Holy high fashion: Churchgoers flock to catwalk show for VICARS

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Strutting their stuff on the clergy catwalk, churchgoers check out the latest in ecclesiastical wear during a fashion show for vicars.

Five members of the clergy showed off the new, cutting edge brightly-coloured robes at an event designed to shake off the 'dusty' image of the church.

The Clergy Catwalk in Bristol showcased every item needed by the clergy, from candles and clerical shirts to collars and archbishops' robes.

Blinged up crucifix and cross necklaces were also on show, along with a capsule collection of "leisure pieces" for the busy vicar.

The high fashion event saw hundreds of churchgoers jostle for a place on the show's front row as the group revealed cutting edge frocks in bright colours.

Steve Goddard, from the CRE, said the fashions - ranging from just £30 to more than £1,000 - were of great interest to those attending the exhibition.

He said: "The gear being modelled is by designers who specialise in clerical wear. Their companies are devoted to it.

"They design everything needed by members of the clergy, from clerical shirts and collars to archbishop's robes.

"We have ranges from two clothing designers, a t-shirt maker, and jewellery because of the current issue of wearing religious items as jewellery.

"The items range from robes to leisure pieces to wear around the parish when you might want to look more discreet, such as blouses for ladies and shirts for men."

The CRE was attended by 2,000 members of the clergy, who crowded round the catwalk at 11.30am for the 30 minute show.

A total of 20 items were modelled, with designs from respected Hayes and Finch and Juliet Hemingray - who created robes for former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey's enthronement - on show.

Beth Allison, minister-in-training at Market Bosworth Free Church in Leics was the first to take to the catwalk, wearing a Lord's Prayer bead necklace by Silverfish Jewellery.

She was followed by retired United Reform Reverend Tom MacMeekin wearing a Juliet Hemingray "bling" chasuble.

Steve added: "This show-stopper has arm sections filled with vertical stripes of appliqued fabrics in gold and white, with a central panel a blend of brocade and metallic silks.

"It also features Swarovski crystals. Tom has always believed that ministers should wear bright colours instead of black, like a lot of members of clergy."

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