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Fashion and Politics

Fashion & Politics
July 7 through November 7, 2009

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"American Flag" costume, printed cotton, c.1889, USA, gift of Stephen de Pietri.
Vivienne Tam, suit, black and white polyester in checkerboard pattern of "Mao" portraits, 1995, USA, gift of Vivienne Tam.
LaValle, shoes, red, white, and blue leather, metal star studs, 1938 – 1942, USA, gift of Carroll Cook.

The Museum at FIT presented Fashion & Politics, a chronological exploration of over 200 years of politics as expressed through fashion. The term politics not only refers to the maneuverings of government, but also encompasses cultural change, sexual codes, and social progress. Throughout history, fashion has been a medium for conveying political ideologies and related social values. Fashion has addressed such important themes as nationalism, feminism and ethnic identity, as well as significant events and subcultural movements.

Featuring over one hundred costumes, textiles and accessories, Fashion & Politics examined the rich history of politics in fashion. The exhibition’s introductory gallery explored the theme of American nationalism and features a woman’s costume, circa 1889, printed with an American flag motif, as well as Catherine Malandrino’s iconic Flag Dress, worn by numerous celebrities and socialites to express patriotism after 9/11, and then again in response to the 2008 elections. Also featured was an "IKE" dress from the 1956 Eisenhower Campaign, a "NIXON" paper dress, and memorabilia from the historic 2008 presidential elections.

This exhibition was curated by Jennifer Farley and Melissa Marra.

Read the Press Release

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