Consistory Eve at Gammarelli
Without fail, the creation of new cardinals signals the peak season for Gammarelli, the Roman clerical tailors who've been vesting the Popes since before the time of Christ. Not only do Roberto e famiglia take the fittings for the majority of the new cardinals and make the scads of necessary articles from scratch -- longtime customers have their measurements kept on file -- but most of the other priests and prelates who converge on Rome for Consistory Week make a steady trickle into the small shop near the Pantheon (above which is the Accademia, where the next generation of the Holy See's diplomats are educated) to pick up replacement socks, zucchetti, collarless shirts for use under cassocks and vests, etc.
This is all to say that it's a very busy time.
Anyways, thanks to a friend who sent back these shots, taken earlier today. For the unawares, a cardinal's choir dress is always placed in the window to mark the festivities.
I won't hazard a guess as to what the fiddle-back's doing there.... The presence of the mantelletta -- abolished for cardinals in the post-Conciliar reforms of ceremonial dress -- is even more surprising. (Don Jim does a much better job of explaining the latter than I ever could.)
Whatever makes 'em happy, I guess.