Bianca Censori is the face of a style that is sparking a comeback with celestial colors from Heaven by Marc Jacobs to the widely anticipated Victoria Secret catwalk comeback. She was sighted on the streets of Los Angeles with a set of angel wings on with her contentious new spouse on her arm. The angelic attraction of the feathered adornment has inspired fashion designers to create sculptures and scenographic garments. Angel wings are not just a carnival accessory and a Tumblr girl fantasy; they have also captured the imagination of fashion designers. The angelic appeal of the feathered dress has also been embraced in video clips by the most unexpected artists, including Kety Perry in Versace for the Met Gala with the theme Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, Hunter Schafer in Euphoria, and Kanye West’s wife. Here is a quick digression on the putti’s material legacy in fashion.
Fiona Apple discussed the meanings behind the two tattoos she received on her back in a 1998 interview with the Rolling Stones: She and American illusionist David Blaine used the word “kin” to characterize their connection; the bottom part had the initials FHW. Two of them were the words Fiona scrawled over the school. One of them was “To Be Free,” and the other was “Fiona Has Wings” (FHW). The vocalist kept losing herself in this adolescent daydream where she was standing at the altar, marching down the aisle, and having long wings grow out from under her garments until they broke.
Then she would fly away triumphantly and all those who had mocked her in those years and made her feel false would look at her in admiration and utter the same three words in chorus: ‘Fiona Has Wings’. Apart from the tattoo, this image became reality in 1997 when the artist released Angel, a cover version of the famous Jimi Hendrix song. In the video clip for the song, Apple wore a pair of white wings to enhance her simple ensemble of jeans and a T-shirt. Kurt Cobain wore a nearly identical ensemble in Seattle five years prior. During a live concert in the grunge capital of America in 1993, the same year that Nirvana’s third album In Utero was released, the band’s leader enthralled the crowd. Light my lamps in a haze Cause I have discovered God, a line from a cover of Lithium, was a perfect hymn to the kingdom of heaven. However, the angel wings did not match the show’s luxurious ambiance. The item rose to prominence in the 1990s as a representation of the grunge style, a sharp yet compelling contrast to the legendary vocalists of the genre’s dirty look and a transcendence in which no one appeared to recognize themselves.
In the world of fashion, Thierry Mugler was one of the first to experiment with heavenly silhouettes on the runway: in 1984, a model with gold color wings paraded in a peaceful white dress with cherubs in tow; in 1999, Alexander McQueen used the malleability of wood to create incredible wings in a truly practical sculpture; and in 2006, it was John Galliano’s turn to take on the trend for Maison Dior in a flood of tulle and organza. The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, a legendary catwalk where the most famous supermodels, including Adriana Lima and Gisele Buendchen, have paraded as “angels,” holds the top spot for wings in the public imagination. The show, which stopped in 2018, will soon resume with a diverse and modern cast. The version worn by the cool kids, however, is made by Heaven by Marc Jacobs in partnership with Anna Sui and costs $570 on the online store of the company. The hippest accessory this summer is a pair of wings rather than a purse.