Heavenly Bodies || The Cloisters

Well, I don’t know about the bodies but some of the gowns were heavenly, indeed! The exhibition was two-part, the main segment being at The Met on Fifth Avenue, and an annex displayed at the medieval monastic environment of The Cloisters, where the gowns seemed to have found their natural habitat, as if they had always belonged there. If I had to describe the display, setting & ambience in one word, that would have been ”sublime”.

Viktor & Rolf, ensemble, 2018 original design: A/W 1999-2000


Valentino, evening ensemble, A/W 2015-16


Philip Treacy, ”Madonna Rides Again II” hats, 1998 – 2001


House of Chanel, wedding dress, A/W 1990-91 by Karl Lagerfeld


The Unicorn in Captivity
Wool, silk and silver and gilded-silver wrapped thread
South Netherlandish, ca. 1495-1505


Altarpiece with the Virgin and Child and Saints
Master fo the Burg Weiler Altarpiece
German, Swabia, ca. 1470

Reliquary busts of female saints
South Netherlandish, Brabant, possibly Brussels, ca. 1520-20


Valentino, red silk velvet dress, S/S 2015


Thom Browne, wedding ensemble, S/S 2018


Olivier Theyskens, evening dress, S/S 1999


House of Dior ”Hyménée” wedding dress by Marc Bohan, 2018; original design: S/S 1961


House of Balenciaga, wedding dress, spring 1967

Fashion history has designated this garment by Cristobal Balenciaga the ”one-seam wedding dress.” If the dress were indeed made from a single length of fabric, it would claim a biblical source: Jesus’ seamless robe at the Crucifixion. The dress, however, is made of two pieces of fabric stitched together and it has three shaping seams – two at the shoulder and one down the centre of the back.


Grisaille Panels
French, probably Normandy, ca. 1270-80


Jean Paul Gaultier
”Regina Maris” evening ensemble, S/S 2007


House of Dior
Ensemble, S/S 2006 by John Galliano


Book of Hours
Simon Bening (1483/84 – 1561)
Tempera, gold and ink on parchment
South Netherlandish, Bruges, ca. 1530 – 1535

This tiny Book of Hours is one of Simon Bening’s prayerful jewels, intended for use at regular intervals throught the twenty-four-hour day (ideally every three hours). It was a reminder of the omnipresence of God, meant to be attached to its owner, or stored with precious possessions.


Jean-Charles de Castelbajac
Chasuble for Saint John Paul II (reigned 1978-2005), 1997

This chasuble was created for Saint John Paul II to wear on World Youth Day in 1997.


The Cloisters, Fort Tryon Park

July 14th, 2018

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