Fashion History

There is a month left of the His & Hers exhibit at the Museum of FIT, a costume show that compares examples men’s and women’s clothes from 1760-2010. It is a small, quiet show that presents the way gender differences were expressed in clothing through several centuries. 18th and 19th century fashions display stark differences, though as the exhibit moves closer to the present, designers begin to subvert conventions. Although there are earlier examples of women appropriating traditional male styling, the designs of Yves Saint Laurent in the 1970s and 80s emerge as a major leap towards the type of androgynous dressing that is accepted in contemporary fashion. His Le Smoking ensemble, first introduced in the mid-1970s, remains an icon of transgressive sexual ambiguity.

Above: 1920s

Left: Bonnie Cashin Hostess Apron and Necktie
Far Right: Sportsmaker (Tom Brigance) playsuit

Yves Saint Laurent
Center: Le smoking ensemble: jacket, blouse, cummerbund, trousers
Black wool, black silk satin, ivory silk satin
Circa 1982, France
Right: Suit
Black and white checkered wool, silk charmeuse.
Fall 1983


Contemporary, including:
John Bartlett Mens and Womens Fall 2010
Right picture, pair on left
Burberry Prorsum Mens and Womens Fall 2010
Right picture, pair on right

Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology
Seventh Avenue at 27 Street
New York City 10001-5992

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