The Dress Makes the Woman

During the height of her mid 1990’s rom-com fame, Julia Roberts repeated in real life a scene from her then most recent movie where the movie star has dinner with a book store clerk boy friend.  As in the movie, folks recognized her instantly, all but one, who asked detailed questions about her life and still had no idea who Julia Roberts was.

pretty woman red dressFinally it was the lass’ boyfriend that nudged her stating “Remember Pretty Woman?”  “The movie about the whore in the red dress?” she asked.  “Yes, Julia’s the red dress whore!”  The girlfriend was very embarrassed for not recalling the actress.  Miss Roberts was impressed the woman had such a full life movie stars were not memorable.

SMA has several women with fascinating lives in the realms of politics, revolutions, clergy and alike but two are especially noted for their frocks.  One such gal is the Virgin of Good Health.

our lady of saludWorld-wide the Virgin of Good Health is an image of Mary that appeared to a lad in India delivering milk.  Normally she is seen in a sari, looking appropriately Indian in skin tone and facial features, but not here.  Her temple off Plaza Civica features a blue eyed blonde Mary in what is best described as a mid-1980’s Emmy nominee dress.

Here in SMA the Virgin of Good Health is based on the image of the Virgin of Good Help.  Good Help Mary is a Nordic image of Mary (hence the blue eyes and blonde hair).  Change her dress and she is SMA’s Virgin of Good Health who sits in her temple alongside a toddler image of Jesus for parent’s worried about their children’s health, St. Nicholas (the inspiration of Santa Claus and patron of children’s health) and St. Jude, the patron of lost causes which health issues often are.  Also, there is St. Lucy for eye problems.  Truly, all your healthcare related needs are met at the Temple of Our Lady of Good Health.

juan lagos pilgrimsThe other well styled clotheshorse is the Virgin of San Juan de Lagos.  Originally a Barbie sized statue of the Immaculate Conception located in a tiny town south of Guadalajara, she was placed in triangular indigenous garb in the 1600’s, performed some notable miracles and is today’s most popular pilgrimage site in the Western Hemisphere.  Her image adorns buses, buildings and jewelry in SMA.

Coco Chanel is infamous for her little black dress.  However, she could have very well had thoughts about Julia Roberts or the Virgins of Good Health and San Juan de Lagos when she uttered “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”