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Museum exhibit explores fashion inspired by, reflecting Catholic imagery

Gianni Versace evening dress, 1997–98. | Metropolitan Museum of Art

When thinking about Italian fashion, perhaps Milan comes to mind. But the Vatican, seat of the Catholic church?

A new museum exhibit serves as a sort of bridge between fashion and the church.

On display into October at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is “Heavenly Bodies,” an unusual exhibit featuring modern fashion inspired by — and reflecting — Catholic imagery.

There’s a Gianni Versace evening dress with a long, ornate cross on the front and a House of Dior gown resembling papal formal wear.

The exhibit also features rare items on loan from the Vatican, from papal robes and tiaras to a pair of shoes once belonging to Pope John Paul II.

While the opulence of the church is a turnoff to some, organizers hope that visitors draw inspiration from the beauty of the items displayed.

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