Body Beautiful is an exhibition being held at the National Museum of Scotland that celebrates all different types of diversity on the catwalk specifically: disability, size, age, LGBTQIA+ and race.
The display was put together by the museums senior curator of modern art and fashion Georgina Ripley. This came about when they were looking for something fashion related yet meaningful at the end of 2018.
Inspiration sparked after Edward Enninfull became the first black editor in chief of British Vogue and the fall 2017 shows were the most diverse we have seen in history. It was a new age for representation in fashion and the National Museum of Scotland portrayed this.
Georgina Ripley told Vogue
“It’s not really an exhibition about fashion; it’s about something so much bigger. It’s about culture, social history. In terms of building an audience, hopefully it has a bigger scope of interest to encourage people to come see it. There are five themes—race, age, disability, gender and sexuality, and size—and we’re aiming for four to five designers within each [theme].”
The fashion industry often faces backlash over the misrepresentation of society on a whole, so it’s refreshing to see a showcase that focuses on how far representation has come.
The exhibition features pieces from Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood and Glasgow born Charles Jeffrey. Brought to life through photography, film and of course fashion.
An aspect that stood out, focussed on Irish writer and disability activist Sinéad Burke who was behind the TED talk “Why design should include everyone”.
Burke has come to light after speaking up for people who are neglected by mainstream designers. Her bespoke Burberry trench coat and Christopher Kane dress are on display at the exhibition.
In the documentary shown at the exhibition Burke said,
“Inclusivity in fashion needs to evolve from just being a moment to a movement”.
It’s a powerful and thought provoking display of diversity. The exhibition is open until October 20, 2019 at the National Museum of Scotland on Chambers street and admission is free.