June 12, 2013

A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk

I shall NOT miss it! And you shall NOT as well!

Jenny Shimizu, Helmut Red campaign. Photograph by Mark Seliger.
September 13, 2013 - January 4, 2014 FIT will be hosting A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk exhibit, and you should NOT miss it!
I've visited many events organized by the Museum at FIT and I've always found them fabulous (like the one about Daphne Guinness and/or the Shoe Obsession one)  as much as educational like The Designers & Books Fair 2012 and/or Desire Unlimited: The Cinema of Pedro Almodóvar) You just can't go wrong with any of their exhibitions. They don't do them often, but if they do - they are always worth the attention.

Last January I've joined FIT as a student, where I'm taking computer graphic design courses. I love the atmosphere of the school and often people-watch during the breaks. Everyone's so unique in the personal style. In the lobby of the school every so often the new works by the students are displayed, which makes it more attractive to be coming to the school

With the new exhibit, the director hopes to bring back a crucial element to understanding the historical context of the industry. 
“Nobody’s ever really thought consciously to put the gayness back into fashion history and say, ‘Why are there so many gay people in fashion?’ and ‘Is there a gay aesthetic?’" - the fashion director of Museum at FIT, Valerie Steele, tells OUT magazine.
From Cristobal Balenciaga and Christian Dior to Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen, many of the greatest fashion designers of the past century have been gay. Indeed, it is widely believed that most male fashion designers are gay. Is this just a stereotype? Or do gay men really have a special relationship with fashion? To what extent have lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people also made significant contributions to fashion? Fashion and style have played an important role within the LGBTQ (lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-queer) community, both pre- and post-Stonewall, and even as early as the eighteenth century. Yet surprisingly little has been researched about high fashion as a site of gay cultural production. 


A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk seeks to explore the “gayness” or “queerness” of fashion by drawing attention to the historic presence of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, and other “queer” people in the fashion system. The exhibition also looks at the creativity and resistance to oppression expressed by LGBTQ subcultural styles. 

Curated by Fred Dennis, senior curator of costume, and Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of The Museum at FIT, with exhibition design by award-winning architect Joel Sanders, the exhibition features approximately 100 ensembles spanning more than a century of fashion. Organized in roughly chronological order, the exhibition explores the history of modern fashion through the lens of gay and lesbian life and culture, addressing subjects including androgyny, dandyism, idealizing and transgressive aesthetic styles, and the influence of subcultural and street styles, including drag, leather, and uniforms. The exhibition will be accompanied by a symposium (November 8-9, 2013) and a scholarly, multi-author book published by Yale University Press, as well as a free public lecture series, exhibition tours, and an educational website, with the goal of helping to foster a climate of inclusion for those who have often been marginalized due to their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gendered expression.

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