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Renaissance Long Lives in Pop Culture

The Renaissance era was many things. It was art, culture, history, religion, but most of all it was a movement that sparked a shift in Western culture. For three centuries, the Renaissance enacted a period of change in many ways of life and at the time, it was a shock to watch as society shifted towards a newfound modern world. However, that is not the case today. Rather, today’s society embraces Renaissance influence through its impact in the fashion and music world. Two of the most recognizable Renaissance-inspired pieces can be seen in the 2018 Met Gala and Ariana Grande’s “God is a Woman.” While that time period may be over, the influence it has continues to thrive, showcasing that it will never be forgotten.

Since the 1970s, high fashion society has looked forward to the biggest event of the year — Met Gala. Founded in 1943, it began as a fundraiser, but over the years, slowly transitioned to be a social event in which many famous celebrities attended. With a unique theme every year following 1973, many of the themes paid homage to influential people in fashion as well as distinct fashion eras. In 2018, the gala’s theme drew influence from Renaissance. Officially called, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” designers and A-list celebrities came full force to the event with beautiful looks and designs. On par with the theme, actress Zendaya stunned everyone with a Joan of Arc inspired outfit — one of Renaissance’s most famous icons who helped the French military during a time when gender roles were so prevalent. With a metallic floor-length dress accompanied with armored and chainlike pieces alongside a semi-open back and knee slit, Zendaya’s dress is the perfect mix of history and present times. It takes inspiration from the Renaissance era, but adds a twist of modern style by taking inspiration from Joan of Arc’s metal armor and recreating it to showcase a dress that pays homage to fierceness, strength, and elegance.

2018 truly was the year of Renaissance. Following the Met Gala, Renaissance-inspired aspects were seen greatly throughout the year and most prominent of them all were in Ariana Grande’s “God is a Woman.” She released the music video in the summer of 2018 and performed the song at the 2018 VMAs in August. The Renaissance period is correlated with religious changes, beautiful artwork, angelic themes, and religious figures. With that being said, Ariana took inspiration not only from the Renaissance era, but more specifically, from famous artists Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. Ariana recreated the renowned artwork The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo with her acting as the God in the music video. Later that year, she performed her hit song with a set inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s art piece of The Last Supper. Ariana pays homage to the Renaissance, but includes her own style into it by having a strong feminist message as well as including a galactic atmosphere alongside the religious features. Additionally, staying true to the title of the song, all of Ariana’s performers were female, a juxtaposition to the original artwork, but still maintaining the divine originality that the Renaissance portrayed.

Fashion and music are respectively separate industries, yet they have forged a bond through the impact Renaissance has on both. While our modern world continues to change, the Renaissance continues to remain a factor in our lives and will continue to take part in inspiring new fashion trends and artistic creations.

Written by Kimberly Pham

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