Mens Fashion Looks To The Vatican For Inspiration

“Few other places in the world are as influential as the Vatican.” Indeed. But few expected that comment to come from a Versace representative introducing the new 2007-08 men’s line. Milan’s recent Men’s Fashion Week was full of surprises. While Dolce & Gabbana rolled out a collection of metallic spacesuits, the Versace team presented the new look it calls “clergyman.”

More Brain, Less Muscle

Donatella Versace’s muse for the 2007-08 men’s collection was none other than Father Georg Ganswein, the Pope’s secretary. The fashion stylist defended her choice: “I find Father Georg’s austerity very elegant.” Grey-black trousers and jackets with clerical collars create a “severe and ethical” look.

Father Georg, who has been known to jazz up his clerical garb with a splash of magenta, has become the toast of the international fashion world. Fashion stylists and fashion school students were stunned by Versace’s new vision of the “ethical and spiritual man” who “looks for his inside quality … the muscles of the soul.”

Well, Maybe Some Muscle

Of course, it’s Father Georg’s outside quality that has captivated the international fashion world. The ex-ski instructor priest first landed on the style radar when pictures surfaced of him playing tennis. “He is simply beautiful” gushed a journalist, who called the pope’s spokesman “the best news to come out of the Vatican.”

Will Fashion Stylist Schools Go Monastic?

But will “priestly chic” stick? Versace is betting that the international fashion community is ready for a spiritual phase. “Fashion needs more rigor,” she exclaimed. For fashion school students, that means a new emphasis on the fundamentals of the craft: unerring tailoring and subtle, substantial fabrics.

Whether or not Versace’s ‘ethical’ look catches on, a rising emphasis on men’s fashion is evident on the catwalk and in fashion stylist schools. D&G, creators of the space-age line, “predict men’s fashion is where the biggest innovations will be.” But will the industry go astronaut or priest? Stay tuned.


Fay Martinez, PhD, is Carmona Nutrition’s director of curriculum. She leads the development of the organization’s educational programs and courses.

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