I will be selling authentic religious/ priest vestments and other Catholic paraphernalia at the Mingle Market,
February 13th at the Food Co-op.
Above, my Fr. Blackbird performance at the Pony Girls' Sideshow Cabaret in November, modeling a particularly ghetto bling vestment in the 'Gothic style'. The elaborate emblem is on the back of the garment as during this period, the priest would face away from his congregation during the mass. Eventually, this mode of presentation was changed to be more social, and so the Roman style vestment was introduced along with a new style of delivery, where the priest would face towards his audience. This is all recycled information, so unfortunately I can't be more specific. Of course, all the vestments have a long, rich and elaborate history, from class fashion in the sixth century to my gran-aunts voluntarily hand sewing religious garbs in Phibsboro once a week. Haute Couture Vestments.
Since it's a fancy dress market, I get to wear an item I have been aesthetically drawn to, despite its simplicity: the cassock or 'soutane' - a black ankle length gown which, although still worn today by Priests and Deacons (and in various style according to position of power), was popular among the Christian Brothers in 1930s Ireland. A Roman cassock has buttons down the front, sometimes thirty-three to symbolise each year Jesus lived (so the wiki page says).
A striking cassock association I have is with the charismatic "Singing Priest" Fr. Michael Cleary as captured in the brilliant Rocky Road to Dublin (1967 documentary) by Peter Lennon and Raoul Coutard. It was revealed posthumously that Cleary had a child with his long term housekeeper Phyllis Hamilton. Unfortunately, so wiki says, even though Cleary's paternity had been proven by DNA testing, the remaining Cleary family refused to acknowledge his son.
This is an iconic still from the film where the Singing Priest is joking and smoking with two grave diggers.
Unsurprisingly, the cassock has been adopted by 'Goth' enthusiasts and other gloomy kids. After all, the imposing formality and blackness of the rather dramatic garb is associated with sinister Christian Brothers, domineering priests and nasty characters like the evil Brother John played by Iain Glenn in Song for a Raggy Boy (Dir. Aisling Walsh, 2003).
But don't be scared, the Mingle Market will be full of bright lights and good music, friendly marketeers and decorative treats, and a friendly lady in a priest's cassock with an unusual stall...