Fashion label Women’s History Museum is here to (re)teach us how to dress. Contemporary museums are homes to artifacts of elitist male civilization, a place of fetishizing, gawking, and violence—all things women and their bodies are routinely submitted to. The Women’s History Museum wants to break free of this staid, oppressive form. Turning their model-collaborators’ bodies into a bricolage of found materials, garments of all eras, and unfamiliar accessories, they counter industrialized fashion with sartorial collage. Old shower caps and 1880s bustle skirts are revitalized to create not just new garments, but new identities.
Dress Tutorials by Women’s History Museum and Jack Scanlan revise the complex history of women’s dress. The rescue of each garment or garment fragment is a personal rebirth—each dress an amalgamation of eras, purposes, codes, textiles. Napkin rings meet couture. Temporary tattoos accent fleece. Visibility and invisibility become muddied as each layer piles up; some garments protect as much as they excite. Well beyond cute, these garments are fantastic, guiding us to new fashion futures.