Fashion is a part of the world and part of history. It’s not a meaningless swirl of meaningless clothes. They (clothes) reflect the times.
I think fashion is probably one of the most accessible and immediate forms of visual culture. In 1978, when I realized that I wanted to work on fashion, I had gone to Yale to get my Ph.D. in European cultural history. I suddenly realized fashion’s part of culture, and I can do fashion history. All my professors thought this was a really bad idea, that fashion was frivolous and unimportant. And, increasingly over time, people have recognized that it provides such a mirror to the way we think, our values and attitudes.
Fashion museums think the more you know about the significance of clothes culturally, the more interesting they are. We certainly don’t neglect the aesthetic aspects of clothes. But, I feel that what sets us apart from social, economic, and even aesthetic, or art historical context is that we are not only talking about clothes as kind of art objects created by an artist designer, but also we’re talking about the various meanings that clothes have in the world, and how that changes and how we kind of create meanings around clothes.
The item of clothing that makes us feel powerful is the one that makes us feel confident and self-assured, that magically makes us look our best in all kinds of circumstances.
Unlike art, the consumption of fashion is not based primarily on knowledge or education but functions through visual awareness, a type of sensuality and perception of the corporeal self.
Very rarely is there actually a functional reason for a fashion rule
Power dressing is combat gear for the trip to the top.
Fashion has been collected and exhibited for many years. People were picking up clothing of famous individuals, like Marie Antoinette’s shoe or Napoleon’s hat. That part of the resistance to having fashion in museums had to do with it being associated with femininity, and with the female body. Yet, as early as the 18th century, some people were recognizing that just as you collected art, you, might think about collecting fashion for museums, because it would provide insight into the way people thought about their lives and, and the way they envisioned themselves.
The stiletto is the icon of erotic femininity. You’re taller, thinner and curvier, all at the same time. What’s not to like?
I think that a lot of our fashion history shows do touch on important issues. Fashion and Technology obviously does, because technology is impacting fashion in so many ways, from computer-assisted design to the way we actually purchase clothes online.