Ode To Heavenly Bodies ~ Aretha
By TINA WILSON
“Gotta Find Me an Angel” …Coffee in hand, attempting to write about “Heavenly Bodies”, radio on, listening to hours of the Queen of Soul, I was pushing back a steady stream of tears. I knew I had to scrap what I had written and let her music take me where I needed to go, Aretha has a way of doing that.
The timing of my choice to blog on the Met Museum exhibit “Heavenly Bodies” and the passing of the woman who helped generations get thru the sorrows and joys of life with her voice does not escape me.
Everyone I know who lives in Detroit, has an Aretha sighting, in the grocery store, in J.L Hudson’s, at the Coney Island, exiting her limo, and my own sighting as a kid looking for the perfect Christmas tree with our Dad, where we found Aretha looking for hers. Her decision not to abandon her hometown made us love her even more, if that were possible.
The church will always be a deep and profound source of inspiration. Whether you are a believer or not, whatever your religion, the church is in our music, our art, our fashion, and unfortunately in our government. I love ‘in your face’ gospel music, and I love it even more coming from the Queen. I have a boxed set somewhere of Aretha only singing gospel, that I cannot find, as I abandoned CDs long ago, but I still remember how it got me thru some trying times. Don’t leave this earth without hearing Aretha sing “Mary Don’t You Weep” and “Holy, Holy, Holy” …. you will find your hands above your head, just sayin’.
The church’s influence on fashion is brilliantly depicted at the Met exhibit, “Heavenly Bodies”. I am overdue in my praise of this massive exhibit that is still taking place at not one but two venues. I decided to focus on five costumes and create a nightgown inspired by each. I believe inspiration can be obvious or it can be subtle. The black and white combo of a nun’s habit as depicted by the House of Moschino can be interpreted in the bodice of a gown.
Rodarte’s pleats and cascade ruffles are perfect for bridal trousseau inspiration.
The draped column of taffeta in Mugler’s dress with a train may seem difficult to interpret but simplified into a column of modal spandex jersey it is wearable, comfortable and flaw concealing.
Christian Lacroix’s jacket encrusted with jewels fit for the Queen and recreating it into a jeweled neck gown was a no brainer.
Let’s “Say a Little Prayer” for Heaven’s newest body, R.I.H. Aretha, your marching music and dedication to civil rights will inspire us to keep up the fight!
“Call Me the Moment You Get There” just came on the radio, I’m gonna lose it.