Fashion and politics come in many different forms.
Consider the star-studded dress imprinted with an image of Hubert Humphrey’s face, an 1889 American flag-covered costume and the red Naughty Monkey shoes similar to the ones Sarah Palin donned for the Republican National Committee — all of which are featured in the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s new exhibition “Fashion & Politics.”
The 100-piece show, which opened Tuesday and runs through Nov. 7, highlights how fashion has often mirrored history over the past 200 years, and in doing so explores important themes such as nationalism, feminism and class.
“Fashion and politics have many layers of meaning more than the sartorial choices made by candidates, election T-shirts or campaign buttons,” said Jennifer Farley, who curated the show with Melissa Marra. “They reflect how people thought and behaved in the past during social and cultural changes.”
The design of several items on display pledged support — pure and simple — such as an Oscar de la Renta scarf emblazoned with RFK’s initials, a 1956 white cotton dress with a red “IKE” print, a Mars of Asheville’s paper dress covered with oversize stars and a “NIXON” print, and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac’s sequined dress with an image of President Obama’s face.
Other items touch on long-forgotten issues. An 1805 reticule bag spells out “sugar war,” an apparent reference to France and Britain’s struggle for control of the sugar-growing colonies in the Caribbean. These hand-beaded accessories were often marked with significant personal or political events. Other blasts from the past include a 1943 Vogue cover that reads, “Take a Job, Release a Man to Fight” and a 1933 handkerchief that reads, “Repeal the 18th Amendment. More Beer Less Taxes.” A cry for freedom of a different sort can be seen in a white suit circa 1914-1916, a popular look with members of the suffrage movement looking to show off their unity in parade marches.
There are also more contemporary pieces such as replicas of the Thakoon “Kimono” dress Michelle Obama wore when she went on a state visit to France with her husband this year, and a version of the Jason Wu sheath she wore for her Vogue cover. By chance, the museum also has the Isabel Toledo ensemble the First Lady wore for the inauguration in a separate exhibition dedicated to Toledo — one flight below.
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)
@heriethpaul and @gracebol have a moment on the @victoriassecret fashion show 2017. See every look from the runway on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo) #wwdfashion #victoriassecret #VSFashionShow
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia