She is known for her signature sunglasses and frosty demeanour, but Anna Wintour let both slip as she attended a Vatican event on Monday.
The American Vogue editor offered a rare glimpse of her eyes as she joined designer Donatella Versace at the launch of an exhibition celebrating religious fashion, hosted by the Vatican’s culture minister at a formal Papal residence in Rome.
The magazine chief, 68, showed her respect by removing her dark shades, which she wears everywhere from the Vogue offices to the catwalk.
Last week she drew criticism over her decision to keep her sunglasses in place as she sat front row with the Queen at London Fashion Week.
Rare glimpse: American Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who is renowned for her frosty demeanour, removed her signature sunglasses and flashed a rare smile as she attended the launch of an exhibition on religious fashion at a formal Papal residence in Rome on Monday
Fashion heavyweights: Donatella Versace, left, and Anna Wintour with Vatican culture minister Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, right, at the event at the grand palace on Monday
Controversial: Last week Wintour drew criticism over her decision to keep her sunglasses in place as she sat front row with the Queen at London Fashion Week, pictured
Wintour and Donatella, 62, were invited to a sneak preview of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s spring exhibit of the Costume Institute, which will feature 40 vestments and liturgical accessories from the Vatican.
The fashion heavyweights were able to view some of the treasures, including bejwelled miters, Papal tiaras and a golden-threaded papal cape, before they are carefully packaged and transported to New York.
The pair are two of the co-chairs of the Costume Institute Benefit on May 7.
Wintour and Donatella were invited to a sneak preview of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s spring exhibit of the Costume Institute, which will feature vestments and liturgical accessories
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi addresses the audience, including Wintour (left) and Versace
Dame Anna, who was given the title in last year’s New Year’s honours list, appeared to draw on the red and black of a Cardinal’s robes for her own look, opting for a sumptuous velvet dress in similar shades.
Meanwhile Versace donned a piece from her own label featuring graphic colour blocks and text.
Commenting on the exhibition, Wintour said: ‘Part of the power of the church has been how they look, and how they dress. They have this extraordinary presence.’
Tiara of Pius IX on display, boasting lavish gold work and glittering precious stones
Mitre of Pius XI on display at The Met’s Heavenly Bodies preview event in Rome
Last week Dame Anna joined the Queen as the monarch made her Fashion Week debut at the Richard Quinn show in London.
The monarch sat next to the uncharacteristically nervous US Vogue boss, along with British Fashion Council chief Caroline Rush, before the pair eventually relaxed in her presence.
Grant Harrold, an etiquette expert who worked in Prince Charles’ household, said Anna’s actions had broken royal protocol.
Ornate: Donatella Versace poses next to one of the Tiara (1877) of Pope Pius IX in Rome
Versace, left, with Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli at the event on Monday