POMP AND CEREMONY: Inaugurations, First Families and Beyond
Related Organization: Historic Garment District Museum of Kansas CityThe fashion of politics is about making a statement—protesting or campaigning for a leader or a cause. We can identify ourselves with a position by what we wear. There are also fashion statements in what we wear to major political events in our history—being appropriately dressed has never mattered as much as it does at political gatherings.
Pomp and Ceremony: Inaugurations, First Families and Beyond looks at what we wore to those political events: the inaugurations, balls, parties, and campaign rallies. Everyone has a garment they have kept because of its relationship to a political event or belief. For many years, the Museum’s auxiliary The Women’s Division was intent on collecting the best pieces of fashion worn to “big” events, paying particular attention to ceremonial wear. Some of the items acquired by the Women’s Division have belonged to a few 20th Century First Ladies.
If there’s one political souvenir kept from presidential elections it’s the campaign button, a candidate’s or party’s best advertising piece. So, in addition to clothing worn, the exhibit also highlights a selection of political ephemera related to presidential campaigns as far back as William Henry Harrison. Buttons, badges, pins and medals are all included.
We have a shared heritage of campaigns and voting—no matter the cause or political figure it is an experience we all participate in. What we wore, what we saved from that experience is the stuff of history.