And so to the final day of a divine London Fashion Week. This was a celebratory yet contemplative farewell - rather like a fashion funeral but without the corpse. Well, unless you count Bleak Miss Wintour. My traditional all-black robes befitted such a sombre day. However, today’s designers hadn’t got the memo and it was a riotous day on the catwalk, probably the most chaotically creative yet. Walk with me one last time down life’s rich runway, my beloved pilgrims…
I was perturbed by the venue for Mr Tait's show: a strip-lit, graffiti-daubed underground skatepark in the diocese of London's South Bank. The type of tawdry neighbourhood the archbishop sometimes sends me into for "community outreach" work - all Ugg boots, bingo wings and unwashed heathens. I was pleasantly surprised, though, by a show that was almost worth sitting in the cold for (lucky I brought my cashmere Bulgari travel blanket to place over my knees). There was a Barbarella sci-fi vibe to the cocoon coats, stretch satin, leather shorts and square- heeled 60s boots in whites and primrose yellows. That'll teach me for "doubting Thomas".
Your Fashion Priest loathes gardening (soil under my manicured nails and grass-stains on my robes - style sacrilege!) but loves a garden party. So I was delighted this was the theme of Mulberry's show, with wheelbarrows, gnomes and a Gethsemane-esque bower of roses and hydrangeas. God's flora in all its glory. Joining me on the frow were Olympic goddess Jessica Ennis and the angelic stars of Downton Abbey, while the show featured ditzy prints, caramel leather and a black tux to pray for. Many fashionistas nabbed a gnome but obviously I did not, due to the eighth commandment: Thou shalt not steal. What bulge beneath my cassock? Hush, child.
To the Savoy ballroom for Roksanda Ilinic. A Fashion Priest has a lot to carry around - Bible, sunglasses, bling crucifix, rosary, spare Louboutin red velvet slippers etc - so I've been seeking a suitable bag. The oversized clutches here looked ideal, so I tried to place an order with Roksanda and the kind girl gave me one free. Consider it "fashion alms". Her show was sheer 70s chic: calf length dresses with contrast collars (rather like one's own cassock), baker boy caps, kick-flares, high-shine coats and elegant frocks in jersey fabrics - all set to a funky bossanova soundtrack. Heaven! (Verdict not influenced by free bag.)
One of the season's most anticipated shows from one of fashion's most exciting talents. In the elegant surroundings of Somerset House, Simone Rocha gave the packed congregation a delicious taste of summer 2013, where day-glo modernity meets traditional crafts. There were fluorescent lace flowers, neon embroidered organza, slick patent leather skirts, slouchy over-sized jackets, colour-pop crochet, transparent bags and Perspex shoes - ideal for when you want to see where you're walking. All in highlighter hues, like when I take a Stabilo Boss to my sermons. I wanted to marry this collection. "For Rocha, for poorer"...
Although your Fashion Priest is curiously ageless, due to a combination of clean living and cosmetic surgery, he does recall childhood days at the seaside - all fairgrounds, pleasure beaches and nightmarish enforced fun. Anya Hindmarch was determined to bring back such bad memories, with carousels, strongmen and a finale in which the designer herself popped up playing the organ. To add insult to mental injury, confetti then fell from the sky, landing all over the frow's clothes. By this point, I needed to be sent on an Anya management course. As Caesar's soothsayer said: beware the Hinds of March.
Another mise-en-scene was conjured up at Meadham Kirchoff but this one was much more up your Fashion Priest's pew. Even the invitation, scented by Penhaligon's, was a triumph. The theatrical show, on a wallpapered set and soundtracked by birdsong and chamber music, saw Bo Peep go to Moulin Rouge, Marie Antoniette meet Minnie Mouse and Versailles courtesans become rock stars. Models picked flowers and ate cake while wearing mini-crini, outsized bows, padded peplums, be-ribboned boaters and hourglass corsetry. This disheveled decadence put the Christian into Lacroix and recalled Galliano's glory days - before the anti-Semitic stuff, obv. The Church Of Chic would never sanction that.
Think style icons and you think Audrey Hepburn, Madonna, Karl "The Karldinal" Lagerfeld and Lord Jesus Of Christ himself. But Vicky Pollard from Little Britain? Couture calumny! Yet this was the fashiony blasphemy at Ashish, with baggy denim jackets, Reebok Classics, badly applied lipstick and topknots in sparkly scrunchies. The models slouched with scowls on their faces and frankly, so did I. The "Trés fatigue" logo T-shirt said it all. I was tired of this haute hell, so buried my face in the Bible - aka the new issue of Vogue Italia (Vatican edition). Ah, that's better. Blessed are the chic. Damned are the badly dressed. Amen. And mwah, my child.