My Experience with the Heavenly Bodies at The MET Cloisters

With no doubt, The MET Cloisters Exhibit 'Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, that I got a chance to visit on Sept.2, will feed the starving imagination of those, who is inspired by the charm of the middle ages & religion, and who loves the 'epatage' of John Galliano  and elegance and grace of Valentino.


The very first gown, that welcomes you to the exhibition, is the super sparkling couture dress made by Viktor & Rolf.

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All the statues and icons are covered with the dark grey shadows, accompanied by the Ave Maria... And here you start your journey to the hidden secrets of religion. 

Right away you see the pure white wedding dress of a bride that is standing in front of the altar and gives her prays to the God.

Then your attention is captured by the half-broken wooden statue of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ in her hands, that represents her step into the motherhood. 

The very deep feeling of appreciation touches my heart during the whole visit and after it.

The tombstone of the monk followed by the tombstone of the grotesque dress right after it makes the visitors compare and put the buried dress on the same level as the buried holy person. It makes an impression that both of them have a life after death and we should pray for them. 


It seems a little bit ironic actually, that the garment can be idolized to that point, but there is something in that for sure, since all of us, especially nowadays have different values. The installation itself was very strong. 

The special respect was given to the color performance during the whole exhibition. They were deep but solid, and together with the silhouettes, they were representative enough of the period of  1300s. The monastic feminine dresses and flat but multi-constructed men's gowns were done mainly in the black, brown and cream tones. They served as s nice introduction to the colorful and religious explosion that followed them. 

Digital printed icons on the John Galliano's dress, framed with the black binding, depicted the idea of the real icon, skillfully framed by the dark wood. It seems like there is also some sort of irony in that: that you can actually carry holiness on yourself. Yes, you can still pray for it, but at the same time simply wear and maybe you can get a chance to feel the pure spirit better. 

The print of the baby boy on the left, right on the same place where the Virgin Mary carries Jesus on the icons, ironically can make a joke that a woman that wears that dress, could be like a superwoman, someone beyond standard limits of the human being existence. Is that good or bad, I wouldn't judge, but I do believe, that the phenomenon of religion can be and should be discussed from the very different perspective. Especially now, since we live in the so-called free society.

There were also 3 dresses right in the heart of the collection, that were not allowed to take pictures of. And here is the irony again: all those rules and restrictions. I deeply remember visits to the church in my childhood, when during the mess, there was always something that kept a secret in it, that you were not allowed to see it clearly. It made me feel of some sort of excellency, that exists in our society. When not everyone is allowed to do the same thing, and only certain amount of people, that are either rich enough or are members or certain society or club or what so ever, are able to get that unique access to something. 

Those dresses were from the John Galliano's collection, by the way. 

Past can come to the present. And it can fulfill it with the new value. In other words, by rethinking the past from the present moment and by making certain projections to the future, we are able to analyze the values, that make a progress of the society. 

Those kind of gowns, together with the place where they were represented and skillfully done decorations, were very strong. That kind of a religious journey is able to evoke the feeling of the sacrifice of the best that you have as an attempt to purify the soul. 

Wherever you go, God follows you. 

'Stop complaining, the life is too short!'  That's what an old man told his lady, that was sitting right next to me. Lots of us had variety of thoughts and feelings that day during the exhibit...