, many of which have not been published before. 
 

About Andrew Bolton

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Published May 29, 2018 by Metropolitan Museum of Art. 336 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality, Arts & Photography.
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Below average
Reviewed by Genevieve Valentine on Jun 02 2018

At heart, that means that despite clothes built on centuries of subtext about religious and state power, sexual and social weight, and enduring iconography quite literally vested in these artifacts, context is often absent. The result is beautiful, with some heavy silences.

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