He looks like an angel/Walks like an angel/But now we’re wise /He’s the devil in disguise.
Jude Law stars as Cardinal Lenny Belardo who is elected to the papacy as Pius XIII in The Young Pope. This TV series poses the question: what would happen if someone like Donald Trump became Pope? The answer is “a lot of well-dressed chicanery in beautiful surroundings.”
While the settings are spectacular and painterly, the costumes deserve a mention in their own right.
If there’s one photo that sums up the series, it’s this one of Lenny casting some shade (literally) in his papal bling and sunglasses. The whole pose has a certain gangster vibe which suits the character.
Here’s Lenny’s more everyday wardrobe–a white cassock with gold trim and a white shepherd’s hat. Next to him is Sister Mary (Diane Keaton), the foster mother who raised him. If you’re not Catholic, you may be wondering “what sort of awesome outfits do nuns have?” The answer is: “you’re looking at it.” Nuns don’t get bling because women, even a fairly high-ranking woman like Sister Mary, have no political power within the church. With great power comes great embroidery.
Even when he’s dressed more informally, Lenny wears some version of white–in this case, a cream-colored tracksuit.
The following sequence shows Lenny getting dressed for his big speech to the College of Cardinals.
He starts with a shirt and knee breeches, adds the shoes, and then goes for the cassock layer.
Over the cassock goes a second one made of white lace. He then adds the heavy mantle. Lenny is a hyper-conservative traditionalist so he favors very medieval-looking vestments.
And for the crowning touch, the triple tiara representing the pope’s temporal power. Set aside over 40 years ago by a previous pope, Lenny has it returned to the Vatican for his big address.
Finally, here’s the costume (and the actor) in action. Lenny makes a grand entrance into the Sistine Chapel.