What is the relationship between clothing and temptation? That is exactly what the latest exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum examines. “Seduction”, the title of the exhibit, contains both vintage and contemporary pieces.
The oldest garment on display is a gown from 1785 with an open-front bodice. Perhaps a bit tame by today’s standards, but it serves as the genesis for a timeline of the evolution of society’s definition of sexy spanning 250 years. More contemporary pieces include a 2004 Olivier Theyskens for Rochas wedding gown and a playboy bunny suit that can only be worn at the Playboy Mansion and is made in 34D or 36D, a literal example of “controlled” sexiness.
Other pieces have a history as seductive as the garment itself. The 1958 Cristóbal Balenciaga cocktail dress on display once belonged to Ann Woodward, wife to banking heir William Woodward Jr., who shot and killed her husband when she mistook him for a prowler.
The exhibit brings us back to the idea that leaving something to the imagination can be just as seductive as baring some skin. Eloquently put by curator Colleen Hill, “The proximity of clothing to the body is inherently sensual, conveyed through the strategic interplay of exposure and concealment.” Think about that the next time you get dressed and you’ll find it hard not to feel sexy in whatever you put on.
The exhibit will be on display until June 16, 2009.
Closed Sunday, Monday and legal holidays
Admission is free.