Byronesque offers sartorial sins before the start of the Met Gala


Papal robes from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, many never seen outside of the Vatican, will be part of “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” the new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, opening Thursday. That’s the sacred.

Now, for the profane. Contemporary vintage e-commerce site Byronesque’s subversive confessional hotline with voiceovers by Rick Owens and Gareth Pugh reading lyrics from “Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode and inviting listeners to confess their fashion sins.

“Prepare to repent,” says an e-mail, with instructions to call 800-666-9524 for Pugh, or 800-666-2498 for Owens. The fact that the phone numbers contain 666 is no accident; those digits are said to represent the Antichrist or wild beast in the New Testament.


“Feeling unknown and you’re all alone/Flesh and bone by the telephone/Lift the receiver, I’ll make you a believer/Confess your fashion sins after the beep,” says Pugh. Owens delivers similar lines.

“We asked Rick Owens and Gareth Pugh, because in keeping with the theme [of the exhibition], they’re leaders of their own cults,” said Gill Linton, Byronesque chief executive officer and editor in chief, adding that documentary clips of worshiping cult members and evangelists preaching to their flocks appear on Byronesque’s social media accounts.

Linton on Monday said the confessional hotline received more than 200 calls in the initial hours after going live.

“There are a lot of fashion sins committed on the Met Gala’s red carpet every year,” said Linton, referring to Monday’s event, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s biggest event of the year, which raises money for the Costume Institute. “This year’s theme was literally a gift from God.”