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Gucci to stage a fashion show in Westminster Abbey

Thu 04 Feb 2016
By Hannah Tooley

Fashion house Gucci plans to stage a fashion show in the famous Westminster Abbey cloisters. 

In June the Italian brand will show off its new collection in the abbey that has been home to 16 royal weddings including that of Prince William and Kate in 2011.

Gucci's creative director, Alessandro Michele, has called the show "magical", however it has been criticised by some Anglican leaders.

Revd Peter Owen-Jones said: "I think it's part of the Disney-fication of all the traditional sacred spaces in this land."

The author added: "It confuses what the Church is for.

"Is the central icon of Christianity there to offer spiritual sustenance and love or is it just part of the marketplace of capitalism?"

The priest from East Sussex added: "We are in the process of selling our soul for a pair of trousers."

@Gucci Twitter

 

Speaking on Premier Christian Radio's News Hour programme, Revd Joanna Jepson, a chaplain at the London College of Fashion welcomed the proposed fashion event, saying: "This is a positive thing for the Abbey to be able to offer. I think it's breaking down some of those barriers people have perceived about the church and the world of fashion being completely separate.

"The church has been so associated with putting down, and dismissing and being disparaging about the fashion industry. Doing something like this actually says, 'We welcome you. We want to allow that creative impulse, which is a God-given impulse, to actually have some expression.'"

According to The Independent a spokesperson for the abbey confirmed the deal with Gucci but commented that the cloisters had been available for corporate hire previously and not simply for one fashion show.

April Alexander, Church of England General Synod member said: "I think it's a good thing to share those beautiful cloisters with as many people as possible, especially if, I guess, many of those people are not normal church goers."

Will and Kate married in Westminster Cathedral in 2011. 

 

The news comes in light of a survey over the weekend that showed two thirds of those running England's Anglican cathedrals say they are worried about running short on finances within two years.

Five deans stated that they were "very worried" about funding, while another 21 said they felt "worried", according to the BBC.

Three in four (30) said it would soon be "essential" to open cathedrals up as venues, for a selection of commercial and non-religious organisations in order to meet running costs.

Revd Peter Owens concluded that it is important to encourage more people to use churches, but added that the fashion show was a step too far.

He said: "I think when those boundaries are crossed, the very purpose of having a building like that at the centre of our culture is wounded."

You can hear Revd Joanna Jepson and Revd Peter Owen-Jones speaking with Premier's Antony Bushfield by clicking below.


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