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Rome Reports

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The Vatican to lend liturgical pieces to MET fashion gala in New York

The most important fashion gala in the world, the Met, will have an interesting theme this year – “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” The Vatican is participating by lending the New York museum more than 40 liturgical pieces belonging to 15 popes. 

Two of the most important fashion personalities attended the presentation: the director of Vogue Magazine, Anna Wintour; and Donatella Versace, director of the Italian brand.

Anna Wintour is the most influential voice for fashion lovers. She's responsible for choosing the theme that inspires the attire of the thousands of celebrities who attend the gala each year. 

Director, Vogue

“Each one has its own character and its point of view, but I think the exhibition is on such an extraordinary scale and really runs throughout the museum. I think this exhibition Heavenly Bodies is going to attract visitors from all over the world.”

Thanks to the Versace brand, among others, this gathering of fashion and religion has been made possible. Now, thousands of people will be able to learn about the history and evolution of sacred dress. 

“As Cardinal Ravassi mentioned earlier, religion also plays a part in fashion, it always has. In these works displayed, we see incredible things that designers of today couldn't do, they're all made of gold. External decor has always been important in religion as well as in the fashion world naturally.”

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravassi explains that fashion can be very superficial, but without it, cultural changes and expressions from different periods – both inside and outside of the Church – couldn't be comprehended.

President, Pontifical Council for Culture

“On the other hand, it mustn't be forgotten that people not only speak with their hands, mouths and facial expressions, but also through their bodies and what they use to cover them. It's a way, in some forms of almost protecting themselves, in others of expressing how they feel or also of showing the lifestyle of a society.”

Among the liturgical pieces the Vatican will lend are this mitre of Pope Pius XI, this one from Pope Leo XIII, the golden crown with gems from Pius IX or this rain cloak that belonged to Benedict XV. 

The Met Gala will be celebrated on May 7 in New York. Following the event, these antique pieces of sacred art will be displayed in the Costume Institute until October 8, alongside religion-inspired pieces by brands like Chanel, Versace, Dolce&Gabbana, Christian Lacroix or Valentino.