Here is a short article and picture of the artist Paloma Faith performing in Chelmsford England at the V Festival 2013 in Hylands Park on August 17, 2013: proof for Dolce & Gabbana that luxurious patterns and figure flattering silhouettes are always in style. Further proof that Byzantine art is anything but boring.
I love that the unnamed author of this short article has a passion for Byzantine art.
One of my favourite parts of art history was the chapter on the Byzantines. This empire, which existed alongside the Mediterrenean in days past, was full of artists who believed that gold was close to holiness. They also just loved to mosaic. Their legacy is a freaking enormous amount of churches covered with just plain gorgeous and very gold mosaics.
She is right that gold and mosaic art held a very special place for Byzantine artists and patrons. Ironic, isn’t it, that these materials were celebrated for their durability over time. Yet the very nature of fashion and pop music is its effervescence… from one artist to another, one song to the next. Equally troubling, although more in socio-political terms, is that the Byzantine cultural context in which these mosaics were made was highly imbalanced with patriarchal power structures controlling many aspects of society, but frocks like these convey a romantic vision of a luxurious, wealthy society. And third, entertainers like Faith would not have fared well in the Byzantine public eye. One needs only to read Procopius’s Secret History (esp. chapter 9) and his account of Theodora’s career as a performer to see how low was his view of entertainers.
It would have been nice if the author had done just a bit more homework. It wouldn’t be hard to find that this dress is part of the Ready-to-Wear Fall 2013 line from D&G and that the mosaics chosen as the pattern for the D&G prints are actually from twelfth-century Venice and Monreale, not sixth-century Ravenna. Faith wore a similar, although more modest, Byzantine mosaic-inspired dress to the D&G masked ball in Veinice in July. Too bad she didn’t wear red shoes…