On the fashion of powerful women and fashion making women powerful

This is true:

The right dress can make a career. The wrong one can make headlines. But a scandalous dress can do both.

But so is this:

Interviewer: Okay. Which designers do you prefer?

Hillary Clinton: What designers of clothes?

Interviewer: Yes.

Hillary Clinton: Would you ever ask a man that question?

Interviewer: Probably not. Probably not.

Where do I settle?

I see a clear distinction between the fashion of powerful women and when fashion makes women powerful. These notions are by no means mutually exclusive, but they are absolutely not the same thing. But generally speaking, I find moments that fashion augments women’s power far more interesting than what powerful women happen to be wearing.

My favourite of the NYMag slideshow, btw? Josephine Baker.

“Since I personified the savage on stage, I tried to be as civilized as possible in daily life.”                                                                                                                                              —Josephine Baker

By donning a skirt of rubber bananas at Paris’s Folies Bergère, the American-born black cabaret sensation Josephine Baker — whom reviewers at the time described as “savage” and “primitive” — exploited colonial fantasies of racial and sexual difference and claimed her body’s power as her own.




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