In March I visited the FIT gallery in New York City and this is one of the exhibits there. “The Body: Fashion and Physique”, curated by Emma McClendon, it explored the complex history of the “perfect” body in fashion.

“Fashion is inextricably linked to the physical form of the wearer. The cut of a garment draws the eye to zones of the body, simultaneously accentuating and concealing in order to achieve a desired silhouette. Elaborate undergarments, diet regimens, exercise routines, and even plastic surgery have all been promoted as necessary tools for attaining the ideal fashion shape. However, the idealized fashionable body is a cultural construct. Over the last 250 years, full hips, narrow hips, feminine waists, and boyish frames have each, at different times, been hailed as the pinnacle of beauty. According to a Vogue article from 1950, “A ‘figure’…is considered good or bad only as related to clothing generally, and current fashions specifically”

Here are some of my favorites – see if you can spot the Norma Kamali and the Paul Poiret.


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