Walking across Tower Bridge, the biting February wind numbing all my senses, I began to question whether this lengthy trek to visit the Women Fashion Power exhibition was in fact worth braving the bitter city temperatures at all.
Showing at the Design Museum until April, Women Fashion Power takes a retrospective look at twenty-six of the world’s most influential female figures and how their iconic outfits have defined and enhanced their careers to date. Collating an eclectic mix of clothing, photography, archive footage and interviews, the exhibition celebrates some of the most powerful female figures of our time from the worlds of fashion, politics, business and culture.
In itself the exhibition is completely unique and surprisingly magical. As I entered the stark white space I was greeted with an overwhelmingly sense of confidence and power purely from being in the presence of the sartorial wears of such inspiring women. Tartan masterpieces hand stitched by Dame Vivienne Westwood are homed next to an archetypal Margaret Thatcher twinset and vintage Manolos. And it doesn’t stop there; as well as housing the clothes themselves Women Fashion Power also showcases the rise of fashion publications such as Vogue and Harpers Bazaar and documents the evolution of some of the most celebrated fashion garments of our time.
Donna Loveday, Head of Curatorial at the Design Museum and co-curator of the exhibition said: “This exhibition is a celebration of exceptional women. All of the women we invited to contribute to the exhibition were chosen because they are leaders in their field and they understand that the clothes they wear are a part of the way that they communicate with the world. Today we see the evolution of a new power dress code – professional women are engaging with contemporary fashion as a way to express individuality, a sense of style and project empowerment. The women in this exhibition demonstrate their individual approaches to fashion – in their own words.”
Educational, awe inspiring and iconic, the Women Fashion Power exhibition is like an Aladdin’s cave of sartorial delights. Not only does the exhibition display individual gems of fashion history, as a whole it helps us to understand just how important each and every one of these 26 influential women have been in shaping the world we live in today through their unique sense of style. And in answer to my earlier question, yes…it was well worth the walk!
By Jenna Jones
Images: Mirren Rosie