- Robyn Turk
The Museum at FIT is exploring the power of fashion in a new
exhibition. Opening today, December 10, Power Mode: The Force of
Fashion offers visitors a look into the many roles fashion can play in
establishing, reinforcing, and challenging power dynamics within
“The force of fashion is symbolic. It is social. It is related to
political position and economic status. It is also tied to military
strength, sexual authority, rebellion, and protest. Power, in this
sense, is part personal identity, part behavior, and part visual
expression,” reads an exhibition description on the museum’s
Curated by associate curator of costume Emma McClendon, the
exhibition is organized into five themes that illustrate the
correlation between dressing and power. These themse are the influence
of military uniforms, status dressing, suits, resistance and sex.
In taking a thematic approach, the exhibition does not divide
clothing chronologically or by gender. Therefore, men’s and women’s
clothing items are displayed side by side, as are pieces from as early
as the 18th century with pieces from contemporary collections.
Over 50 items from FIT’s permanent collection are displayed in
Power Mode; many of these pieces have never before been on public
view. Designers featured in the exhibition include Virgil Abloh for
Off-White, Ricardo Tisci for Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Thom
Browne, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Demna Gvasalia for Vetements, Maria
Grazie Chiuri for Dior and Reebok by Pyer Moss.