The Church vs. Haute Couture

Historically, fashion and religion have had an uneasy relationship; there have been some nasty clashes of religious and secular values with respect to fashion and the use of religious iconography recently.

As haute couture designers know, religion arouses passion, causes controversy, it controls and transforms lives and this is exactly what these fashionistas try to achieve. 

Some years ago, Versace was forced to retire a t-shirt in Italy that bared the sentence "the devil made me do it."

Dolce and Gabbana have been using Catholic references for years. In fact, there was one collection that was inspired partially by priests and another that had the Madonna emblazoned onto clothes; there was the use of rosary beads as necklaces as well.

As would be expected, all these religious references in their collections, have put D&G on a direct collision course with the powerful Catholic Church in Italy on many occasions. That has not stopped the duo from putting out more controversial ads that are bound to upset the church. 

And speaking of upsetting the Pope, John Galliano used Jesus Christ as a direct inspiration for his Spring/Summer ‘01 collection; that inspiration brought Galliano widespread criticism from religious groups. 

For his part, Hussein Chalayan has had burka-style head pieces in his catwalks that have caused some stir.

The list goes on and on and on but my time and space limited.