For someone who did multiple graduate degrees about the politics of the body and the body of politics, it is interesting that I only ever skirted the issue of fashion and politics. And yet now it’s the place I call home. Enter Jeanne. And her Politics of Fashion | Fashion of Politics at the Design Exchange.
The exhibition, which is now open, was guest curated by Jeanne Beker along with DX curator Sara Nickelson. The show explores how fashion is a a reflection (and I would argue, refraction) of society. The truly fearless and passionate designers embrace this and exploit it.
The show spans from the 1960s to present day (although I would argue, it would be interesting to have gone even further back). Displaying over 200 works – including Jeremy Scott’s leopard print burqa, promotional paper campaign dresses featuring the faces of Robert Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Pierre Trudeau and Rad Hourani’s Unisex Haute Couture collection – the exhibition spotlights the numerous ways fashion has helped ignite political awareness and how politics have dictated style through the decades. Through the exploration of such issues as activism, consumerism, power dressing, gender and sexuality, and appropriation (and re-appropriation?), the exhibition invites visitors to re-think how fashion contributes to social progress (or hinders it?).
The website states to expect to see works from the archives of Hussein Chalayan, Jeremy Scott, Moschino, PETA, Rad Hourani, Christopher Raeburn and Jean Charles de Castelbajac, Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier, Stella McCartney, Mary Quant and Rudi Gernreich. Let’s hope they also included Comme des Garcons and Maison Martin Margiela (both highly political).
Design Exchange presents this provocative topic by taking visitors through a thematic journey in a visually striking environment co-created by acclaimed designer, Jeremy Laing. The exhibit runs from Sept 18 – Jan 25 2014. Admission: $18.50