Recent Gothic Revival Vestment Work of Note

Today I thought we would turn our attention to a few contemporary approaches to the gothic revival in the area of vestment design. To my mind, these represent some of the most successful and interesting approaches in recent memory insofar as they all reclaim some of the more colourful and decorative aspects of the period they seek to take their inspiration from.  

Let's get right to it. 

Our first maker is Jiang Huai Design (also referred to as "JH Design Chamber") who are based out of Malaysia. A number of their offerings have a very Pugin-like flavour, employing the classic y-orphreys or the Latin cross (which featured in much early gothic revival work).

Next we have the Dowry Workshop who are based out of the United Kingdom. Like the previous company their focus is pretty well exclusively on the gothic revival with their own particular emphasis being on recapturing the use of embroidered medieval symbols in repeating patterns -- what are technically referred to as "diaper patterns". 

Next we have Sacra Domus Aurea who are based out of Italy. Their own particular approach toward the gothic revival reminds us that "gothic" does not have to be synonymous with English medievalism. In their own approach they bring a continental -- and sometimes even oriental -- flavour to the gothic, adding an important bit of diversity to today's gothic offerings. This red chasuble brings to mind, for me, the type of gothic that might well have been worn by one of the modern pre-conciliar popes had that been more common in Rome at that time.

Watts & Co. of London have, of course, been in the gothic revival business since their inception over a century ago. Naturally they have  tendency toward the English style having played a significant historical role in that revival there. Here are a couple of their recent works which are quite fetching, showing an approach both restrained yet ornamental:

Turning toward the New World we have Paramentica who are based out of California. One of their recent gothic revival works was this Marian chasuble which includes a lovely combination of white, gold and blue (an always popular combination):

Altarworthy are likewise based on the West Coast of the United States and they recently showed us two gothic offerings of interest, the first in green utilizing the orphrey design found on the famed Beckett chasuble (later also mimicked by Adrian Fortescue) as well as Tudor roses. They also came up with a red offering which utilizes a textile pattern that echoes the design of some of the later medieval velvets.

Last but not least, we have Maris Stella Vestments who are based out of the United Kingdom. This maker recently presented a couple of offerings that caught my eye. The first is this Pentecost inspired red chasuble and the second this green which has a nicely contrasted blue orphrey:

What is noteworthy here is that all of these works are of very recent vintage and each pick up on the ornamental imperative -- some more overtly, some more subtly -- that characterized the historical period these works draw their inspiration from.  Each in their own way also reflect the importance of variety and distinctiveness that we have highlighted here before -- which much 20th century gothic revival work failed to do, relying too heavily, as it did by a certain point, on the novelty of the revival itself. Be they English-inspired or continentally influenced, each of these bring their own particular nuances to the table but all of them serve to beautify the sacred liturgy. 

Join in the conversation on our Facebook page.