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Religion in VogueChristianity and Fashion in America$
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Lynn S. Neal

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479892709

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479892709.001.0001

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Fashioning Holy Figures

Fashioning Holy Figures

(p.154) 5 Fashioning Holy Figures
Religion in Vogue

Lynn S. Neal

NYU Press

This chapter chronicles how the fashion industry again expanded its use of Christian elements by placing Christian holy figures onto designer garments in the 1990s. Prior to this decade, designers shied away from incorporating representational religious figures in their designs—a trend influenced by iconoclastic controversy in the history of Christianity. The chapter first examines early instances of this trend with the designs of Rei Kawakubo, Kansai Yamamoto, and Gianni Versace. It then analyzes the controversy, lack of comment, and celebration that accompanied subsequent designers’ forays into more figural designs. The chapter places a particular emphasis on Dolce & Gabbana’s “Stromboli” collection, which incorporated numerous images of the Virgin Mary and was the first collection thoroughly dedicated to a Christian theme. It met with widespread celebration from fashion critics and helped establish a Marian focus in fashion design.

Keywords:   fashion, religion, Christianity, Rei Kawakubo, Kansai Yamamoto, Gianni Versace, Dolce and Gabbana, Virgin Mary, iconoclastic controversy

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