University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota
May 2-3, 2014
The third in a series of events entitled “Fashion And … ” connecting fashion with other themes of importance in today’s world, this symposium will focus on relationships between fashion and communication.
Topics may include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Fashion branding and communication
- Fashion communication in the retail environment
- Fashion as nonverbal communication
- Fashion and emerging forms of communication
- Innovative teaching and fashion communication
Deadline for submissions is January 5, 2014
View the full posting and submission guidelines at the University of Minnesota webpage.
Marchesa Luisa Casati was renowned for her unique and haunting image, one that she carefully cultivated in order to become a “living work of art.” While Casati served as muse to artists of many mediums during her lifetime, her visage and many eccentricities continue to be the subject of art, film, and fashion into the twenty-first century.
Augustus Edwin John, 1919 Lagerfeld for Chanel Resort 2010
Man Ray, 1922 Tilda Swinton for Acne Paper, F/W 2009
The Marchesa in a bold graphic robe Styling by Lagerfeld, The New Yorker 2003
Giovanni Boldini, 1908 Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2007
Adolph De Meyer, 1912 Galliano for Dior Couture Spring/Summer 1998
Casati at a Beaumont Ball, 1920s Georgina Chapman for Harper’s Bazaar, March 2009
Augustus Edwin John, c. 1942 John Galliano RTW Fall 2007
Click here for more information about the Marchesa’s unique style.
Congratulations to Charisma Lee, first entry to answer all of yesterday’s questions correctly.
1) Travis Banton for “Cleopatra” (1934)
2) Orry-Kelly first won an Oscar in 1951 for An American in Paris
3) Cary Grant
Every Friday night this month, Turner Classic Movies’ Friday Night Spotlight will focus on costume design. Hosted by Deborah Nadoolman Landis, film and theater costume designer and author of several books. Every Friday, Nadoolman Landis will introduce four films of her choice and discuss the costume design for the films.
In honour of the event, Worn Through is giving away a copy of the Abrams publication, Hollywood Costume, edited by Deborah Nadoolman Landis. The Victoria & Albert exhibition that accompanies the book is currently still on display through February at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Heather Vaughan reviewed the costumes for one of Deborah’s first choices, Cleopatra, starring Claudette Colbert, here on Worn Through in 2010. Heather has also reviewed Hollywood Costume on her own blog, Fashion Historia, just this week.
Image from page 137. Copyright: Victoria and Albert Museum. Via Abrams Publishing.
To win the book, be the first person to email me the answers to the following three questions about the first films and designers Deborah Nadoolman Landis has chosen for this Friday (December 6):
1) For which film was the above costume designed, and by whom?
2) In what year and for which film did Orry-Kelly win the Academy Award for costume design?
3) Which actor starred in 1932′s Blonde Venus, costumed by Travis Banton, and then went on to star in 1944′s Arsenic and Old Lace, costumed by Orry-Kelly?
I will email the winner immediately, and share my impressions of the Friday Night Spotlight on Turner Classic Movies in my next post on December 18.
Last week ended what had been 10 days of a highly publicised and successful exhibition, Miss Dior at the Grand Palais. To celebrate the 66th anniversary (I must admit I didn’t know these birthdays were meant to be celebrated!) of the perfume’s launch, the Dior house organised a major display combining historical review and contemporary art commissions. The entrance was free and the exhibition had gained such publicity that numerous visitors attended the show that was, I must say, quite beautiful.
Raf Simons – Dior Haute Couture 2012
Photo: Hayley Dujardin-Edwards, 2013
As I said, the interesting aspect of this exposition is that it handled patrimonial questions, presenting the perfume’s history and a few key moments concerning the fashion house, and it highlighted conceptual art installations specially commissioned near 15 contemporary feminine artists reinterpreting the Miss Dior codes.
Various themes organised the space. As an introduction, to somehow justify the reunion between art and fashion within this exhibition, the luxury house evoked Christian Dior’s first job as an art dealer and his strong friendship with some of the pre-war most major artists. Therefore, were presented art works by Bernard Buffet or Marc Chagall and personnel mementos, photographies, letters…that illustrated the future couturier’s close collaboration with the surrealist movement. This space was placed on an upper open floor overlooking the rest of the exhibition: it pushed the visitor to look upon the 15 contemporary art pieces with a different feeling, a sense of continuity…You could then come down a few steps into the exposition and explore what linked the past and the present.
Photo: Hayley Dujardin-Edwards, 2013
The exhibition also clearly illustrated the powerful influence of flowers on Christian Dior’s work, infused by his childhood Normandie mansion or his Provençal home. An influence illustrated by the couturier’s creations that resembled flower bouquets – objects such as garments and drawings helped demonstrate this effect- and epitomized by the perfume’s scent.
