Go Figure: The Fashion Silhouette and the Female Form

Go Figure explores perceptions and representations of Euro-American beauty ideals across the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Through outerwear and undergarments, this historical costume exhibition shows how women’s bodies have been manipulated and shaped to fit fashionable silhouettes at different moments in time. From corsetry and girdles to diet and exercise, shaping the human body is critical to fashion change and illustrates the fluctuating and dynamic nature of socio-cultural conceptions of “beauty.”

Women Empowered: Fashions from the Frontline

WOMEN EMPOWERED: Fashions from the Frontline chronicles how women have strategically and persistently used fashion to empower and uplift. From activists to politicians, academics to servicewomen, artists to athletes, entertainers and everyday unsung heroes, WOMEN EMPOWERED uses fashion to tell the stories of women on the frontlines. The exhibit is therefore organized according to physical spaces--The Street, The Government, The Stage, The Sports Arena, The Academy--where fashion transforms, at times transgresses, and ultimately empowers.

Written in Petals

The Language of Flowers in Victorian Europe

Though an ancient practice, attaching meanings to flowers probably reached the zenith of its expression in the books of the mid-nineteenth century printed in England, France, and the United States. What had started as simply applying connotations – a feeling, a broad concept – had, by Queen Victoria’s reign blossomed into a complex system of messaging that could convey a surprising amount of information in the arrangement of a bouquet.

Concealing and Revealing

The Legacies of American Swimwear

This digital fashion exhibition considers the nuanced social, cultural, and economic implications of swimsuits throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Bathing costumes from the Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection are put in conversation with historical advertisements, photos, and articles that provide context. The exhibit challenges us to think about how the body, garment production, leisure, gender norms, and intersectionality are both concealed and revealed through swimwear.

Clothing Amidst Conflict

Womenswear During World War II

How did global warfare affect women's fashion in the United States during WWII? In this exhibit, we explore women's changing roles during wartime through the clothing they wore. You'll find examples of what women wore in the military, nurse corps, factories, and on the homefront. "Clothing Amidst Conflict" reveals women's undeniable commitment to style during the war.