The Gothic Revival of Crosses in Fashion

«By dealing fully with the world, Christianity has renounced the management of the sacred» writes Umberto Galimberti in his book Christianity, the religion of the empty sky. In fact, whether we define ourselves as believers, agnostics or atheists, it is undeniable that the Christian religion and Catholicism in particular have profoundly marked Western society, up to the economic system that defines it, often leaving the sown of transcendence. And this is how a symbology that one would expect to be relegated to the altars of churches or the rosaries of devout women invades our way of living, thinking, acting, and diluted in its ideological essence it lands on polyester garments produced in third world factories, on rock band t-shirts worn by emo girls in the midst of an adolescent crisis, on plastic plates as decorations in the shape of flaming votive offerings. There cross in particular, the emblem of Christ and his sacrifice, has been able to survive the passing of time and change, from the first rudimentary sign engraved by the prehistoric populations to the beacon of a goth revolution, which, from Blumarine to Dolce&Gabbanahas marked an all-Italian revival of Christian symbology on the catwalks of recent seasons.

AND the oldest symbol in the world and expresses an imago mundi constitutive of one of the acts that define the very nature of man, that of orienting oneself in a spatial, temporal, transcendent sense. A cross in a circle was the symbol of Odin in Norse mythology, a cross with a circle placed at the top instead indicated the Egyptian ankh, while the Christian religion has internalized it as an image of the crucifixion of Jesus and the salvation brought by his passion , synonymous with love, prayer, blessing and much more, before the counterculture began to exploit the symbology as a sign of irreverence against it. First, there are those designers who are (or have been) effectively Catholic – Elsa Schiaparelli, John Galliano, Riccardo Tisci, Christian Lacroix, Coco Chanel, Jeanne Lanvin, Norman Norell or Thom Browne – and then there are those who simply I drew inspiration from the mystery of faith, without taking part in it personally. In 1996, Set at Christ Church in Spitalfields, London, the collection entitled Dante Of Alexander McQueen it featured a catwalk in the shape of a cross, an organ as a soundtrack, and models dressed in black lace veils and masks with a crucifix applique.

A separate discussion must be made for Italian designers, profoundly influenced by the proximity, spiritual and geographical, with the Vatican State. The walkways of Gianni Versace featured crosses scattered throughout every collection, from necklaces to appliques on garments, in particular it went down in history from FW97 in which a chainmail dress combined with a white bridal veil featured crosses along the entire silhouette. Similarly the Sicilian designer duo, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, has made an international pride of its native tradition, with patterns that reproduce majolica tiles of Madonnas and a riot of crosses, which in a more sober version persists in the current collections through thin silver pendants (nothing compared to the mammoth earrings of 2013). A revival to which is added Nicola Brognano da Blumarine with an SS23 scattered with gothic crosses, in denim or rhinestones, with the skilful styling of Lotta Volkova, as well as Mowalola, Dilara Findikoglu, Aniye Records, Gucci and the jewelry of Venda Carter.

Then there are brands that have based their entire aesthetics on the graphic identity of the cross, even the logo, from Alexander Levy with Enfants Riches Deprimes to the Stark family for Chrome Hearts. The brand’s $1,750 denim adorned with leather crosses is very famous, becoming ubiquitous among great rappers such as Drake and Offset, and Chrome Hearts were the two crosses flaunted by Kim Kardashian during the latest Dolce & Gabbana fashion show, in the wake of a passion for important accessories that had led the star to buy Lady D’s pendant at auction for 197 thousand dollars.

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