By Natalie M. Steen | November 2018
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 Up the Getup, and on Instagram @upthegetup.