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Fashion and Politics

Gallery FIT
July 7 – November 7, 2009
Online Exhibition

Fashion & Politics was 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.
"American Flag" costume, printed cotton, c.1889, USA, gift of Stephen de Pietri, 88.125.1
"American Flag" costume, printed cotton, c.1889, USA, gift of Stephen de Pietri, 88.125.1
Vivienne Tam, suit, black and white polyester in checkerboard pattern of "Mao" portraits, 1995, USA, gift of Vivienne Tam, 95.82.5
Vivienne Tam, suit, black and white polyester in checkerboard pattern of "Mao" portraits, 1995, USA, gift of Vivienne Tam, 95.82.5
Mainbocher for United States Navy, W.A.V.E.S. uniform, navy blue wool, 1942, U.S., 84.2013.1
Mainbocher for United States Navy, W.A.V.E.S. uniform, navy blue wool, 1942, USA, 84.2013.1
Featuring over one hundred costumes, textiles and accessories, Fashion & Politics examined the rich history of politics in fashion. The exhibitions 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 Malandrinos 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.
Left: Mars of Asheville, dress, light brown paper printed with red ''NIXON'' and navy stars, 1967–1968, USA, gift of CITICORP, 98.128.3. Right: James Sterling, dress, paper printed with image of Hubert Humphrey, 1968, USA, gift of Ellen Conovitz, 99.57.1
Left: Mars of Asheville, dress, light brown paper printed with red ''NIXON'' and navy stars, 1967–1968, USA, gift of CITICORP, 98.128.3. Right: James Sterling, dress, paper printed with image of Hubert Humphrey, 1968, USA, gift of Ellen Conovitz, 99.57.1
Rudi Gernreich, "Monokini" topless bathing suit, yellow and white wool, 1964, USA, gift of Rita Wathick and Michael Stoyla, Lily et Cie, 2003.73.1
Rudi Gernreich, "Monokini" topless bathing suit, yellow and white wool, 1964, USA, gift of Rita Wathick and Michael Stoyla, Lily et Cie, 2003.73.1
Dress, white cotton with red "IKE" print, circa 1956, USA.
Dress, white cotton with red "IKE" print, circa 1956, USA.
This exhibition was organized by Jennifer Farley and Melissa Marra.
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