Dressing for Dystopia
May 1 – August 12, 2018
SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film SCADshow
1600 Peachtree St NW173 14th Street
Atlanta, GA 30309

SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film presents eminently evocative costumes from the Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning Hulu original series, produced by MGM Television, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” designed by Ane Crabtree. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of SCAD)

In a junk mail-filled world of fast fashion and here-today-gone-tomorrow memes and tweets it’s re-assuring to get reminders that not everything has gone to hell in a hand basket. Proving that words can transcend pages, and that costumes can become iconic symbols, one of those reminders is the continued success (and continual shapeshifting) of writer Margaret Atwood’s delightfully disturbing (and all too real) feminist manifesto, The Handmaid’s Tale. The story, a dystopian nightmare about women being forced into subservient roles after uprising against the US government (first published in 1985) is currently topping the Amazon book sales charts and has been turned into an award-winning streaming series. Now the costumes from the Hulu version of The Handmaid’s Tale have transcended the digital format of zeros and ones to symbolize women’s rights and heated political protest on street level (white bonnets and red capes being worn as symbols of resistance) and these garments are also carefully curated in a climate-controlled museum environment at the Savannah College of Art and Design’s Fashion Museum. The first ever costume design exhibition at Savannah College of Art and Design’s SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film, Dressing for Dystopia showcases a theatrically lit forty-garment exhibition devoted entirely to the art of costume design.

SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film presents eminently evocative costumes from the Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning Hulu original series, produced by MGM Television, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” designed by Ane Crabtree. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of SCAD)

Costume designer Ane Crabtree joined the show’s producers, cast and crew for a Q&A in Atlanta, Georgia at the exhibition opening, followed by a Hulu and SCADFILM-hosted screening of a gripping episode from season two on a balmy Southern night. At the post-preview talk, the award-winning costume designer explained how she re-mixed and updated women’s wear (including work-wear which forms part of her personal style) to avoid overly futurist references or appearing to be “too rusty dusty”. Working with historical looks spanning 400 years of women’s clothing over periods of emancipation and subjugation (400 years being as long as author Margaret Atwood reportedly says it took to write the book). While “As all historians know, the past is a great darkness, and filled with echoes” is one of Atwood’s quotable quotes, our feminist present and future now gets to witness women marching wearing their own versions of the show’s costumes protesting in front of the White House and in front of Congress. The handmaids’ red cloaks and white bonnets have become part of the contemporary anatomy of women’s resistance.

SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film presents eminently evocative costumes from the Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning Hulu original series, produced by MGM Television, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” designed by Ane Crabtree. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of SCAD)