Is fashion inherently gay? Are gays inherently fashionable? Based on the number of flip-flops and cargo shorts we’ve observed this summer, we’d say the answer to the latter is a resounding no. However, one cannot deny that fashion is…pretty gay.
And that’s a great thing. Some of the most prolific fashion designers have been gay — from Cristobol Balenciaga, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld to Gianni Versace, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen and Tom Ford. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a heterosexual man in that sartorial pantheon. At least one who was telling the truth.
Fashion has also been notably open and accepting of the alternative, the avant-garde and the queer, being one of the first industries to mobilize support in the face of the AIDS crisis. This fall, the Museum at FIT will present the first-ever major exhibit to examine this “queerness” and the contributions of LGBTQ people to fashion.
A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk will feature over 100 ensembles worn and designed by fashion icons including Marlene Dietrich, Andy Warhol, Saint Laurent and McQueen. The collection will examine “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 opens September 13 and will run through January 4, 2014 at the Museum at FIT on Seventh Ave at 27th Street in New York; admission is free. In addition, the Museum will organize a variety of free public programs, an educational website and a catalog by Yale University Press. To drum up support, the Museum started its first Kickstarter campaign, though it is far from its $15,000 goal with only six days left.
We’re praying to the gay gods of fashion that the Museum at FIT meets its goal, thus teaching the children the importance of a bias cut and the beauty of a cinched waist. Dior, hear our prayers.