Photographed by Billie Sheepers
Last Saturday myself and fellow Fashion Promotion student Nia travelled to London on behalf of Platfform for the latest exhibition at the Design Museum. 'Women Fashion Power' began on the 29th of October and runs until April 26th, and is definitely one not to be missed.
The spacious maze on the first floor of the museum is complete with iconic outfits and memorabilia that celebrate and commemorate inspirational women throughout history who have used fashion as a tool to compliment and define their position in the world.
Prior to this, I had recently indulged in Francis Corners easy read ‘Why Fashion Matters’ in attempt to get an deeper understanding on this form of art which I am immersed in on a daily basis, but find myself occasionally comprehending its importance. I picked up on some interesting points supporting the significance of fashion and its presence, or perhaps ephemerality. Having been made aware of the exhibition I was keen to witness the progression of women and dress throughout history condensed into this one space, in addition to the fact it was a great excuse to revisit my spiritual home.
Whilst immersed in the exhibition, I was incredibly empowered by the influence fashion has in contributing to the imprint women have left on society. From politicians, celebrities, designers, princesses, CEOs, dames and sportswomen, the museum showcases how the female race throughout history have used fashion as a illustrative medium to express themselves but in particular, assert authority. The idea that the relationship fashion has with social ideas and situations is lucid throughout, displaying the choice of women's clothing as a mirror in cultural and social occurrences from the eighteenth century to present.
The display is inspiring not only from an observational perspective, but also evoked a sense of awe in me towards the female race and our achievements. Fashion consistently provides us with a platform to exhibit these revolutions. From our progressions, successes, challenges, and achievements, not only do we execute our position in society, but we dictate also how others perceive us through the way we dress.
Women's aesthetics have always suffered a wider degree of scrutiny in comparison to men, placing the importance of the way a woman looks and dresses at the forefront of everything we do. There is a vast amount of diversity when it comes to the way we can dress ourselves which is shaped much more than just our physical form. Our careers, culture, interests, hobbies, relationships, goals and desires all have a huge influence on the clothes we wear and this exhibition truly demonstrated this influential form of self expression.
Having always been a huge fan of the peoples Princess, I was in awe of Diana's black floor length gown. The embellished number was designed for her by Jaques Azagury and worn at the party celebrating her 36th birthday.
Upon reflection, we discussed the items we had witnessed from a historical point of view, expressing how relatable it felt to see not only the minuscule corsets from the 18th century, but the pink velour juicy couture suits which had been sighted not so long ago. It was fascinating to consider what the exhibition would feature ten years from now.
Leaving the museum on the south bank and heading down through the Bermondsey cobbles to find a spot for lunch, we both felt inspired and invigorated by this thing called ‘Fashion’. Despite its harsher edges, Women Fashion Power really inspired me to nourish its presence, because after all - it truly is a mirror to society. The idea that women can continue to decide what that mirror features, was hugely thrilling, reigniting this awareness in me of just how powerful fashion truly is.
Book tickets here - https://designmuseum.org/exhibitions/women-fashion-power
Words - Bryony Caldwell
29th January 2015