Holy haute couture
Posted on 10 May 2012, 17:43
In the most surreal moment of my year so far, I took a trip down a catwalk yesterday at the Christian Resources Exhibition, which is a sort of Ideal Church Show.
The exhibition features everything a church could need, from bells and steeples to gospel puppets and motorcycle hearses, and whenever I’ve been there in past years, it’s been a happy hunting ground for holy hardware in every shape and form, with the Floating Cross Boxers somehow sticking in the mind. I snapped a few trinkets yesterday.
We ran a stall for Ship of Fools at the exhibition a few years back and served visitors to the stand rum and pineapple cocktails from a Baptist communion glass tray. Happy days.
But yesterday, the exhibition staged a fashion show called Clergy on the Catwalk, where a collection of haute couture vestments was taken for a swish along the runway before an admiring audience. Which is how I got to dress up in a crisp white cassock alb and put myself about a bit in three ecclesiastical creations.
The first piece was a stole featuring the 12 apostles in richly dark embroidery from Jackie Binns. The last piece was a very comfortable cope (which I guess is a sort of bishop’s overcoat) in glowing red and gold by Juliet Hemingray... and for that I got to fling a thurible about while the front rows scattered for cover.
The second piece was the crowning glory, however, and was a chasuble hand embroidered with minutely detailed images from oil paintings, by Vanpoulles. I’ve never been greeted with lots of people saying ‘oooh’ and ‘wow’ as I walk into a room, so that was a nice change. That’s me in it in the picture above, just after I was cleared by air traffic control for takeoff.
I noticed last year at the Royal Wedding that some of the most glittering frocks in the house belonged to the Dean and Bishops greeting the Queen at the door, and I’ve often wondered how these fabulous creatures feel as they float around. So thanks to the three design houses for letting me find out for just a few minutes yesterday.
Photo: Laurence Cremetti