Intro to Fashion Studies: FIT Exhibition

Throughout the exhibition at FIT, the one object that I was drawn to most was this evening gown by Jacques Fath, from 1947. Pink was a prominent colour during the 20th century, and it was linked closely to women, and womenswear. Because I am so used to seeing the colour pink being associated with femininity, when I first saw this dress, I interpreted it being a “women’s colour”. However, when I continued to observe and think more about this gown, and it’s colour, I noticed that it was the style more than anything that reminded me of femininity. For example, the pleats, the off the shoulder line, and even the material used. This gown could be in blue, green or even yellow, and I would still believe it was very feminine and elegant. I think my interpretation aligns with what the designer imagined this gown to be to a certain extent. I believe that the style and the material represent femininity.  However, representing femininity via a defined waist (because of an extremely tight corset), and highlighting the structure of the female body, by pushing her breasts upwards because of the tightness of the corset, is something I do not believe a woman should wear to feel and/or look like a woman. Nowadays, the gender line in fashion is becoming smaller and smaller. Many men wear pink, and it does not make them look feminine. Additionally, designers are playing on these “gender boundaries” and are dressing men in skirts for their advertisements. For example, Louis Vuitton’s campaign which consisted of Jaden Smith wearing a skirt. And I was extremely interested in the photograph. Although many of their elder and more traditional customers disagreed with it. Therefore, this gown does not participate much with the social conversation about colour and gender recently. In fact, as beautiful as it is, it may be seen as a gown that separates us, and is unmoral for a woman to have to go through so much discomfort to “look” and feel like a woman. I think that this gown was included in the exhibition Exhibitionism: 50 years of the Museum at FIT,  because it explains how much fashion has evolved since 1947, and how these gender boundaries are slowly thinning out. This gown can be seen as an object to remind us of what style once was for woman, and to help us celebrate the freedom we now have to dress as we wish, and express our gender the way that we choose to.

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