Dress for Success
Leather, thread, batting, grommets, hooks
24 x 18 x 5 in. (60.96 x 45.72 x 12.7 cm)
Gift of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York; Hassam, Speicher, Betts and Symons Funds, 2019.011.01
Brooklyn-based artist Rose Nestler describes her sculptures as having an “alert softness” that reflects the tension between the exterior and the interior self. Dress for Success realizes this duality by pairing its armored facade of conical breasts with its soft, deflated form. The sculpture is part of Nestler’s Power Suit series. In this ongoing body of work, she reinterprets iconic items of clothing that were originally designed to conceal, shield, or enhance women's bodies. The term “power suit” refers to the wide-shouldered, angularly cut business attire worn by many women during the 1980s in the corporate sector, a space historically dominated by men.