Arriving in style: British actress Jean Simmons ('Ophelia'), arrives at the Odeon theater for the Premiere of Laurence Olivier's 'Hamlet' wearing a satin gown and a black lace mantilla over her head on May 7, 1948 in London.
She could get away with it in 1948. Might not work so well now.
Watercolour portrait by Alfred Edward Chalon of Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852), wearing evening dress with a mantilla and holding a fan. 01 Jan 1840
"Augusta Ada King, was the daughter of the great Romantic poet Lord Byron (1788-1824). She was a writer and a trained mathematician. King acquired fame by working with Charles Babbage (1791-1871) on the world's first computer, the Analytical Engine, which could carry out many different types of calculations. She designed several computer programmes for the engine which were coded onto cards with holes punched in them - thus becoming the world's first computer programmer. The universally recognised computer language ADA is named after her."
Chapel veils or mantillas, have been part of religious history since Christianity began. According to St. Paul´s Epistle to the Corinthians, "Every woman praying or prophesying with her head not covered, disgraceth her head." (Corinthians 11:5). A chapel veil signifies respect and reverence for the church. Rooted in the Catholic faith, parishioners often wear chapel veils during church services and occasionally wear them during wedding ceremonies. You can create your own chapel veil for a traditional look for your wedding ceremony.
Things You'll Need:
•Rotary circle cutter
•Fabric such as lace or tulle
1.Measure from the top middle of your head to a stop point on one side. Stop your measurement no farther than your shoulders for a traditional chapel veil or to the floor if you are using a cathedral chapel veil. Be sure to wear the shoes you will wear during the service because this can affect the total length. Double this measurement.
2.Cut out fabric to match the length you measured. Use a metal ruler if you will be using a straight-edged shape such as a rectangle and mark your cutting lines. Use a rotary circle cutter for a a circular or oblong chapel veil. Cut out the fabric in the desired shape.
3.Place a cloth over the fabric. Iron the fabric on a low setting in slow circular motions.
4.Pins the border to the main fabric. Sew the bordering lace using a simple stitch. Use a craft glue or bonding adhesive for a no-sew option.
5.Add embellishments, such as iron-on appliques, pearl beads or sequins. The chapel veil is a traditional garment and often less is more.
6. Analyze your veil. If the veil seems bare, add more embellishments. If it is too short, go back to Step 2 and use a seam ripper to separate the central fabric from the border. Cut out a new section of fabric and start over. Try the veil on to make sure it fits as you envisioned it and make necessary adjustments. Place the finished veil in a garment bag to safely store it
In this photo, a hat is worn by Her Majesty, a mantilla by the Duchess of Windsor and a hat and veil by the late Queen Mother at a funeral for the Duke of Windsor .
Photo Caption - 3rd June 1972: Queen Elizabeth II followed by the Duchess of Windsor (1896 - 1986) and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (1900 - 2002) as they leave St Geoge's Chapel, Windsor after the funeral service for the Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII.
Queen Elizabeth II with the Duchess of Windsor, 3rd June 1972
OK hon. You asked me why I wear the mantilla. It's easy. I wear the mantilla first of all because it looks good and because it is ridiculous. You think hats are simply to keep your head warm? You're crazy, then everybody would just wear a woolen stretchy hat.
No a good hat is something, you know, slightly crazy. A good hat stands the world upside down. A really good hat is totally useless and reminds everyone that not everything has to be useful and that useful is usually another word for ugly.
Still. This is not ugly. No. This mantilla is to look good. So what's wrong with looking good? Also, it is for something else. The Bible says women should cover their heads in church. When I wear the mantilla I'm saying, "Look here. I believe the Bible." In this day and age, that's ridiculous too. You see, it is the way I fly the flag. It is my way of saying, "I'm a Christian, and what are you going to do about it?"
Third reason I wear the mantilla is because it is Catholic. Do you think you'll ever see one of those Protestant gals at the mega church wearing a mantilla? I don't think so. They're dressed in sloppy jeans, flip flops and slurping a latte. You call that church? I call it slouch. My mantilla is my Catholic badge of courage.
Fourth reason: I met this Amish girl once. She was wearing one of those little bonnets that look like the thing you collect strawberries in, but it was white and upside down on her head.
I say, "Why are you wearing that crazy thing on your head?"
She looks me in the eye and says "It is the sign that I am submissive to God and to men."
I nearly punched her in the eye. "Are you crazy? You want to be submissive to God and men? What's wrong with you? I think I'm going to slap you girl!"
She says, "Well, you got to be submissive to something. Everybody's got to take orders from someone. Who you going to take orders from? Yourself? Who do you think you are? God? Get over it."
Whew! talk about radical statements? That one knocked me for a loop. Then I start to think about it, and I think maybe she's right. So I got my own version of the Amish bonnet which is my mantilla, and I'm happy about the submissive to God thing, but I want to argue with her about the submission to man thing because so many of the boys are beasts.
But never mind that. Another reason: I wear it because it annoys liberal Catholics, and that is always fun, you know?
Finally there is this: I wear it to remind the men in my life that I am submissive to God, and I'll tell you a secret, I'd like to find one of them I could be submissive to as well, but they better watch out because if they take advantage of that they're going to be sorry, because if they think 'submissive' means I'm going to be some kind of Minnie Mouse doormat they'd better think again.
Despite her previous faux pas - and although not required - Cherie Blair donned a black lace mantilla for the recent mass held by Pope Benedict XVI at Westminster Cathedral during his State Visit to England (18 September 2010). Lovely!
Please join me in welcoming the newest member of the Mantilla With Me blog team, Señora Elaine!
Elaine is a convert to wearing chapel veils, but not a convert to the faith. A lifelong Catholic, she embraced her faith more fully soon after college. She has been married 9 years and homeschools her three children.
Besides being a witness to the beauty of veiling at her novus ordo parish (where almost nobody else wears a veil), Elaine's interests include whole foods cooking, reading, sewing and knitting, supporting local politics and childbirth advocacy. She's come a long way from her skater chick, punk rock days of her young adulthood, but still retains a strong individualist streak.
Elaine is our photography blogstress: she will be posting interesting and beautiful photos of women wearing mantillas from all over the world.
Normally I'm a fan of Queen Sofia (Spain), especially in terms of her sartorial elegance. But when it comes to papal audiences, she has a history of sticking with the protocols that suit her (like wearing white) while ignoring others (the mantilla).
If you're going to exercise your privilège du blanc - granted as a sign of respect for Catholic monarchs - then make a return gesture of respect by donning a mantilla.
With Pope John Paul II.
2. Mary Robinson
Mary Robinson - former Irish President
In 1997, Irish President Mary Robinson visited the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II sans mantilla and wearing a greensuit. I haven't been able to find a photo of it but it stirred up some debate in Ireland at the time since it was speculated that her choice of attire was deliberately provocative.
Her successor, Mary McAleese, sensibly chose to wear black when she met Pope John Paul II in 2003 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2007 (photo below) but was likewise sans mantilla.
Pope Benedict XVI with Irish President
Mary McAleese, 23 March 2007
I haven't been able to find a photo of
this, but according to the Catholic News Service 'Winnie Mandela, who was the wife of then-vice president of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela, wore a long lacy dress that was whiter than the pope's vestments in a June 15, 1990, visit to the Vatican.'
4. Raisa Gorbachev
Raisa Gorbachev with Pope John Paul II, December 1989.
It's a faux pas that still gets discussed. This monumental meeting between the Polish pope and the last head of state of the USSR was almost over shadowed by the bright red dress worn by Mrs Gorbachev.
5. Cherie Blair
The wife of then British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Cherie Blair