Westminster Abbey to host Gucci fashion show

Westminster Abbey is to host Gucci's cruise collection fashion show in its cloisters in June, sparking mixed reactions in the church.


The high-end label's runway will be the 11th-century abbey's cloisters, just metres from where countless royals have been wed, according to the Independent.

Rev Peter Owen-Jones, the vicar and BBC television presenter, told the Independent he was dismayed at the Abbey's decision, calling it "part of the Disneyfication of all the traditional sacred spaces in the land".

The abbey's cloisters have been available for corporate hire for a while and "so far the reaction has been positive", according to a spokesperson for the abbey confirmed the deal.

However, Owen-Jones said: "It confuses what the Church is for. Is the central icon of Christianity there to offer spiritual sustenance and love or is it just part of the marketplace of capitalism?

"We are in the process of selling our soul for a pair of trousers."

Owen-Jones was not alone in his critique, as the fashion editor of the New York Times, Vanessa Friedman, remarked on Twitter: "Anyone else think the context is a little weird for a clothes show?"

Some members of the clergy have been more supportive, including April Alexander, a member of the General Synod, who said: "I think it's a good thing to share those beautiful cloisters with as many people as possible, especially if, I guess, many of these people are not normal churchgoers."

Alessandro Michele, Gucci's creative director, shared his excitement for the upcoming show, exclaiming that the location was "magical".

The Abbey just last month was involved in the Lumiere London festival of light. However Owen-Jones sees the planned fashion show as crossing a line: "I think when those boundaries are crossed, the very purpose of having a building like that at the centre of our culture is wounded...to my mind this will only exacerbate the problems facing the church."