On the heels of Iron Man the movie starring Robert Downey Jr., this exhibition features approximately 60 ensembles including movie costumes, avant-garde haute couture, and high-performance sportswear to reveal how the superhero such as Iron Man serves as the ultimate metaphor for fashion and its ability to empower and transform the human body.
Designers in the exhibition include Atair, Giorgio Armani, Balenciaga, Pierre Cardin, Dolce & Gabbana, Jean Paul Gaultier, Eiko Ishioka, Alexander McQueen, Julien Macdonald, Moschino, Thierry Mugler, Nike, Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh, Speedo, Spyder, As Four, Walter van Beirendonck, Versace, and Bernhard Willhelm.
Objects are organized thematically around specific superheroes, whose movie costumes and superpowers are catalysts for discussion of key concepts of superheroism and their expression in fashion. Superman and Spider-Man costumes address the subject of The Graphic Body, relating Superman's 'S' chevron to designer logos and branding.
The Flash – a character who possesses superhuman speed - addresses the Aerodynamic Body as manifest in high-tech sportswear including Speedo's "Fastskin LZR Racer" designed by Rei Kawakubo for Michael Phelps and the 2008 United States Olympic swim team, Nike's "Swift Suit" for running, and Descente's "Muscle Suit" for speed skating. Batman and Iron Man represent The Armored Body, and examine avant-garde fashion that merges flesh and metal, skin and chromium. The Mutant Body, denoted by the X-Men, highlights clothing that morphs men into beasts. Ghost Rider (the biker-demon with flaming skull) and The Punisher (the vigilante who sports a giant death-skull emblem on his T-shirt) symbolize The Postmodern Body that suggests an anti-hero identity through the eclectic mixing of street styles.
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