“Whatever we might do to conciliate opinion… is nothing beside the effect that the lapel of a uniform will produce… you win the French people with ribbons, with remarks, and with smiles.” -Barnave to Marie Antoinette
Monarchs know that dress is a political instrument. Rules of dress have a political, economic, and social effect that signify identity, kinship, and rank. Vanessa Nefve’s piece “Dressed to rule” explores how fashion correlates to power. The way we dress shows how we want others to see us. Dress and fashion answer many questions; Who we are: who we want to be; who we are forced to be; how we express it; and what it means. The right dress or uniform is believed to encourage loyalty, satisfy vanity, and impress the outside world because of status reassurance. Nefve’s childhood led her to a deep connection to fairytales and the powerful female characters in them. They inspired her by the way they carried themselves with grace yet wield power in a way that is powerful, delicate, and beautiful. As clothing can be very ceremonial and with the right garment you can be empowered to do anything because the right garment can put you in a powerful headspace. In this piece, she designed a gown that fulfills her childhood dreams, a gown that empowers her to be the women she once looked up to in her fairytales. She creates a delicate gown that is constructed to demand attention and can’t be overlooked.