Heavenly Bodies - Anna Wintour's sartorial symbolism revealed.

Anna Wintour just sent a message to the world. Let us unpack it for you:

"Cardinal Wintour"

 "The show is more than just about Catholic iconography but also about how the Catholic see the world through metaphors, everything is like something else. The show fundamentally is about creativity and how the majority of the designers (most of which are Catholic) how each of them approach their creative practice." - Andrew Bolton

Symbols used and what they mean: 

Cardinal Wintour stands in front of  'congregants' as the video begins.



Cardinal wintour

Cardinal, a member of the Sacred College of Cardinals, whose duties include electing the pope, acting as his principal counselors, and aiding in the government of the Roman Catholic Church throughout the world.                                                                                                                            Adaptation:

This somewhat seems like a send off to one of fashion's most idolized people, Anna Wintour. In the same breath it looks like Anna is claiming her place at the head of the sacramental table of fashion; making a declaration to the world that her contribution to the industry has earned her the respect she now owns while demanding more from the naysayers.





















Pope rihanna

Pope: The head of the Roman Catholic Church. The pope is believed by his church to be the successor to the Apostle Peter.




Perhaps Rihanna, who in recent years has been synonymous with the word 'fashionista', is the newly elected leader (Pope) of fashion by Cardinal Wintour who's ready to pass down the baton of leadership in this industry as arguably one of the most valued voices in this industry after she assumed the role of Vogue's new Editor-in-Chief  from Diana Vreeland.

Rihanna may as well be a symbol of anyone who will rise up to the challenge of carrying fashion from wherever it is - to the next level.



Peacock Frances

Peacock: The symbol of the Peacock was used in art very early into the Christian era, it decorated some of the tombs and walls in the actual catacombs. The Peacock represented immortality, this stemmed from the ancient legend that the flesh of the peacock did not decay - hence its association with the Resurrection of Christ.

Adaptation :








Frances in her Valentino dress is a representation of the immortality of fashion. The never ending cycle of how the new life of Fashion lives by the grace of its old life, and it's old life is constantly renewed in the birth of its new life. The pages of Vogue captures this.





PutTi on ArIana's canvas

Putti: Putti (singular being Putto). They are simply chubby, male babies, sometimes winged but not always. Traditionally, they were either a representation of Cupid or just a secular representation (depending on the context of the artwork). During the Baroque period they came to represent God’s omnipresence.





Adaptation: This is to signify the omnipresence of  an industry with an evaluation of 3,000 billion dollars (3 trillion dollars), 2 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).



Eagle: the eagle is a magnificent bird with a large wingspan. It nests in inaccessible rocky crags, in high places, which makes it a symbol of heavenly beings. 


Fashion has this transcendent ability to alter people's moods and alleviate them. There's clothing that completely alters a person's mannerisms, giving them a heightened sense of luxury and prominence. Often capitalists curate their messages that marries self confidence with the consumption of their products; and it works.

The Power to uplift: hasn't Wintour elevated our conversation about fashion? around fashion? and in fashion with her team?


The halo ora

Halo: a halo (from Greek ἅλως, halōs; also known as a nimbus, aureole, glory, or gloriole) is a crown of light rays, circle or disk of light that surrounds a person in art.


 The halo of fashion is the praise of it. With the right silhouettes, a carefully curated outfit that explores sartorial anachronism, contrasting hues, understanding the value of fit, an ensemble can move from a simple outfit to styling artistry that fashion fond people will recognize and glorify you for. 

 Is Anna not glorified? Does she not walk around with a halo? She is a stark contrast to the Devil wears Prada and the irony of this is not lost on us.


Crowned cardi b

Crowns: the Greeks gave a wreath, a crown (stephanos), to the victor in the Pythian games. The Romans gave a crown of triumph made of laurels to a general who obtained victory. 


Perhaps Anna is about to retire and she has, to use the words of a famous scripture: 'fought a good fight and kept the faith'. For many years fashion has been painted as an insignificant industry that is both frivolous and fleeting. This meant that a career in fashion could be reduced to nothing more than hobby - instead of  hard and meaningful work that it is.

She's proved time and again that fashion changes people's lives,restores self-esteem, and that leaks into every possible industry. Ultimately, she has proven that fashion is art and deserves the crown of seeing her race through to the very end.



Lamps to the Altar

Transubstantiation: Catholic theology teaches that through the priest’s words of consecration, the bread and wine are supernaturally and fundamentally changed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ in a process called ''transubstantiation.''

The altar: the Eucharist is celebrated on a special table, known as the altar, on which the bread and wine are placed and blessed. According to Richstatter, the table functions as both an altar of sacrifice and a banquet table for the Eucharist.

The candles: becaus of the honor given to the body and blood Chist , a red votive candle- known as the sanctuary lamp - is traditionally lit beside the tabernacle to show that it contains the consecrated elements. The sanctuary lamp reminds Catholics that Jesus is present in the tabernacle, and churchgoers often pray before the tabernacle and reflect on the mystery of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist.





Transubstatiation has been the battle to merge the world of fashion and art and make fashion - quite literally - art. In a world that disapproves that, Anna has consecrated fashion in her own right in sacramental moments like The September Issue of Vogue and The MET GALA.


The altar has always been and will always be the pages of Vogue  for this fashion Eucharist led by Anna.


The Lamps are both the team at Condé Nast & Vogue as well as the voices of the writers constantly sending narratives to exalt this industry.

Bells sounding was a call to church for those who worshipped in the church. They were also used to signify that was a special occasion like a wedding or funeral.

Adaptation: These bells have sounded to call all people to come to the MET Museum of Art to witness Heavenly Beings in the garments that have been created by artists and designers intrinsically inspired by the Catholic church. Perhaps also they signify Anna's departure from the scene while also inviting people to the celebration of an incredible life of tenacity, leadership, outright feminism and genius. Either way, this was another night at the Museum and I saw what I saw. These are my thoughts, you decide yours!

Bongani TauComment