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STYLE COUNCIL: The Design Museum in London has mounted “Women Fashion Power” an exhibition that looks at the last 150 years of fashion, and the statements women make through their clothing. Designed by Zaha Hadid and co-curated by Colin McDowell and Donna Loveday, head of curatorial at the Design Museum, the displays range from 19th century corsets to modern-day Christian Louboutin shoes, as well as a 1966 Le Smoking suit designed by Yves Saint Laurent, a Zandra Rhodes Conceptual Chic punk wedding dress, Margaret Thatcher’s Mansfield suit, Elsa Schiaparelli’s clothing and accessories, and a Jacques Azagury dress that belonged to Princess Diana. Alongside the various displays of fashion items, archived photography and film footage is on display.

Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, attended the opening. “The issue of garments, of how one dresses, is very important because the world of politics, is a world in where we add some authority,” she said. “It’s also a world of power in which there are few women, and therefore women have no role models who can function as inspiration for clothes and shoes — formal presentation — which will guide their career.”

McDowell said the show “isn’t a fashion exhibition, despite the fact that we use ‘fashion’ in the title. It’s about clothes and how women have used them to empower themselves, to intimidate people, and just to make them feel sexy. So, it’s not… it’s chronological, but it isn’t in fact entirely about all the great movements of fashion. It’s about how all intelligent women, take what they need from fashion at any one particular moment — and get their look. “The most interesting and successful people wearing clothes today are people who have made their own look from what they are offered.” The show also spotlights 25 women from business, culture, fashion and politics including Hidalgo, Livia Firth, Joan Burstein, Charlotte Olympia Dellal, and Rhodes. It will run until April 26th.

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