Fashion Follows Form: A lesson from The Devil Wears Prada

Posted: June 24, 2014 - 15:22 , by Amanda Girgis
Separating Leather Jacket. IZ Adaptive Clothing. Photo by Adrienne Mountain

Fashion forms culture, history and identity – and likewise fashion can be formed by its function in our daily lives. Our new exhibition, Fashion Follows Form invites Members to think critically about the relationship between function and fashion, in particular it’s inclination to favour form over function.  

Izzy Camilleri, whose designs are featured in Fashion Follows Form, has worked extensively to identify the complexities of the fashion world – her adaptive designs reflect the oversights of the fashion industry and, highlight the impact of decisions made by fashion designers in our lives. Like the high-style bustle fashions of the 1870s and 1880s for example, that extended and changed the shape of a woman’s lower body to emphasize a small waist by extending the hips and bottom. 

Fashion plays a larger role in our lives than we’d like to admit. You may not have a subscription to Vogue, you probably never attended Fashion Week and, you don’t know who Maison Martin Margiela is– but the notion of being self-removed from an industry encompassed by stuff is a notion that doesn't’t quite exist. I’m reminded of a scene played by Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada:

it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff. - Miranda (played by Meryl Streep)

Open link to watch the scene

Klipd The Devil Wears Prada - Belt (Blue Sweater) Scene

Did you know the ROM has the red fur coat worn by Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada on display? It was designed by Izzy Camilleri!

Streep’s point is just the tip of the iceberg. Like the high-style bustle fashions of the 1870s and 1880s, fashion affects each of us in a myriad of different ways – from the shape of our silhouette to the functionality of our wardrobe, it all boils down to what we’re trying to say about ourselves.  The use of the word “fashion” has been reduced allude superficial stuff – when in fact fashion is one of the most powerful and effective tools we have to communicate all the values, thoughts, and ideas that we have. How we dress has everything to do with how we communicate with each other, intentionally and unintentionally. Unfortunately, the function of fashion to act as a messenger isn’t one size fits all. That’s why lines like IZ Adaptive by Izzy Camilleri, are extremely noteworthy; she creates accessible clothing with maximum comfort and maximum style for those in wheelchairs. 

Fashion Follows Form at the Royal Ontario Museum, goes behind Izzy Camilleri’s journey to bring accessible fashions to the forefront and showcases her most innovative pieces. Purchase your tickets to the ROM today.