Fashion has long derived inspiration from religious iconography, from replicating images of the Virgin Mary to drawing architectural prints from majestic Italian cathedrals.
We’ve seen this trend date as far back as Christian Lacroix’s impressive final haute couture look in 1989, where Marie Seznec Martinez sashayed down the runway in a dramatised wedding gown while sporting a large golden cross necklace. In 2006, Lacroix added a more contemporary twist to his wedding ensemble with vibrant colours and exaggerated silhouettes, without compromising the traditional integrity of the classic ecclesiastical dress.
Faith also continues to largely influence fashion today. Apart from 2018’s Met Gala, where we saw our favourite stars dress in extravagantly hyperbolic Catholic-inspired looks, younger fashion designers have equally taken inspiration from the Renaissance era and also from the rich visual history of Catholic churches.
New York brand Vaquera looked to the theocratic-based television series The Handmaid’s Tale as its overarching theme for its June 2017 collection. Based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel, the four-man team designed dystopic looks in the same symbolic red robe and white coif but with a modern and edgy flair.
Theological-inspired fashion may have taken the fashion runway by storm but still remains controversial due to its sensitive nature. With designers like Dilara Findikoglu, who displayed a satanic-themed collection in London Fashion Week 2017, the boundaries for fashioning faith have been relentlessly pushed and challenged. The 27-year-old Turkish designer sent out models dressed to resemble devils and vampires, down a runway in St Andrew’s Holborn church. The collection drew the ire of members of the church and other devouts, who claimed that Findikoglu’s work was sacrilegious, blasphemous and an outrage to the holy setting.
If you’re looking for ways to blend fashion and faith, here are 11 pieces to purchase to add a divine touch to your ensemble.
(Main and featured illustrations by Nadine Christmas)