In Chile, a prominent fashion designer has outraged conservative groups and the Roman Catholic church by dressing models like the Virgin Mary, with semi-exposed breasts.
"There is no pornography here, there's no sex, there are no virgins menstruating or feeling each other up. This is artistic expression," said Ricardo Oyarzun, who staged a fashion show yesterday that featured designs inspired by the Virgin Mary. Unlike the "sexy" Virgin Mary featured on a recent cover of Mexican Playboy, Oyarzun says he did not intend to represent the religious figure. Still, a conservative group tried unsuccessfully to block the show in court, and Oyarzun says has received telephone threats and excrement has been smeared on his doorstep. Chile's Episcopal Conference, which includes Catholic bishops, issued a statement saying, "We look on with special pain and deplore those acts which seek to tarnish manifestations of sincere love toward the Virgin Mary, which end up striking at the dignity of womankind by presenting her as an object of consumption." [Reuters]