For Drama Magazine‘s AW14 issue, acclaimed artist-photographer Ram Shergill and fashion director Margherita Gardella created Iconostasis, a series that put the Blessed Virgin in a chic new light. House of Gharats was specially commissioned to create textiles and headdresses for the spread, which also featured pieces by labels like Dolce & Gabbana, Sorapol, and Belmacz.
As both an ethereal embodiment and an artistic idol, the Virgin Mary is not your average muse. Throughout the icon’s ever-growing evolution, she has undergone several alterations: in the earliest depictions, she is a solemn and restrained figure, often seated before a plane of gold and surrounded by doting saints and angels. During the Renaissance, novel artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael sought to humanise the matriarch through a softer colour palette, realistic features, and secular settings. And now, artist Ram Shergill and Margherita Gardella have teamed up to modify Mary for Iconostasis, a series in which the holy mother of God undergoes a new metamorphosis: from pious Madonna to vogue prima donna.
While clad in modern robes and overflowing with drama, the shots still convey elements of conventional representations:
A focal point of the photo shoot, the garments featured in Iconostatis are clearly contemporary. Thus, in order to allude to past portraiture, Margherita Gardella has highlighted pieces that, historically, are characteristic of the Virgin Mary. Featuring reimagined crowns, floor-length frocks, and reinterpretations of her signature veil, the wardrobe offers a modern twist on Mary’s antiquated style.
Striking a Pose
Whether seated on a throne, extending her arms toward the heavens, or shown deep in reflective prayer, Mary is traditionally portrayed in poses highly representative of her saintly status. To evoke this divine designation and artistic custom, the models in Iconostatis are photographed in similar postures – emphasising the artistic nature of Shergill’s fashion-forward focus and contextualising Gardella’s stylistic choices.
A slightly more understated allusion to iconography of the past, the symbolism featured in the series reflects an even deeper understanding of the subject matter. In Iconostatis, a model is shown clutching rosary beads – a tangible tool for prayer and age-old symbol of Mary’s veneration. Flowers, another typical attribute of the Madonna, feature heavily in the photo series, decorating both crowns and cloaks. Finally, adorning a Dolce & Gabbana dress are keys – a papal symbol of heaven’s gates often found in Christian art.
Whether a reimagined, contemporary creation or an untouched icon from centuries past, the Virgin Mary remains a highly reproduced and revered religious icon – and, with her new Drama Magazine look, a style icon, too.
Take a peek behind the scenes:
All images © 2014 Drama Magazine