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Museum Exhibit: "His and Hers" at the Museum at FIT in New York City

Alexander McQueen, evening dress, black leather, white silk, black tulle, fall 2008, France.
Mens 3-piece court suit, striped silk velvet and multicolor silk embroidery, France, c. 1785.
Mr. Fish, man’s suit, stenciled beige velvet, circa 1970, England.
Yves Saint Laurent, woman’s tuxedo, black wool, black satin, ivory silk, circa 1982, USA.
Yves Saint Laurent, suit, black and white checkered wool, silk charmeuse, fall 1983, France.
Miami Vice man’s suit, white linen, magenta cotton knit, aqua cotton, 1989, USA, gift of Universal City Studios.
Alexander McQueen, evening dress, black leather, white silk, black tulle, fall 2008, France.

Alexander McQueen, evening dress, black leather, white silk, black tulle, fall 2008, France.

Photo: Courtesy of The Museum at FIT

"His and Hers"
The Museum at FIT is currrently running "His and Hers," an exhibit that explores the relationship between gender and fashion over the past 250 years. When I was young, I visited my grandmother often. She never wore pants. In fact, she didn't own a pair of pants. She wore a "house" dress on most days, and felt that pants were for men. The gender definition of what should or shouldn't be worn has changed many times over during the last 250 years, and often varies from region to region. This exhibit travels through the fashions during that period of time, noting the changes that occured. 

Gender Similarities and Differences
While much of the exhibit discusses the changing ideas of “appropriate” attire for each gender, it also includes examples of so-called unisex and androgynous fashion. Side-by-side comparisons of men’s and women’s clothing highlight their differences—and similarities. More than 100 garments, accessories, and textiles from The Museum’s permanent collection are featured chronologically, from a seemingly “feminine” 18th-century man’s velvet suit, to a woman’s “power suit” from the 1980s. Other works include  innovative designers such as Giorgio Armani, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Gianni Versace, and Vivienne Westwood.

Have you seen the exhibit?
If you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit this exhibit, please tell us about it. If you're not able to, you can learn more by visiting the Museum's website.

amm April M. Mohr, contributor
Posted on Feb 22nd, 2011 in design

Comments (8)

sewingpeanut sewingpeanut writes: We live in Singapore for several months each year so I was able to see the Valentino exhibit which was recently on display here. I didn't count the number of gowns, but they advertised "!00 Gowns of Valentino." It was spectacular -- and the display hall could not have been more ideal if it had been built with the exhibit in mind. The gowns were in individual cases that allowed very close observation -- and they allowed people to take pictures! The fabric treatments and beading were beyond description. It was a memorable event!
Posted: 1:07 am on February 26th

pencandance pencandance writes: Gender roles will never truly be liberated until a secure Alpha male, very much in the public eye, wears a skirt, dress, or equivalent to some important function. And I don’t mean something clichéd, sensational, suggestive, fetishistic, or overtly frilly or girlish either. It’s going to be much subtler and more mature than that, oozing with taste and confidence -- a breakthrough in cross-gender coherence such as only a celebrity would be permitted to achieve. It will split more than just the atom of fashion. It will be an epochal moment for all of us.


Posted: 10:42 pm on February 23rd

ustabahippie ustabahippie writes: Sorry that posted 3 times! My computer seems to be possessed.
Posted: 3:21 pm on February 23rd

ustabahippie ustabahippie writes: I watched a program last night showing what women movie stars have worn on the "red carpet" almost since the beginning of the Oscars. During the '70's was the only time women wore pants.
Posted: 3:20 pm on February 23rd

ustabahippie ustabahippie writes: I watched a program last night showing what women movie stars have worn on the "red carpet" almost since the beginning of the Oscars. During the '70's was the only time women wore pants.
Posted: 3:20 pm on February 23rd

ustabahippie ustabahippie writes: I watched a program last night showing what women movie stars have worn on the "red carpet" almost since the beginning of the Oscars. During the '70's was the only time women wore pants.
Posted: 3:20 pm on February 23rd

Neosha Neosha writes: In 1971 or 1972 I was the first woman faculty member at the University of New Mexico to wear a pants suit to work. The campus photographer came and took photos of me. It was a suit I made. black and white stripes of different widths going around the body (I was much thinner then). Wide-legs and long vest.
Posted: 9:18 am on February 23rd

lovetosew247 lovetosew247 writes: Somewhere I have a newspaper clipping that women were given the 'ok' to wear pants to work - in 1968! I used it as an example of the Women's Movement in my daughter's Girl Scout troop many years ago! This would be a fascinating exhibit to see. Thank you for showing us.

Posted: 8:15 am on February 23rd

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