Front pew: why churches can make perfect catwalk venues

The use of places of worship was an emerging trend from the spring/summer 2018 shows – but one that met with some criticism. Here, an Anglican priest highlights the positives of hosting fashion shows in churches

Churches are for everyone, not just Christians. The first promise that would-be priests make to the Church of England is “to serve the community in which they are set, bringing to the church the needs and hopes of all the people”. No wiggle room there.

And, as unlikely as it seems, that rubric has extended to the world of fashion, with places of worship commonly becoming venues for shows. In most instances, it is hard to see how anyone could be offended by what is on display. Reports on Gucci’s eccentric and colourful pre-spring/summer cruise collection at Westminster Cathedral and Alexa Chung’s quiet, minimal show at the Danish Church of St Katharine in Regent’s Park last summer saw them as suitable venues. Most recently, French label Jacquemus used the Church of Saint-Merri, which openly supports gay marriage, a choice that makes perfect sense. Places of worship are no longer novel venues, but rather good fits for the creative narratives of some fashion shows.

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