She's Like a Rainbow: Colors in Fashion

She's Like a Rainbow: Colors in Fashion

November 11, 2006 - May 5, 2007

She's Like a Rainbow: Colors in Fashion, the third exhibition in the Fashion and Textile History Gallery, explores the history, symbolism, science and psychology of color in fashion. Why is red the color of passion and revolution? Why is blue such a popular color, whereas yellow has so many negative associations? Why is black today's most fashionable color?

She's Like a Rainbow covers 250 years of fashion history, and features more than 150 fashions, accessories, and textiles from the museum's permanent collection of 80,000 objects. Highlights include a genuine little red riding hood from the 18th century, an early pair of blue jeans, a newly fashionable yellow dress from 1750, a white summer dress from 1867 resembling one worn by the central figure in Claude Monet's Women in a Garden, a hot pink dress by Elsa Schiaparelli, and a sexy black cocktail dress by Thierry Mugler. "Color is one of the most fundamental components of fashion," says Steele, "yet it is often misunderstood. This is because color is not simply a natural phenomenon (the sky is blue, or at least it looks blue); it is also a complex cultural construct. Color has a history. Thus, color symbolism varies greatly across cultures, and changes over time."

This exhibition has been organized by Dr. Valerie Steele, museum director, together with Patricia Mears, research curator, Fred Dennis, associate curator of costume; Harumi Hotta, textile educational associate, and Clare Sauro, assistant curator of accessories. An earlier version of She's Like a Rainbow was presented at The Rodin Gallery in Seoul, Korea in 2005, in conjunction with the Samsung Art and Design Institute (SADI).

She's Like a Rainbow: Colors in Fashion is sponsored by ELLE Magazine and Redken 5th Avenue NYC.