Saturday, 31 January 2009

Clergy on the catwalk

A spot of fiction-becoming-reality: from yesterday's Exeter Express & Echo, Exeter clergy take a twirl on the catwalk (E&E, January 30, 2009) tells how

Clad in colourful clerical garb, members of the clergy turned into supermodels yesterday to show off the latest in ecclesiastical clothing.

at the three-day South West Christian Resources Exhibition (CRE), held at Exeter's Westpoint Arena. None of the news reporters appear to have spotted the similarity to the surreal Roman Catholic fashion show in Fellini's 1972 film Roma (YouTube link, top) which I strongly suspect must have inspired it (though I doubt the Exeter version had Fellini's atmosphere of Father Ted -ish whimsicality progressively grading into the deeply sinister).

Looking behind the scenes - see Faith 'n' Fashion and BBC Devon's Vicars needed to show off clerical chic - this is a very smart piece of marketing designed to promote awareness of the CRE. It's rather a niche exhibition, often called "The Ideal Church Show", but this distinctly off-the-wall event has been highly successful in getting it news coverage. The brains behind it is Stephen Goddard, a journalist and PR consultant who is co-editor of Ship of Fools, a Christian website with a critical and creative approach to faith.
- Ray

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