If you were ever uncertain about the overwhelming influence of homosexual men in fashion, well, you probably don’t know much about fashion. Some of the most recognizable names ever to reign the industry — Gianni Versace, Christian Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent, just to name a few — all shared a once-reviled sexual orientation.
The Museum at FIT is set to approach the broad subject in a revolutionary exhibit next year, and who better to tackle the challenge than the museum’s director, Dr. Valerie Steele? Dr. Steele, who graduated from Yale with the first PhD granted for fashion (like, ever), planned and curated “Queer Style: From the Closet to the Catwalk” with a fresh perspective in mind. “It makes you look at the whole history of modern fashion from a new angle,” she said of the upcoming exhibit. “Everybody knows that there’s lots of gay people in fashion, and there have been lots of gay designers: Dior, Saint Laurent, Versace, et cetera. But nobody’s ever really thought consciously to put the gayness back into fashion history and say, ‘Why are there so many gay people in fashion?’ and ‘Is there a gay aesthetic?’ and ‘What have been the influences of having so many gay people in fashion?’”