The perfume was imagined by Christian Dior as a loving declaration to his sister, Catherine who had miraculously come back from deportation after she had been arrested for her activities in the French resistance. Miss Dior was launched the same year as, the now iconic 1947 collection: the New Look was accompanied by a new, impertinent scent that depicted the young, beautiful and audacious women the couturier liked to surround himself with: from his assistants to seductive celebrities. The display at that point, presented images of legendary muses such as Marlène Dietrich or Elizabeth Taylor and more recent faces such as Marion Cotillard and Natalie Portman: that was the exhibition’s celebrity moment! Besides this informative and somewhat gently frivolous documentation stood a Bar tailored ensemble, an emblematic symbol of the New Look and, how lovely it looked.
Bar Ensemble, Dior 1947
Photo: Hayley Dujardin-Edwards, 2013
The scenography installed a pertinent dialogue between the house’s archives and contemporary art, the present constantly making reference to the past. The visitor jumped from a 1950s René Gruau illustration to an installation by Ionna Vautrin, from the Bar garment to Sofia Coppola’s advertisement video: the display efficiently mingled history with a contemporary concept. The most stunning example was a delicate 1949 bustier dress by Christian Dior, entirely covered by precious pastel flowers confronted to Raf Simon’s 2012 version of the garment, which he turned into a profound black piece worn by Natalie Portman in the Miss Dior ad, all was united: patrimony, contemporary fashion, publicity and the celebrity factor.
Christian Dior, 1949
Photo: Hayley Dujardin-Edwards, 2013
Raf Simons for Dior, 2012
Photo: Hayley Dujardin-Edwards, 2013
The display was thus regularly punctuated by the art installations imagined by 15 feminine contemporary artists who had all created art works that refered to Miss Dior. Polly Apfelbaum was inspired by the perfume’s hound’s tooth motif to create a colourful carpet, Carole Benzaken reinterpreted the perfume’s bottle into a graceful glass sculpture surrounded by forest landscapes, Alyson Shotz worked on a digital rose and Joanna Vasconcelos designed a gigantic pink bow epitomizing the juvenile spirit of Miss Dior… just to cite a few.
I much appreciated the dialogues between these feminine artists and the perfume. They all managed to convey new questions, new concepts looking at women, the body, nature, history, patterns…A fruitful and complete collaboration.
Alyson Schotz – Infinite Rose, 2013
Photo: Hayley Dujardin-Edwards, 2013
Obviously, I could not end this article without raising THE question: was this an art display or just a perfect marketing concept? Well, I’d say: both! While visiting the space, you could not ignore that all this was an ode to Dior, an ode to a consumption object, an ode to a bottle of perfume. There was something quite disturbing when you really thought about it…All the panels, although they did provide historical information, did however insist on Miss Dior, the product and some sentences resembled press releases: ‘Her perfume is nothing else than Miss Dior, the one she wears with passion.’, ‘Miss Dior is an olfactory conversation that will continue all the house’s creations, from Diorissimo to J’Adore..’ You had to look at all this with much distance….
Photo: Hayley Dujardin-Edwards, 2013
However, let’s not just focus on this idea. Art and Fashion have been united for years, decades…it was considered fabulous when Elsa Schiaparelli would team up with Salvador Dali, Gabrielle Chanel with Jean Cocteau…Why should it disturb us today? Because our dear friend marketing has now taken over. We now look at art and fashion collaborations with a suspicious eye: brands obviously do this to gain respectability and as judicious communication tools. Yes, brands now use their patrimony to give sense and profoundness to their commercial concepts…But, why not? If this provides us, the public, with seductive campaigns and exhibitions: why complain?
It would be naive not to remark that the exhibition took place a few weeks before Christmas and its gifts’ shopping, to not consider the impact the show will have on the house’s image. It was definitely a seductive communication operation but how brilliantly coordinated it was! I surely think the Dior house actually clearly assumed that all this was a formidable publicity and I quite appreciate this honest assurance.
Maria Nepomuceno – Delilah, 2012-2013
Photo: Hayley Dujardin-Edwards, 2013
If I had only focused on the negative marketing aspects of the exposition, it would have clearly been a real shame for me to miss the beautiful archives the house exceptionally presented and the 15 installations produced by some of design and contemporary art major actors: all this for free! I preferred to please my eyes over controversy!
Fashion & Politics
Parsons’ Dress Practice Collective invites you to submit to the upcoming issue of BIAS: Journal of Dress Practice on the subject of Fashion & Politics which will be published in February of 2014 to coincide with The New School’s Fashion and Politics symposium.
Parsons is looking for original pieces of writing and visual media from a variety of disciplines which address the following questions.
- How do fashion and politics intersect?
- How has fashion become politicized?
Content may include (but is not limited to): photography, drawing, painting, poetry, interviews, fiction, non-fiction and academic writing.
Submission deadline: January 10, 2014
Contact DressPracticeCollective@newschool.edu with questions.
See the full posting at the Dress Practice Collective website.
This week, “You Should Be Reading” focuses on the relationship between fashion and the city. The four recently published articles below address the ways in which location plays a role in determining what is fashionable, as well as the importance, value, and meaning of fashion. Often this relationship reveals much about the identity of not only the individual but also the collective city. What can we learn about our own identity and relationship to dress by situating the concept of fashion in a particular place and space?
