Wednesday 21 August 2019

Well Met: Gala ball theme just heavenly

Not just a habit: The Daughters of Charity Saint Vincent de Paul. The Met has announced its theme for Gala 2018 - Fashion and the Catholic Imagination
Not just a habit: The Daughters of Charity Saint Vincent de Paul. The Met has announced its theme for Gala 2018 - Fashion and the Catholic Imagination
Peanut butter fondue
Justice league: Desmond Murphy, John and Edward Grimes
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

Earlier this year I wrote a comprehensive analysis of Pope Francis's style evolution and this week, as if by some sort of divine intervention (or PR stunt) the Met in New York announced the theme of the 2018 Gala is Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.

Everything about this is perfect.

It's perfect that Rihanna is hosting it (FYI: she also appears in Ocean's 8, which involves a heist at the Met Gala).

It's perfect that the Sistine Chapel sacristy is loaning out 50 pieces, and that Donatella Versace is sponsoring the event.

And it's perfect that wimples are finally getting the sartorial respect and attention they deserve.

For too long has the headwear been banished to the corner of sex shops so men can fantasise about a Poor Clare chucking it all in for a romantic cinch in a cloister. Not going to happen my friend.

To help stir up anticipation and appreciation about the Met Gala I have put together a list of the most fashionable Catholic icons - and let me tell you, there are an embarrassment of riches to choose from.

* Pope John Paul II. Loved a decent cape and wore a bespoke Jean-Charles de Castelbajac multicoloured robe in 1977 when attending World Youth Day. Fancy.

* Sister Mary Clarence/Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act. Hoop earrings and religious cowl were a surprising yet solid style combination.

* Pope Benedict XVI - Probably my favourite papal dresser of all time. His love of lipstick red loafers and Saturno hats resulted in Esquire naming him "Accessoriser of the Year" in 2007. When reports circulated that his slip-on shoes were Prada, defendants told the press that the Pope "wouldn't know Gucci from Smoochi" and that he "does not wear Prada, but Christ".

* Pope Francis - fan of steel-framed granddad glasses before Conor McGregor made them a thing. Also gifted at mastering understated chic.

* Redwater's "hipster priest" Father Dermott Dolan aka the orange-juice-hating-murderer with a Paul Weller haircut and several pairs of Adidas Gazelles. Actor Oisín Stack who played Brit-Pop Priest Dolan said he based the look on French seminarians studying near the Sarbonne.

* The Daughters of Charity Saint Vincent de Paul - the headwear is just fantastic and a testament to the power of industrial strength starch.

* Maria von Trapp (inset) - the tomboyish postulant in The Sound of Music - brilliant pixie cut and a dab hand at running old curtains into petticoats and lederhosen.

* Sister Clodagh in Black Narcissus. Okay so she's Anglican BUT her robes are pristine and a lesson in minimalism. No wonder designer Peter O'Brien said his most enduring style inspiration is: "The Reverend Mother. I like nun's clothes - anything devoid of glamour and I am happy."

* Father Dougal. The man knew the value of a jaunty sweater vest.

I know many will find all this obsessing over religious garments to be sacrosanct but chief curator of the Gala, Andrew Bolton believes it will "show how 'material Christianity' has helped form 'the Catholic imagination'."

Plus it's good fun.

Jedward court controversy and Eurovision bid

Justice league: Desmond Murphy, John and Edward Grimes

Most celebrity court cases are usually engulfed in feelings of shame and embarrassment.

Not so the Grimes brothers - whose performance in the Four Courts last week was a joy to behold.

They came, they paraded around court, and they settled a lawsuit with a Limerick business man who found himself stuck with Jedward merchandising worth €625,000 (boardgames, Jedward wristbands, jigsaws).

The Sharknado stars really utilised their time in court; not only did they gift the country with this iconic picture of their barrister Desmond Murphy SC but they also became iconoclasts and recorded the first-ever music video in the corridors of power.

In the video, they mime along to Britney's 'Piece of Me', and her 2000 hit 'Stronger'.

A Jedward is then seen running up a flight of stairs to 'Gonna Fly Now', and in the final scene, John pretends to pull pints while dancing to Ed Sheeran's 'Galway Girl'.

Interesting aside: Jedward's legal team were thinking of calling Ed Sheeran as a witness after he described the Jedwards as being akin to "two puppies".

The video is exceptionally entertaining and really brought home to me why we need Jedward to represent us once again at the Eurovision song contest. Perhaps they could even incorporate their barrister Desmond Murphy into their performance. Desmond could deliver a speaking part intro similar to the one Britney Spears did in 2000 hit 'Lucky' ("This is the story of two Jedwards").

I was mulling over this last weekend when I received an email from Fianna Fáil councillor Trevor Gilligan who has entered RTÉ's Eurovision bid with his song 'Keep You Warm', and was looking for publicity.

His song is a nice song. But nice songs butter no parsnips at Eurovision. And we've had too many likeable but inoffensive songs in recent years. We need exhibitionists like Jedward - and their barrister - to win this for us.


Twin-headed wolf

Spooky folk act performing at Hendrick's Illustrious Manor of Eminence in Tailors' Hall, Dublin.

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Peanut Butter Fondue

Peanut butter fondue

Sounds utterly vile.

280 characters

Turns out less really is more.


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Micheál Martin on the notable absence of Minister for Transport Shane Ross in the Dáil chamber this week.

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