A fashion show in London last week left many aghast as it transformed an ancient and venerated church into a Satanically inspired display, with transvestite models dressed as the devil. Though the designer and fashionistas claim it was all in the name of art with no ill-will intended, the church has expressed its deepest regret.
Turkish designer Dilara Findikoglu’s collection was displayed in St. Andrew Holborn church in Central London as part of the Spring/Summer 2018 London Fashion Week. But rather than reflect or honor the setting, a 1,000-year old church, the show became a tribute to Satanism.
The apse of the church was decorated with a wild display of demonic imagery, including pentagrams, goatheads, inverted crosses, all-seeing eyes, and other occult symbols. The models, including at least one drag queen, were dressed as devils, with symbols used in devil worship and black magic designs drawn on their faces and bodies.
The designer is considered to be an up-and-coming star of the fashion world, with celebrities like Rihanna wearing
her latest styles. Findikoglu rejected criticism of her demonic display.
“The show I did has no religious, Illuminati, secret society meanings,” the 26-year-old told Dazed. “All the symbols I used were for positive purposes. I am a creative and I am not trying to offend anyone. I understand people can be sensitive, but I think all these hate emails and attacks I am getting from Christians show who really is wrong,” she said, adding, “If there is such a thing as right or wrong.”
Though the designer claimed that the show was not satanically inspired, the Diocese of London released a statement expressing regret for their decision to allow the fashion show to take place in the church.
“We took this booking in good faith and were not aware of the content or design before the show took place,” the statement read. “This was obviously a mistake, and the content of this show does not reflect the Christian faith of the Church. We will be looking at our booking processes going forward to ensure this does not happen again.”
Despite her claims to the contrary, religion (and anti-religion) have played a significant role in Findikoglu’s design career and personal life. Raised in a religious Muslim family, she admits to being driven by a negative perception of religion.
When asked last year by i-D, a fashion site, what the inspiration was behind her collection, she stated that it was a desire to rebel against religion, equating organized religion with the worst form of terrorism facing the world today.
“It was about a new belief system that ignores the control imposed by religions and unifies people by its laws based on simple human acts,” she answered candidly. “This was a reaction to question fundamentalist constructs that is currently terrorizing the world.”
“I use a lot of religious iconography, or occult symbols, magic symbols,” she said, adding the disclaimer, “Even if I don’t believe in them.”
This aspect of her art comes from her childhood. Satanism was a hobby for the budding artist when she was growing up.
“I’m into parapsychology and all the occult and magic stuff, so when I was reading those books, [my parents] thought I was going to be a Satanist.”