An extraordinary fashion show with monks belonging to different orders and times.
Sixty-two fashion plates, kept at the Diocesan Museum of Santo Stefano al Ponte in Florence, lead us to the fascinating and mysterious world of the religious orders. The rules of the various Orders informed (echoing the old proverb) that it was not the cowl that made the monk, despite its function of defining the person and the role held. In some periods the clothing assumed a value that exceeded its practical function: some orders imposed it also at night, others did not permitted to take it off either during a serious illness. In 1705 Clemente Pistelli wrote, with regard to the founder of the minor monks: “I did not see any part of the body unclothed, besides the hands; they always slept clothed and sometimes they needed to mend their socks”.
The realization of the sixty-two plates has to be placed in the first half of the 18th century. The collection, for its theme and ampleness, is a real rarity, what convinced the authors to carry out an accurate research that lasted many years. Besides the religious clothing in general and the evolution of its historical and social meaning, were studied the origins of this specific group of plates; for each of them were described the religious order, the clothings, the accessories and highlighted how fashion has always interested the religious world, for its ability of expressing symbolic concepts