Blasphemy Or Freedom of Expression?
Ricardo Oyarzún’s Controversial Fashion Show Featuring Christ and Virgin Marys
Yes, The Oscars were wonderful. Well-produced, tasteful, Hugh Jackman? Surprisingly good. It was a great year for movies and there were lots of deserving winners. But you can read all about that everywhere else. Instead, I’m gonna show you what’s been causing some controversy in Chile.
Fashion blogs and sites have been publishing reports about Chilean Fashion designer, Ricardo Oyarzún’s latest controversial collection, but they’ve hardly touched on the actual show at all, simply focusing on one or two images of cleavage-baring models. The show actually had a crucified Christ, who descended from the cross with the help of a scantily clad Mary, models dressed as nuns and more. And I’ve got all the photos and info for you here.
Certainly not the first time religion has been referenced in fashion, and some of Ricardo’s pieces remind me of Gaultier’s religiously-inspired collection in Spring Summer of 2007.
Please be aware that the following text has been translated and therefore is not word for word and may contain some errors.
translated from La nacion.cl:
Chilean designer Ricardo Oyarzún, celebrated his 15 year career with the controversial parade of models in his “Virgin Fashion Show” at the disco Bunker.
Dressed as a priest, the notorious creator of fashion apparel began the controversial show that various Catholic groups, promoted by the organization “Move Chile” attempted to prevent, but failed.
Models Monica Aguirre, Carla Ochoa and Barabara Vos, and others such as Anita Alvarado (Known as the “Chilean Geisha”) represented Oyarzún’s Virgin Marys as they paraded down the runway clutching rosaries and helping ‘Christ’ descend from the cross.
“From now on, young artists will have the freedom to express themselves and do whatever they want with respect to content, and without fear of censorship. It set a precedent in Chile in relation to freedom of artistic expression. So I I feel very happy and satisfied for having done what I did, “said the designer after the show.
One of the events that most captured public attention (and the cameras) was when model and singer Barbara Vos interpreted the lyrical version of Ave Maria.
Referring to the criticism he received before Ricardo Oyarzún exhibited his work, the designer said that “there is something you can not argue about freedom of expression that exists in this country, I found it painful for the country rather than religion or whatever, to inhibit an artist like myself and many others that can launch a book. “
He added: “I feel afraid for artists such as myself, that tomorrow could be censored. Today was a parade, tomorrow it could be a movie, and before we realize, we end up in a dictatorship. Then you must be very careful. “
above: the designer, Oyarzún, at the show’s finale.
special thanks to Esteban Garay for some of the above photos.
Also translated from La nacion.cl:
The Santiago Court of Appeals yesterday rejected an order put forward by the NGO “Move Chile”, which sought to cancel the controversial parade “Virgin Fashion Show, organized by designer Ricardo Oyarzún.
The team of lawyers from the Catholic organization, despite not being able to prevent the event, looked forward to the higher court rule on the merits of the lawsuit.
The NGO described the portrayal of women wearing provocative costumes emulating the figure of the Virgin Mary as “blasphemous”.
On learning of the resolution, Oyarzún was happy, because this has become a “precedent for any Chilean artist. Now you may never again be able to censor what they say and think artistically.”
But he regretted that a section of the population has been a bit archaic and medieval concerning religiosity, “he said.
Monseñor Contreras indicated that he did not intend to “censor” the parade of models, but to assert their right of expression.
A “questionable artistic expression” the auxiliary bishop of Santiago, secretary general of the Episcopal Conference, Bishop Cristián Contreras Villarroel, called the controversial “Virgin Fashion Show,” noting that it was a “lack of respect for the reverence that millions of Chileans profess for the Virgin Mary. “
Monseñor Contreras also emphasized that his goal is not to censor, but to express our rejection of this act as offensive to Catholics, who make up the majority of Chileans (…) we condemn the use of the Virgin Mary, that is a provocation to which we are accustomed. “
This is not the first time that a provocative Virgin Mary has caused a stir in Chile. The cover shot on a recent issue of Playboy, shown below, was clearly referencing the the religious icon and caused a similar uproar.
You can see videos of the show here at the designer’s site.