Women Fashion Power – Design Museum – London

Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum 3You may not be surprised to hear that this exhibition was shown at the Design Museum. Note the words ‘WOMEN’, ‘FASHION’ and ‘POWER’ on the moving clock hands.
Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum 2Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum 1Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Riding HabitElisabeth of Bavaria (1837-98) in Vanity Fair, 1884, in a smart riding habit. Given that this exhibition was about women and power, I’m not sure if I should include the bit from the card that explains that she was the ‘wife of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria’. I’d leave it out on principle, but perhaps marriage to an emperor was a key defining point in her identity.
Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Riding Habit 2Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum 4Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Aesthetic DressDramatic Aesthetic dress with simple folds, above.
Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Swimming Costume Swimming SuitA swimming suit from c.1900 – how did women move their limbs when swimming / not catch a cold?
Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Ribbon CorsetRibbon corset.
Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum CorsetsCorsets galore – the one on the far left looks very much like a cage made out of wooden slats.
Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Edwardian Corset Cage CorsetOnthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Suffragette MemorabiliaWhat exhibition about women, fashion and power would be complete without the epitome of that trio – suffragette memorabilia? Great micro-display within the exhibition that showed the role that fashion had to play in the suffragette movement.
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetA satirical handkerchief from 1891 forecasting the world as run by women in 1981.
Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Suffragette HatSuffragette’s Hat.
Can you guess what the hat below was for?
Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Motoring HatIt was a motoring hat. I wonder if the women’s ones were all frilly like this?
The exhibition also showed the passage of time for more modern underwear, from a hand-sewn broderie anglaise brassiere (c.1920)…
Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Homesewn Brassiere…to a cinch corset by Triumph International (1950-55), below. The lace was machine-made:
Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Cinch corsetOnthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum RayonMaking rayon.
Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Women's League of Health and Beauty UniformThis was a Women’s League of Health and Beauty uniform, c.1930s. A primer on how to look stylish whilst exercising in the Flirty Thirties, if ever there was one.
Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Yves Saint Laurent TuxedoThe first tuxedo introduced by Yves Saint Laurent in its A/W 1966 collection. Dubbed Le Smoking, this was a radical way for women to assert their power at the time.
Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Satirical Hankerchief A trio of Philip Treacy hats.
There was also a fashion timeline of sorts on display:
Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum 5Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum 6Fashion is subjective. There were pieces on display at the exhibition that I liked, that I didn’t quite like, or that I didn’t quite like but still admired, on principle. What I really appreciated about these clusters of clothes were the textures and fabrics, close up. Here’s a selection:
Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Fabric Textile Texture 2Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Fabric Textile Texture 6Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Fabric Textile Texture 8 Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Fabric Textile Texture 8Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Fabric Textile Texture 4Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Fabric Textile Texture 3Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Fabric Textile Texture 11Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Fabric Textile Texture 7Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Fabric Textile Texture 9Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Fabric Textile Texture 10Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Fabric Textile Texture 9Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Fabric Textile Texture 5Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Fabric Textile Texture 12Onthenew Women Fashion Power Design Museum Fabric Textile Texture 13I’m fascinated by textures and textiles, whether to the touch, or the way they fold or flow in paintings, sculpture, or other forms of art.

This exhibition certainty went to some length to discuss historical notions of fashion as it helped and/or hindered women’s expression of power.

There certainly is a power in clothes that helps us to feel in certain ways. I think that the specifics depend on the individual, though. For instance, someone might feel comfortable in a loose silhouette, whereas someone else might feel like a sloth. I always feel different when I’m walking in heels. What about you – how does fashion make you feel?

Photos taken on an iPhone

I’m on Instagram! You can follow me @onthenew, if you’re so inclined 🙂

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Women Fashion Power – Design Museum – London

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.