Notre-Dame: Castelbajac Creates the Vestments for the Reopening

Source: FSSPX News

An article from La Croix published on June 19, 2024, announces that the famous designed Jean-Charles de Castelbajac “has been commissioned by the diocese of Paris” to design the liturgical vestments to be used at the reopening ceremony of Notre-Dame de Paris, which will take place on December 8.

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac is not unknown to the French. Scion of an old family of French nobility from the country of Bigorre, “born in Casablanca, Morocco in 1949,” he is described in a Radio France article as “a pop figure, an artist, creator, and collector embodying both elegance and tricolor innovation and subversive fashion.”

The article continues: “There is often humor and derision in Castelbajac’s creations, in his cartoon sweaters, his ponchos for two, or his teddy bear coats.” And it highlights a dominant aspect of his style: “He caresses the material and the colors, always four: red, yellow, blue, and green, the signature of the designer,” who invents his own fashion.

A History

The designer had already been contacted by the Church of France, which ordered vestments from him for the 1997 World Youth Day in Paris, to be worn by Pope John Paul II, the bishops and priests. The chasuble worn by the Pope, decorated with crosses, and the chasubles worn by the priests, marked with the rainbow, are kept in the treasure of Notre-Dame de Paris.

The La Croix article specifies that “2,000 pieces, including stoles, chasubles, and dalmatics which will clothe the 170 bishops, 700 priests, and 700 deacons expected” on December 8, are entrusted to Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. This “large order is offered in the form of sponsorship by art and craft houses.”

The papal chasuble and an episcopal chasuble for WYD in Paris in 1997

An Enhancement of the Cross

The stylist explains to the La Croix newspaper that he “started from the cross of the choir of Notre-Dame, designed by Marc Couturier” which remained standing after the 2019 fire. And he adds: “I had never before used gold in my work. For these vestments, I wanted to put the cross back on the front, so that it would be a beacon, a landmark, a standard,” which is a beautiful, truly Catholic design.

Thus the cross appears “in the center of the chasubles, on the miters, and on the stoles. Color also shines on these vestments, a symbol of “the renaissance of Notre-Dame.” The episcopal chasubles will bear 12 crosses to symbolize the 12 apostles.” The stylist further explains that he wanted to instill “a bit of a spiritual epic: we need to talk about courage to the younger generations,” reports La Croix.

De Castelbajac admits that “it was a great honor” to be asked to do this work. He explains that at the age of 17, “he was marked by St. Louis’ tunic, which subsequently inspired him in his work,” he confides to La Croix. For this new order, he speaks of a desire for “sobriety and elegance.”

The article concludes by noting that “after the inaugural period of Notre-Dame Cathedral which will extend until Pentecost 2025, a chasuble will be offered to each parish in Paris.”

The various vestments created by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac for the reopening of the cathedral.