Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fashion Week at the Abbey: The Clerical Sartorialist

This prelate, very probably a bishop since he is wearing violet silk stockings, wears the badge of his office (the double cross of the Holy Ghost surmounted by the Dove in a sunburst). Note, again, the enormous size of the hat: a Roman hat’s brim is much narrower, and would have looked small by comparison.

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19th Century Clerical Dress in Rome.


The Cardinal is wearing the red tabarro edged with gold braid and red silk stockings, and wears his coat unbuttoned, as usual in the 18th century. Note the elegant, worldly nonchalance of the Cardinal’s pose, and the coiffure à la Brutus, that had been fashionable in his youth.
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Legs.
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Obviously it was a boom-time for the Church, as hemlines went up...  Just kidding - really, I am.  I like the shorter look - They would have worn garters too.  I know!  Today they wear trousers beneath the soutane, that wouldn't look so great beneath these styles, or would it?  Maybe black spandex?  I digress - of course these fashions did change upon coming to Protestant and Puritanical America - after the Council of Baltimore or something like that - when back "in olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking, but now, God knows, anything goes."
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Seriously, and with all due respect, the clerical wear seen here accorded with the fashion of the times, as the author of the post explains, "The cassock, sash, and biretta as well as the abito corto were respectively the common ceremonial dress of magistrates, priests and doctors of law, medicine, etc., and gentleman’s court dress. The abito corto adhered to the rules of the Council of Trent, which prescribed priest’s dress to be modest, austere, identifiable as priestly, yet dignified. These two forms of dress expressed the honourable public position held by the clergy in society." 
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Today the soutane, cassock is strictly ecclesial wear in the West. 
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H/T to New Liturgical Movement for the great post on the history of clerical dress.
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For real fashion news:  New York S/S 2011 Fashion Week Coverage

2 comments:

  1. Speaking of fashion..

    The Situation wore TWO (count 'em) TWO mission-type Rosaries--one white and one blue-- to the MTV VMA awards this evening..

    Let the snarking begin...

    Sara

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love your fashion posts!!

    ReplyDelete


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