A New York exhibition shows how extreme weather – such as the East Coast’s ”bombogenesis” today – has influenced fashion across continents and centuries
An icy fashion shoot by John Cowan for Vogue, November 1964, reproduced in Expedition: Fashion from the Extreme (Thames & Hudson) by Patricia Mears et al, which accompanies the exhibition at The Museum at FIT in New York.
CREDIT: THE JOHN COWAN ARCHIVE
So the temperature in New York has risen to minus eight degrees? Phew! After breaking a few records – including that for the entire 20th century – next weekend is expected to drop further to a shivering minus 16 degrees (not even counting the wind chill).
But I could have predicted that back in September, when, gasping from the heat, I dashed into “Expedition: Fashion From the Extreme” at The Museum at FIT (the Fashion Institute of Technology). There were outfits worn by Arctic explorers who reached the North Pole in 1909, while a century later Chanel launched a furry collection for Autumn/Winter 2010 that Karl Lagerfeld set against massive glaciers imported from Sweden.
From left: Puffer coat by Jean Paul Gaultier, “Le Grand Voyage” collection, Autumn/Winter 1994. Lent by Dorothea Mink; Isaac Mizrahi “Lumberjack ball gown” ensemble, Autumn/Winter 1994. Lent by Isaac Mizrahi; (in case) Siberian funerary coat, c. 1900. Lent by American Museum of Natural History; Yohji Yamamoto coat and skirt, dress and fur collar, and evening dress, all Yohji Yamamoto Autumn/Winter 2000