Alexander McQueen, Plato’s Atlantis collection, Spring 2010, England, museum purchase.
Force of Nature examines how the beauty and complexity of the natural world have inspired fashion designers for centuries. The exhibition places more than 75 objects from MFIT’s permanent collection, dating from the 18th century to the present, within a context of period philosophies and scientific literature in order to demonstrate the deep interconnectedness between fashion and nature. An enthusiasm for country life is represented with a 1785 robe à l’anglaise that illustrates a movement towards simple dress, influenced by philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau, who urged a return to nature. A dress by Alexander McQueen from his acclaimed final collection in 2010, presents a meditation upon Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and concern over climate change. More than a survey of flora, fauna, and geology as merely decorative, the exhibition reveals the natural world as a nexus of ideas and symbolism in fashion design. Force of Nature aims to contribute to today’s important, ongoing conversation about society’s relationship with the natural world and humankind’s place within it.