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Love and War: The Weaponized Woman

WEAPONS OF SEDUCTION: Armor + Lingerie = Fierce Fashion at The Museum at FIT

John Galliano for Christian Dior, silk camouflage evening dress, Spring 2001, France, museum purchase. Issey Miyake, molded plastic red bustier, 1983, Japan, gift of Krizia Co.
Boudicca , “White Stealth Look #1” from the Invisible City Collection, 2006, England, museum purchase. Valentino, metal and leather handbag, 2005, Italy, museum purchase.

September 1, 2006 - Joan of Arc is an unlikely fashion icon, but designers today are increasingly channeling the spirit of warrior women.


Love and War: The Weaponized Woman
, a visually stunning and intellectually daring exhibition on view at The Museum at FIT from September 9 through December 16, 2006, takes an unprecedented look at the influence of armor and other military styles on fashion. But it's not all chain mail and camouflage. As designers seek to express sensuality, as well as power, they also reference lingerie.


"If lingerie is like soft skin, armor is a hard exoskeleton," said Dr. Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of The Museum at FIT. "Lingerie symbolizes nakedness, intimacy and seduction, while armor is associated with authority, protection and discipline. Of course, different designers take different approaches to this dialogue between silk and steel. The British design team Boudicca create styles that evoke transgressive warrior women, while Jean Paul Gaultier does camouflage couture, Issey Miyake makes references to samurai armor, and Narciso Rodriquez blends silk with chain mail."

Featuring approximately eighty contemporary garments by leading designers, Love and War: The Weaponized Woman will be divided into four sections:

The Weaponized Woman will feature warrior-like fashions by designers, such as Boudicca, Jean Paul Gaultier, Helmut Lang, Versace, and Yohji Yamamoto, as well as an example of theatrical armor worn by an actress playing Joan of Arc.

The Hard Body will pair an armored breastplate from the Renaissance with high fashion equivalents such as Issey Miyake's red fiberglass bodice shaped like a naked female torso and Hussein Chalayan's fiberglass dress. Thierry Mugler's extraordinary metal fashions will also be featured.

Officers, Not Gentlemen will show how military uniforms are used in contemporary fashion. Examples will include Burberry's silk taffeta trench coat, a bias-cut camouflage evening dress by John Galliano for Christian Dior, and Junya Wantanbe's WWI-inspired skirt and jacket.

Skin2: Weapons of Seduction will explore the allure of lingerie with a snakeskin brassiere ensemble by Azzedine Alaia, a "nude" corset by Peter Soronen, and a white tulle corseted ballgown by Olivier Theyskens for Marcel Rochas

Among the designers represented are Azzedine Alaia, Boudicca, Burberry, Comme des Garçons, John Galliano for Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Helmut Lang, Sheane Leane, Lost Art, Alexander McQueen, Issey Miyake, Thierry Mugler, Josie Natori, Olivier Theyskens for Marcel Rochas, Maggie Norris, Zac Posen, Paco Rabanne, Narciso Rodriguez, Elsa Schiaparelli, A.F. Vandervorst, Versace, Yohji Yamamoto,Yeohlee, and Jean Yu.

Love and War: The Weaponized Woman will also include artwork by Cat Chow and photographs by Tanya Marcuse, as well as historic armor from the Higgins Armory Museum, military uniforms, and lingerie, both historic and contemporary. The exhibition is organized by Dr. Steele; Patricia Mears, research curator; and Fred Dennis, associate curator of costume. It is made possible by The Coby Foundation, Ltd., New York.

View the exhibition online at The Museum at FIT - fitnyc.edu/museum/loveandwar/~



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