BY JAMES TWOMEY
A cathedral has been criticised for being used as a fashion show catwalk as models wearing revealing outfits walked through the centre of the building.
British designer, Julien MacDonald, had his works on show at Southwark Cathedral in London Bridge on Monday night as part of London Fashion Week.
It was described by the 48-year-old British designer as a “celebration of women,” but a leading Anglican clergyman described the fashion industry as “hiding the state of the soul in an excess of glamour” and “the antithesis of the Christian gospel”.
Dr Gavin Ashenden, who was ordained at Southwark Cathedral, told The Daily Telegraph: “Southwark Cathedral has made its premises available for fashion in the past and one of the things they try and do is build a bridge between secular society and the Christian church and that’s no bad thing.
“The problem comes when the ethical content of what they are trying to host is in direct contradiction to Christian values.
“The cathedral should ask itself to see if the complaints about the fashion industry – as promoting a narcissistic, self-referential display for the very rich – is indeed conducive with the values of the Christian gospel.
“I think the fashion industry is the antithesis of the Christian gospel. It’s about the exposure of the poverty of our souls and that’s about hiding the state of the soul in an excess of glamour.”
A spokesman for Southwark Cathedral said: “Southwark Cathedral has over many years been used for a variety of events, including the fashion industry.
“We were pleased to be invited to work with Julien MacDonald as part of London Fashion Week.
“His show brought many people into the cathedral who might not otherwise have come, and many recognised it as a beautiful and special place.
“The show was delivered in a professional, respectful and energetic way.
“Fashion and its impact on the environment, how we use clothes as part of daily life and what clothing is appropriate are important issues for Christians and others to engage with as aspects of modern living.
“Southwark Cathedral and rooms associated with the cathedral have been available for hire since 2000 when the Millennium buildings were built.
“The money generated by the hiring of the building is used towards its upkeep, the costs of worship and music and enables the cathedral to be open to the public free of charge.”
The South London Press attempted to contact Julien MacDonald but did not receive a response at the time of going to press.
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