A candid interview with Beverly De Soto, editor of Regina Magazine, on Catholic trends in fashion.
Q. Isn’t fashion, well, frivolous?
A. Not at all. What we wear is a statement of what we believe in. Think about it. On one extreme, much fashion today demonstrates an aggressive sexuality that is clearly pagan. On the other end, clothing that swathes the wearer in bulky material hides the body from “prying eyes”—a statement about what the wearer believes about human nature, and the nature of a “good” life. These aren’t frivolous ideas—in fact, they are deeply serious.
Q. Well, you must admit it isn’t exactly “spiritual.”
A. Depends on what you mean by “spiritual.” Catholicism very much concerns itself with the material world. The Body of Christ is REAL in Catholic belief. We regain our glorified bodies in heaven. This “bodiliness” has informed the Faith for centuries. It’s why Catholic cultures celebrate life—”fruit of the vine and work of human hands”—and glories in Beauty as a reflection of the Divine.
Q. But aren’t lay Catholics supposed to appear “normal”—and not stand out from the crowd?
A. Yes, because once upon a time we set the standards for “normal.” It wasn’t difficult to dress like everyone else for much of modern history, because the Church had laid the foundations upon which ideas of proper dress were grounded. Regardless of religious belief, in the West everyone dressed within this broad spectrum of modesty, decency and propriety.
Q. When did that change?
A. Well, Hollywood and the media seems to have been the engine by which what we call the “New Pagan Look” has been spread. They are motivated to constantly push the envelope by their need to constantly “get eyeballs” on their product—and of course the same applies to the fashion houses in Paris and Milan. (Once Catholic cities, we might point out.)
Q. Hollywood, the Media, the big fashion houses—there’s a lot of money and power there. It seems pretty hopeless to try to affect them.
A. Yes, except that the corporate fashion world is pretty non-creative, and highly dependent on trends—which are started by “creative minorities.”
As Catholics with a classic sense of style, we are the DEFINITION of a creative minority. LOL
Q. What makes you think anyone would pay attention?
A. Audrey Hepburn.
Q. The actress?
A. Yes. There is a HUGE vogue for her style once again, this time fueled by educated young women. Pretty amazing, right? 50 years after her “look” was in style.
Q. Well, that is pretty interesting. But, so what? What do you see in this trend?
A. May I be blunt?
Q. Please do.
A. We’ve had 50 years of women being told that to be “liberated” they must sell their bodies in the most crass and vulgar way imaginable. This whole package—aggressive sexuality masquerading as “women’s lib”—has of course worked beautifully for the media moguls and Hollywood. They got rich—and continue to do so.
Any attempt by the Church to counter this drumbeat is derided as “oppressive” or “controlling” or “hating women.” (Ask any parish priest who has attempted to instill some decorum in what people wear to Mass.)
But now—out of the blue—we have a whole new generation of young women and amazingly they LOVE Audrey Hepburn! We find that a stunning testimony to the enduring appeal of real Beauty.
Q. So what does this have to do with Regina Magazine covering fashion?
A. Together with our Fashion & Style Editor, Sequoia Sierra, we’re embarking on a far more intensive period of covering style—beginning with our Summer issue, due out on August 2.
Regina readers will see our exclusive photo shoots in every issue—styled by Sequoia—against real, amazing on-location backdrops in countries around the world.
We’re pretty confident that these will be nothing like they’ve ever seen.
Q. How do we get Regina Magazine?
A. Regina is emailed directly to your inbox. Plus, it’s FREE—click here to join the almost 6000 subscribers we’ve attracted in a little more than a year.