Eevee’s Valentina Lorenzon reviews the Women Fashion Power exhibit at the London Design museum…
Women Fashion Power, on at the Design Museum until April 2015, looks at the last 150 years of fashion through archive footage, interviews with influential women of our time, photos and iconic outfits.
It’s the first exhibition that actually looks at fashion from women’s perspective. For once, the story is not told through designer creations or trends but through the women who wear the clothes. Over the decades, especially in a business context, what women wear has often been considered as a distraction from their skills and achievements. The exhibition shows how things have changed in the last few years. Powerful women in all domains from politics to show business make a clear statement through their way of dressing; clothes are not detracting from their work anymore but they are strengthening their image and reputation.
What’s on display
Created by architect Zara Hadid, the exhibition consists of three sections.
The Corridor of Power
This section looks at the fashion style of 16 influential women throughout history. Each one of them represents the society of her time and through her outfits has expressed her personality and built an authoritative image. From Joan of Arc, disguising her femininity to show power and confidence to Angela Merkel’s formal male suits through Lady Diana and Michelle Obama, all these women used or are using fashion to their advantage.
The 150 year Timeline
Fashion trends mirror the ideas and values of the society that created them so this section looks at a series of cultural and socio-political events that originated or influenced the changes that led to the creation of modern fashion.
From the rise of department stores to the suffragette movement, from WWI to the feminist movement, this series of events – seemingly unrelated to fit – made fashion a more accessible and practical tool, helping women to gain their status in a historically male-dominated society.
Arena of Power
Here visitors can find a series of outfits given by 26 prominent women from different domains. The contributors, including among others Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, Livia Firth, creative director of Eco-Age, Dame Vivienne Westwood and the musician Skin, also shared their style philosophy and their views on how the choice of the right outfit can help in the field they work in.
Rich in content and unique in its kind, the exhibition is definitely worth visiting. In a society totally obsessed with image and look, the display gives away a very refreshing perspective. Rather than blindly following trends, each woman should choose those dresses that make her feel at ease and powerful. Fashion is more than a frivolous affair, it’s about telling the world what we stand for and what we believe in.