Ever since childhood, I’ve had tendencies towards the kitsch, with a good healthy scoop of pure bad taste. The best thing about being an altar server was wearing the blingtastic St. Stephen’s medal around my neck, the best thing about visiting my granny in Youghal was the creepy red-light district glow of The Sacred Heart, and the boldest thing I ever did at school was paint the Virgin Mary purple, because ‘Where is the historical evidence that she actually wore baby blue?” Both the obsession with pictures of religious people and historical accuracy now seem particularly momentous, as I sit here typing in my flat with a picture of Jesus facing me, and my history degree gathering dust somewhere in my parents’ house.
So, when I spotted the iconographic references in the new (and last?) D&G campaign I felt my tummy do some somersaults and knew this would be my chance to make ‘religious-chic’ happen. Mantillas would be cool again for the first time since Edie Sedgwick posed with Andy Warhol with her white lace number, all doe-eyed and seductive. I am determined to make the mantilla happen. We will wear them with fizzy, acid-toned neoprene dresses. Fuschia mantillas with lime shifts, and patent winklepickered courts. It will be heavenly, and we’ll all smile like we’re in toothpaste commercials in 1960s America.
Also, we will rehabilitate rosary beads, which saw their reputations sullied by the drug dealers of the early noughties (well, where I lived, anyway). They were dragged down into the mire, where they currently lie with Nike TNs and Evisu jeans. I’m not sure that any actual drug dealers actually used rosary beads as their calling cards, because there was no reduction in trainers thrown over telephone lines, but as urban myths go, it did its job by making the humble rosary bead synonymous with rudeboys with combs stuck in their ‘fros. We’ll wear them layered over black lace goth-frocks and barely-there heels. It’ll be spiky, sexy and irreverent. It’ll make the priest blush.
While we’re at it, we should go the whole hog. Let’s rework nuns’ habits into ungodly short capes, a la Florence Welch in the Drumming Song video (which inspired my sequined-knicker phase) and wear Cos collared bibs over black knits and call each other ‘Rev’, or ‘Jezzie’, if you were born off track. We’ll pin religious cameos to our stiff, starched shirts, and dress like everyday is Sunday.
If it hasn’t become clear by now, I am wholly uninvolved and unseduced by religion (the only time I pray is when miming to Prince’s Controversy), but I reserve the right to exploit the flamboyance that my catholic upbringing afforded me. If you’re into taking the best parts of something bad and reappropriating it for your own selfishly sartorial means (without going the saucy stripper route), drop me a line at @colemakf, where I will be tweeting about how Irish people shouldn’t eat brunch and paying tribute to Edie Sedgwick twice daily.