I was on a panel at TEFAF Spring 2018 titled “RESTRAINING/ADVANCING WOMEN IN POSTWAR AMERICA – IN ART, FASHION, AND MEDIA, 1947-1970” / Restraining and advancing was the critical tension in the depictions of women in art, media, and fashion throughout the 20th century. Perhaps no other period saw such polarized representations as the post-World War II era. Overnight, “Rosie the Riveter” replaced her overalls and tool belt for corsets and the kitchen. While extreme ideals around gender, family, and society encouraged women to become perfect homemakers in America’s sprawling, homogenous suburbs, a counterculture was emerging that directly challenged repressive norms and advanced women’s rights. In a flash, housecoats became stilettos and women’s aspirations moved from those of Donna Reed to Twiggy to Gloria Steinem. Our panelists explore this fascinating topic through the period’s art, fashion, and media while considering its relation to today.
Panel: Michelle Finamore, Penny Vinik Curator of Fashion Arts, Boston Museum of Fine Arts; Michelle Millar Fisher, The Louis C. Madeira IV Assistant Curator of European Decorative Arts, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Shannon Bell Price, Director, External Partnerships & Cultural Affairs, The School of Fashion, Parsons School of Design, The New School; Catherine Zuber, Costume Designer; Moderator: Steven Faerm, Associate Professor Fashion and Design, Parsons School of Design, The New School