On show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute is “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” which runs until October 2018. Along with more than 150 designer ensembles, the masterworks, encompassing more than 15 papacies from the 18th to the early 21st century, include a pair of red leather loafers designed by Vatican-favorite cobbler Adriano Stefanelli . The shoes belong to a papal tradition that dates back centuries and the color signifies the blood of Christ’s passion as well as the blood of Catholic martyrs.
The exhibit explores the works of designers inspired by the Roman Catholic faith as well as around 40 ecclesiastical garments and accessories from the Sistine Chapel sacristy. The centerpiece is the group of papal robes and accessories that traveled from the Vatican and the collection also highlights the lasting influence of liturgical vestments on designers such as Dior’s John Galliano and Donatella Versace. This marks the largest show the institute has assembled at the museum.