Queer through fashion: from the closet to the catwalk

by Marisa Fatás,

Following the prevailing norm is not always, nor in many cases synonymous with success.  To break the rules in search of a personality, although difficult and courageous, can be a way to conquer the individual space that is our own right.  This exhibition, A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk, shows the contribution of the LGBTQ group (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, queers) to the world of fashion over the last 300 years.

In chronological order, the presentation begins in the 18th century, around the time of the molly houses or the macronis. There are also pieces of a style similar to that which Oscar Wilde and gays of the same time period were dressed, as well as the Garçonne style and other masculine looks that Marlene Dietrich popularized.  In the 1930’s, we can find works of great gay and lesbian designers such as:  AdrianCristóbal Balenciaga, Pierre Balmain, Christian Dior, Norman Hartnell, Charles James and Edward Molyneux.  We can also study the effects in fashion  caused by the Stonewall riots towards the end of the 1960’s in New York City, which marked the beginning of some opening in the movement, followed by diverse styles and subcultures. And special attention is given to the impact that was caused by AIDS, showing work of some designers like Perry Ellis, Halston, and Bill Robinson who died from this disease.

But beyond the first intention, we find a narration that reveals the history of all those who fought to break free from social constructions that pigionhole or confine sexual gender and identities. And as a result of this freedom, when questioning the “normally accepted”,  consequence of a historical-social product, it is really anomalous.  This exibition celebrates diversity and invites looking for one’s own traits, defined from needs and personal background, in order to find a unique place where  one’s own story can be told.

A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk
The Museum at FIT
September 13, 2013 – January 4, 2014

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