Monday, I watched with the world as the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris burned. I may be, as I’ve mentioned before, an atheist, but the thought of the world losing such an important monument filled me with despair. There is no denying that aside from spiritually, it’s an incredibly vital structure historically, artistically, architecturally, and culturally. It has witnessed revolutions, wars, births, deaths, been central to great works of fiction, and great works of art.
Now, several days later, we know the extent of the damage, and mercifully it’s not as dire as it felt watching it live. However, it’s going to need a massive amount of restoration in the years – and likely decades – to come. Thankfully the structure is still mostly stable, and the bulk of the art and religious relics contained within were saved, but she is still going to need a ton of work.
If you’re a regular around here, you’ve likely seen my use of kitsuke as a coping mechanism for distant but impactful deaths. This time, I’m using it as a coping mechanism for loss and despondency. I wanted to honour Notre Dame in the best and most personal way I know how.
The wrought-iron metalwork designs on the haori call to the famous spire that was lost about halfway through the blaze. As an unintended but not unappreciated bonus, the haori over the obi makes a distinctive hump, hearkening back to Quasimodo, the cathedral’s most famous fictional resident. I chose an obi with the circular floral motif to echo the Rose Window, central to the front facade. The roses on the kimono are also a bit of an indirect nod there. The red accessories add a vital, aggressive pop of contrast, exactly what Notre Dame needs right now. A reminder to fight, that she’s been through worse and come out the other side, and will remain standing for centuries to come.