By Natalie M. Steen
burned incense while I created this collage. As the aroma wafted through the air, I was reminded of its comforting scent. Forever engrained in my memory from my early days in Catholic school and reminiscent of celebrating mass in candle-lit church, my aural memory was awash with the heavy sounds of an organ. As a young girl (and admittedly sometimes still today), my attention tended to drift from the spiritual focus of the service to my physical surroundings during mass: the colors bouncing off the stained glass windows, the elaborate details on the seasonal clergy vestment, the way the warmth of a wooden beam is juxtaposed against the cold marble wall it holds up. There is beauty in all of it–a beauty that can translate, when done delicately and with deference–to what we wear and carry. These high-low garments and curiosities are curated as assembled ensembles of my imagination, envisioning the sartorial essence of Juana Inés de la Cruz, and what visual elements of her Baroque-era clerical style might inspire today.
Natalie M. Steen
A Miami, Florida native living in Houston, Texas, Natalie M. Steen is a lawyer by day (and night). The rest of the time, she dreams up outfits for all of life’s occasions. Steen is on a one-woman mission to prove that theme-dressing deserves some hype, deciphering dress codes can be an art form, and an online shopping problem may be no problem-o, after all. Steen’s original collages can be found on her blog The Nat Note, and on Instagram @thenatnote.