A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Runway

A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk seeks to explore the “gayness” or “queerness” of fashion by drawing attention to the historic presence of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, and other “queer” people in the fashion system. The exhibition, on view beginning September 13th, also looks at the creativity and resistance to oppression expressed by LGBTQ subcultural styles.

From Cristobal Balenciaga and Christian Dior to Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen, many of the greatest fashion designers of the past century have been gay. Indeed, it is widely believed that most male fashion designers are gay. Fashion and style have played an important role within the LGBTQ (lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-queer) community, both pre- and post-Stonewall, and even as early as the eighteenth century. Yet surprisingly little has been researched about high fashion as a site of gay cultural production.

The exhibition features approximately 100 ensembles spanning more than a century of fashion. Organized in roughly chronological order, the exhibition explores the history of modern fashion through the lens of gay and lesbian life and culture, addressing subjects including androgyny, dandyism, idealizing and transgressive aesthetic styles, and the influence of subcultural and street styles, including drag, leather, and uniforms. 

A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Runway
September 13– January 4
Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)
Seventh Avenue at 27 Street

 

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