Heavenly Bodies: where fashion meets art meets pet couture.
By Jennifer Grant
The first Monday in May is set aside for the most prestigious celebrity art fundraiser of the year, an evening where art nods to fashion in the most extravagant and lascivious way. It’s the Met Gala and this year’s theme, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and The Catholic Imagination, is inspired fodder for the existential angst of fashion designers.
Met Gala host, Rihanna, in a John Galliano design. Image: John Shearer/Getty Images
This year’s installment was hosted by three powerhouses in their respective fields: Rihanna, Amal Clooney, and Donatella Versace. The gala raises money for The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s (New York) Costume Institute, which houses 35,000 cultural fashions representing the 15th century to present. The 2017 Met Gala raised $12 million.
Host, Amal Clooney, in Richard Quinn. Image: Getty Images.
The Heavenly Bodies exhibit features 40 Vatican vestments and accessories representing 15 different papacies. Curator, Andrew Bolten, says that some of these pieces have never been outside Vatican City.
When questioned about the potential controversy of the show, Bolton said, “Some might consider fashion to be an unfitting or unseemly medium by which to engage with ideas about the sacred or the Divine, but dress is central to any discussion about religion.”
Donatella Versace in Versace. Image: Getty Images
No one knows this line of controversy better than pet couture designer, Anthony Rubio. He has taken the artistic leap of applying papal fashion to the canine world. Growing up a devout Catholic has affected every corner of Rubio’s being, so it is an incredible opportunity to express this influence using art pieces that dogs can wear. There are some who would consider this a sacrilege, but Rubio does not.
The New York-based pet fashion designer told US Weekly, “I was raised a devout Catholic and was so excited when the Heavenly Bodies theme was announced because religion does play such a huge role in influencing history and fashion.”
Rubio says that the ” subject matter offered a plethora of inspirations as done by some of the greatest fashion designers of our times. I spared no expense on materials I chose, including crystal encrusted chain mail. I toiled and strategized for each design to produce my masterpieces. I worked to recreate some features and reinvented others which were executed meticulously.”
Hailing from Puerto-Rican ancestry, Anthony Rubio, grew up completely immersed in Latin culture, shaped by its passionate love for the sensual and for the colorful. The juxtapose between the rapturous Latino heart and quiet Catholic devotion is well played in these gorgeous pieces.
More of Rubio’s dog couture can be found in the coffee table book, Canine Couture which features shelter pets in high fashion; to be released in July 2018. Proceeds from the sales will be donated to various rescue organizations in which Rubio is involved in, or supports. Rubio is passionate about helping rescues and created a campaign, that went viral, to encourage shelter pet adoption. It’s a play on the song title “Call Me, Maybe” entitled, “Adopt Me Maybe?” . Rubio’s own adorable rescues, Bogie and Kimba, are the poster pups for the endeavor.
Rubio’s breathtaking papal-inspired designs are also modeled by Bogie and Kimba. The chihuahua pair were adopted by the designer when they were just wee pups. Rubio was able to train the dogs to wear clothes and model these without causing distress. He laughs that both of these little fluffers stick their fore legs out as soon as they see the clothes come out. Adorable professionalism!
Anthony Rubio, who was once called “The Dior of Dog Fashion” by Good Morning America, only creates pet couture. His designs are considered as art and probably not appropriate for the dog park. You’ll want to save these luxurious outfits for a special occasion….perhaps the Pet Gala? Someone needs to get on that concept!