Beauty is only skin deep’ as the proverb has it. This should not be questioned but dress has always conveyed a number of meanings. Dress determines and defines who we are and how others perceive us. It becomes a kind of social label enabling others to classify us as belonging to a certain sex, social and professional group. Sometimes the way we look becomes more important than who we are.
What is conveyed by dress particularly affects women, and this is not only because they are more interested in clothing. If we take a closer look at the history of fashion in many periods in history it was men who became forerunners in the evolution of fashion and they paid closer attention to how they dressed more often than women. Clothing is inseparable from representative functions and their public perception and for ages it has been men who served responsible social functions.
‘Dress’ is an exhibition on women’s clothing. It shows how it determines our behavior. How it controls a woman, and gives others power over her. On the other hand, however, it is a subject of women’s desires, constantly present in their dreams, it is also a ‘security object.’ Most of all it is extremely meaningful. Despite the fact that this exhibition concerns women’s clothing, it is supposed to be a story of the dress and its role, not of a woman as such.