Are these the most iconic fashion items ever?

Fashion is the essence of everything that’s going on at any time,” says Paola Antonelli, a senior curator at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, MoMA. “Because what people wear is the immediate expression of the moods, the feelings and the ideas of a moment.

The exhibition, Items: Is Fashion Modern? explores the fascinating factors and characteristics that make certain pieces of clothing timeless or symbolic, and takes an in-depth look at what our clothes can tell us about our past, our present and our future.

The fashion words that cause offence

For anyone familiar with fashion magazines, the term ‘nude’ – referring to a colour rather than a state of undress – is often part of the established vocabulary. Used synonymously with ‘flesh-toned’, it is an adjective liberally applied to anything off-white to champagne, blush and rose. When Beyoncé came to the Met Ball in a peach Givenchy gown, when Michelle Obama wore beige to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and when Kim Kardashian wore a pale-pink bodysuit, style publications repeatedly described their outfits as ‘nude’ or ‘flesh-coloured’. The problem? The tone of flesh in question clearly referenced pale-white skin, rather than the skin of the women wearing the clothes.

Nude is often a blind spot for fashion writers, perhaps in part because it is given credence by respected organisations. Pantone, the world-renowned authority on colour, has a ‘nude’ shade (a pale pink), which adds an acceptable gloss to the term’s use. Up until 2015, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defined the word ‘nude’ as relating to nakedness or "having the colour of a white person's skin."


Show More Articles




Knowledge Base
Terms of services
Privacy Policy