Fashion for God zaalfoto. Cindy Bakker

Fashion for God - exhibition

Everything shines this autumn during Fashion for God! Get ready for an unprecedented experience full of sumptuous fashion fabrics, dazzling embroidery and luxurious high fashion from the Renaissance and Baroque eras.

Wander through ballrooms full of richly decorated copes and lavishly flowered ball gowns. Exclusively made and reused to shine on the altar in the period of the Dutch hidden churches. Carefully preserved for centuries and still of the highest quality.

Fashion for God: 14 Oct 2023 - 21 Jan 2024

A fascinating story

The exhibition starts at the beginning of the seventeenth century. A turbulent period, because after the Reformation Catholics in the Republic were no longer allowed to meet in public. They therefore fled to hidden churches. Behind closed doors they pulled out all the stops to propagate their faith. The pastors wore ‘fashion for god’. This was the way to express one’s identity in times of oppression. After extensive research, the museum can tell the fascinating story behind these unique works of art. A story with women in a defining role; as makers and as donors.

Daring exhibition design

In the daring exhibition design of Maison the Faux, a ball gown from the Victoria & Albert Museum is juxtaposed to a cope from a clandestine church. Not a strange combination for those visiting the exhibition. In the eighteenth century, the Republic enjoyed great prosperity. It was the age of the Baroque, and rich, polychromed and flowered French, English and Chinese fabrics were in fashion. In this century, the custom arose among pious women to donate their precious gowns to the church to be made into church vestments. Thus it could happen that the service was celebrated in pink vestments.

An enchanting experience!

The beautiful examples of Baroque gowns are each shown in combination with a vestment made of almost the same fabric. This provides a wonderful insight into how the development of secular fashion was embraced by the Catholic Church. The quality of the pieces is so high that they still impress hundreds of years later. The exhibition ends with a grande finale in a veritable celestial ballroom, where the very finest vestments made from ladies’ dresses can be admired in their full glory one last time. An enchanting experience!


11 and 12 January 2024

In a two day symposium Museum Catharijneconvent brings together experts from museums and universities from across Europe to present recent research and exchange insights and knowledge on historical vestments and fashion. The symposium will take place at Museum Catharijneconvent on 11 and 12 January 2024 and coincides with the exhibition Fashion for God on religious vestments from Dutch hidden churches from 1580 to 1800, that runs until 21 January 2024.

Tickets are now available, use this direct link!