& Everything Relates to Fashion

From historical events to scientific discoveries  to pop culture..... everything relates to fashion

My art history professor once argued that she could relate anything and anyone to fashion, as to which one of my classmates replied "How about Amelia Earhart?" .....turns out Amelia Earhart had her own design line at Macy's back in the day. Point Proven.

With all this in mind, I have recently been wondering how androgyny came to be such an influence in the fashion relm nowadays. Menswear is a huge influence on the womenswear looks of today. From high-end to H&M, everyone's doing it.  After learning/researching corsets of the 1800s and 1900s while comparing them today's fashion, I became intensely intrigued about how the corsetted woman of the 1800s has become the free-boobin' lady of the 21st century.

Lucky for me, the Fashion Institute of Technology recently revealed their newest exhibition "A Queer History of Fashion": a tale of how lesbian and gay culture has transformed fashion throughout the ages as well as celebrating the life of all of the gay and lesbian designers (and socialites) of the past and present.

As you walk down the steps leading to the exhibition, you get an overwhelming feeling that you are walking towards a milestone, not only in fashion but in culture. (which are one in the same) Swinging open the double doors, you are immediately faced with a display of  Oscar Wilde's dandy man and pretty gentleman looks. Just one of the great pioneers of fashion versatile for the man and the woman. 

 In the larger exhibition room designers from every era of fashion history are represented. It is a fashion junkie's heaven. From original Dior New Look looks, Mainboucher dresses, Marlene Dietrich's favorite outfits, Geoffrey Beene's paper dress for the Love Ball AIDS benefit, Halston dresses, Narciso Rodriguez look's, Alexander McQueen creations, and even one of Ru Paul's outfits, along with many many more ,there are more than enough pieces of fashion history to make you drool. 

These names seem like a mismatch of fashion but they are all tied together with one common theme, the queer history of fashion. The deisgners were either gay themselves or were designing garments for the lesbian and gay fashionistas of the time. 

A famous McQueen quote was displayed next to his garments to represent the underlying theme "My collections have always been autobiographical, a lot to do with coming to terms with the person I am."  
Narciso Rodriguez was quoted for saying he designs for the love of women and creating beautiful things for them. 
As for Marlene Dietrich, she is famously known as one of the first women to publicly wear pants, affecting women's fashion for years to come. 
Ru Paul is more than a popular gay television celebrity, he is also the modern day representative for the MAC cosmetics AIDS fund. 
And Chanel's la garconne looks of the 20s and 30s were even displayed to show her love of men displayed through female fashion. 
Underlying theme: the love of men and women no matter what your sexual orientation may be.

Of course there were modern lesbian and gay culture fashion represented with a few leather ensembles, plaid garments inspired by the 'bear' subculture, and even a completely sequined outfit worn by Liberace.

After experiencing the exhibition firsthand, it is clear to see how fashion came to be today.  LGBTQ culture was not the sole influence of androgynous and menswear influences we see in fashion today, but they no doubt were a contributing factor. 

Everything relates to fashion and Fashion is everything.
During most of the exhibition, cameras were forbidden. Therefore I recommend you go and see these works of art first hand. They are just too beautiful to be appreciated only through photos. plus, who wouldn't want to miss a chance of seeing staples of fashion history at no cost whatsoever (except maybe your subway ride). This exhibition is definitely a must see.

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