Think the intersection of fashion and politics is just about Michelle Obama’s toned arms and Hillary Clinton’s bland pantsuits?

vivienne-tam-mao-suitThen you need a history lesson:  prepare to be dazzled by lots of American flag draping and Mao wear at the FIT Museum‘s (located at 7th Ave and 27th St in NYC) new Fashion & Politics exhibition, showcasing 200 years of stylish political statements.

Among the exhibits:

…a woman’s costume, circa 1889, printed with an American flag motif, as well as Catherine Malandrino’s iconic Flag Dress, worn by numerous celebrities and socialites to express patriotism after 9/11, and then again in response to the 2008 elections. Also featured will be an “IKE” dress from the 1956 Eisenhower Campaign, a “NIXON” paper dress, and memorabilia from the historic 2008 presidential elections.

catherine-malandrino-flag-dressInteresting sidenote:  I always associate Malandrino’s dress–which can still be purchased for the tidy sum of $450–with the patriotic aftermath of 9/11, but the dress was actually designed in the spring of 2001, then relaunched this year to commemorate Obama’s inaguration and Malandrino’s 10th anniversary.

Also on display will be outfits representing Civil War women’s support of the Union and Confederacy (modeled on their male soldier counterparts), early 20th century “split skirts” that allowed women to comfortably ride bicycles, and denim jumpsuits worn by Rosie the Riveters during WWII.

And while not part of the official Fashion and Politics exhibit, Isabel Toledo’s unforgettable chartreuse design worn by First Lady Michelle Obama at 2009’s Presidential Inauguration can be viewed at the museum as well.

View local news station NY1’s  preview of the the show here, and a slideshow of the show’s design’s here.