City Pulse

By Angela Eduarte

Courtesy of the Museum at FIT

Forget the chocolate covered strawberries and champagne – FIT knows that a proper seduction can’t be pulled off without the right clothing. For hundreds of years, men and women have used clothing to not only display attractiveness, but also display power and status. The Museum at FIT showcases all of this with their Seduction exhibit.

The connection between clothing and seduction is truly complex, which we learn while viewing the seventy looks and forty accessories on display. From dresses with seemingly miles of crinoline, to flapper dresses from the Roaring Twenties, to Manolo Blahnik stilettos, all are designed to entice, allure, and influence. Some may scoff to think that an evening gown with tiers of fabric could be considered flirtatious, but with just a swing of the wide skirt, men were enticed by a flash of ankle.

Every item displayed is historically connected as well and even the smallest of purses (or reticules) tells its own story. Walking through the exhibit, which starts with displays of lingerie from as early as the nineteenth century, we can see how fashion and society have evolved by the time we approach the black leather evening gown by John Galliano for Christian Dior from 2000. Even my fashionably challenged guy friend who bristled at the invitation (“You seriously expect me to go with you to a museum about clothing?” he complained) couldn’t help but be intrigued at the role fashion has played through the ages.

What: Seduction – 250 Years of Sexuality in Fashion
Where: The Museum at FIT, Seventh Avenue at 27th Street
When: December 9, 2008 through June 16, 2009
Log onto for museum hours.

Originally published January 2009
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