By now it should come as no surprise that I have a profuse love of fashion and keep a keen eye on the yearly shows to see what’s hot and upcoming. Although Paris Couture Week has just ended, it's the 2013 Fall/Winter ready-to-wear collections — just hitting stores now — that caught my attention. A distinctly ecclesiastical undertone seemed evident in the season's hit ensembles, as well as dashes of Baz Luhrmann's '90s classic, Romeo + Juliet.
The Dolce & Gabbana show was a vibrant homage to southern Italy’s byzantine Catholicism. Gilded red-lace dresses, intricate golden brocade fabrics — embellished and embroidered to the heavens to resemble church mosaics — chunky bejeweled crosses for earrings, and even chunkier engraved platform heels. Kitsch? Yes. Divine? Most certainly. Even pop starlet Katy Perry couldn’t resist the Midas touch and was spotted wearing one of the looks at the Met Gala earlier this summer, a 21st century Joan of Arc.
In a world of ever-rising hemlines and plunging décolletés, Alexander McQueen head designer Sarah Burton proposed an altogether more venerable ensemble for women. A rich mix of Elizabethan and Vatican renaissance references involving lavish fabrics woven with intricate pearls and elaborate headpieces created a look of pious restraint and unparalleled opulence.
The holy hoopla brings to mind a memorable scene from Federico Fellini’s Roma, featuring a satirical fashion show presenting the latest ecclesiastical trends to members of the Catholic Church.
So, amen to that and happy shopping.