Ganswein: Versace. Benedict: Prada.
Richard Owen in
Father Georg Gaenswein: 'ethical, austere - and elegant' (EPA/AP)
Donatella Versace has often raised eyebrows — and hemlines — with her outrageous designs for women. Yesterday, however, she stunned even blasé fashionistas by launching a “clergyman look” for men, inspired by Father Georg Gaenswein, the handsome 50-year-old private secretary to Pope Benedict XVI.
The outfit, modelled at the
Spirituality was “not the same as bigotry”, she said, adding that she was open to the idea of civil unions between gays or heterosexual couples. Proposals to make civil unions legal in
“It is the moment to display the muscles of the mind, not those of the gym,” Ms Versace said. “Fashion needs more rigour.” She said she had used a fabric that was “as soft to the touch as the wings of an angel”. The result was dubbed “priestly chic” by fashion writers.
Father Gaenswein, an amateur pilot and keen tennis player, hardly ever makes public comments, least of all on the frequent tributes to his good looks in Italian gossip columns. Last year he broke cover to complain about satirical sketches on Italian TV depicting the Pope. “Satire is fine. But these things have no intellectual quality and offend men of the Church,” he said. The sketches have been dropped.
Father Gaenswein became personal secretary to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 2003, and moved into the
“The Pope’s day begins with Mass at , followed by morning prayer and a period of contemplation,” he said. “Afterwards we eat breakfast together, and my day then begins with sorting through the correspondence, which arrives in considerable quantity.” He said that he accompanied the Pope to morning audiences, followed by lunch together, a “short walk” and a rest, after which “I present to the Pope documents which require his signature, or his study and approval”.
A Versace spokeswoman confirmed that the clergyman look had been inspired by Father Gaenswein, adding: “Few other places in the world are as influential as the