Having a guided tour of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) museum's Dance and Fashion exhibition will be one of the highlights of the tour for me as a fashion student. Prior to our guided tour I was expecting to see the relationship between dancewear and fashion and their separate influence on each other as creative disciplines. I know now just how intertwined the creative industries are. Visual arts links to fashion links to music links to film and so on and this exhibition is a prime example of this.
This exhibition showed examples of the fashions in dance costume (focusing predominantly on ballet costumes) through the last century, moving onto modern dance costumes (an example being Rei Kawakubo's bump pieces that were used for a dance piece) and athleticwear worn for dance training, before showing costumes for niche dance styles such as flamenco dance which I found interesting, I would have loved to see more dance costumes for niche dance styles. The development of Ballet's tutu was highlighted as it was a significant and controversial change at the time. The exhibition also showed fashion designers take on creating dance costumes and fashion that was inspired by dance and its costumes which was less expected. By less expected, I mean that I realise that fashion takes inspiration from many places including dance, however I was expecting this exhibition to focus more on fashion within the realm of dance costume. I found fashion designers take on dance costume to be the most interesting, partially because the creations were for the most part relatively new/modern but also because the designers were able to take fashion and dance costume and put their own aesthetic behind it. Some designers made dance fashion wearable for the street while some made it avant-garde and subverted the original intention and function of the garment or item, elevating it into a work of art, for example the Christian Louboutin Ballet Point heel which takes the shape of a pointe shoe and adds a heel to it.
Sadly, we were ushered out of this exhibition much too soon but it taught me that dancewear can be avant-garde too and that a personal aesthetic makes a world of difference.