1. Bernstein, S. T., & Kaiser, S. B. (2013). Fashion out of place: Experiencing fashion in a small American town. Critical Studies in Fashion and Beauty, 4(1-2), 43-70.
Individuals who do not neatly fit into the normative parameters of a given place generate new ways of expressing subjectivity and bridging self–other boundaries as well as ‘in-place’ and ‘out-of-place’ ways of knowing. In this article, based on interviews with 21 individuals who have been in and out of place in a small town in Oregon (Grants Pass), we explore each of the three concepts – fashion, ‘out’ and place – to identify the ways in which individuals experience various routes and locations through time and space. – Full Article Abstract
2. Evans, A-M. (2013). Fashionable females: Women, clothes, and culture in New York. Comparative American Studies, 11(4), 361-373.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 2010 ‘American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity’ exhibition explored the evolution of female fashion from 1890‐1940, a period when the role of women in society developed rapidly. This article examines two of the cultural roles that fashion helped to define: the heiress figure of the 1890s, and the 1920s flapper. Both types of fashion identity had a distinctive look, such as the corseted waist and moulded silhouette of the 1890s dresses, and the shorter skirts and dropped waist of the later flapper fashions. Focusing on these two models of womanhood, the article explores the idea of fashion more generally in two novels that discuss these figures: the heiress in Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth (1905) and the flapper in Anita Loos’ Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1925). — Full Article Abstract
3. Farinosi, M., & Fortunati, L. (2013). A new fashion: Dressing up the cities. Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture, 11(3), 282-299.
The aim of this article is to explore the urban knitting movement, a worldwide phenomenon that tries to combine a domestic activity, street or folk art, the reshaping of do-it-yourself culture, and peaceful forms of urban guerrilla protest. The activists employ colorful displays of knitted or crocheted cloth to enhance, beautify, personalize, and gentrify abandoned public places. Furthermore, they use the Internet to share knowledge on techniques and experiences, to organize collective actions, and to record and document their artistic installations. This article is focused on an urban knitting project realized in L’Aquila (Italy) three years after the 2009 earthquake. It was called “Mettiamoci una pezza” (“Let’s Patch It”). The main aim of this project was to “dress up” the main square of the city, covering the gray metal barricades that still block off citizens from some areas of downtown and adding a sprinkle of color and warmth to the devastated city. We studied this movement in an ethnographic way, by applying a qualitative content analysis of the online materials and nonparticipatory observation of this event in L’Aquila in order to investigate what the collective action did both practically and symbolically. Our research shows how the movement was able to promote a very complex and meaningful political initiative. – Full Article Abstract
4. Jayne, M., & Ferenčuhová, S. (2013). Comfort, identity and fashion in the post-socialist city: Materialities, assemblages and context. Journal of Consumer Culture, first published on October 9, 2013 doi:10.1177/1469540513498613.
This paper works at the intersection of three bodies of writing: theories relating to fashion, identity and the city; debate relating to urban materialities, assemblages and context; and cultural interventions advancing the study of post-socialism. Drawing on empirical research undertaken in Bratislava, Slovakia, we unpack a blurring of public and private space expressed through clothing. In contrast to elsewhere in the city, in Petržalka, a high-rise housing estate from the socialist period, widely depicted as anonymous and hostile since 1989, residents are renowned for wearing ‘comfortable’ clothes in order to ‘feel at home’ in public space. We describe the relationship between fashion, identity and comfort as an everyday ‘political’ response to state socialism and later the emergence of consumer capitalism. We argue, however, that by considering materialities, assemblages and context that studies of fashion and consumer culture can offer more complex political, economic, social, cultural and spatial analysis. To that end, we show how personal and collective consumption bound up with comfort and city life can be understood with reference to changing temporal and spatial imaginaries and experiences of claiming a material ‘right to the city’. – Full Article Abstract
Image Credit: http://sarahstylista.wordpress.com/tag/vintage/
We are once again offering our Annual Research Award to our readers. This year, we have decided to distribute two awards, one to a student (any level) and one to a non-student.
Two awards for $250 each.
Award Details: The purpose of these awards is to provide funding to assist independent scholars, students, museum personnel or university instructors for professional projects in the field of fashion, dress, and textile studies. Holding an academic degree in the topic is not required for the awardee. This is not meant for institutions. Teams, groups, and co-researchers are accepted.
Application Deadline: Feb 1, 2014, awards decided by Mar 1 and distributed by Mar 15, 2014.
NOTE: Anyone who has been a contributor or intern with Worn Through within the past two years is ineligible (two years since Feb 1, 2012, going from the due date).
Purpose: The award could be used to assist with image licensing or other publication fees; travel such as that for research, interviews, or to see a collection; conference attendance fees if presenting; purchasing technology such as software or a recording device; or in any other way necessary toward completion or dissemination of the applicant’s project. This is a blog geared toward the study of dress from an academic perspective, thus, projects submitted for award consideration should be academic in approach and rigor, and should include history, theory, academic literature, and meet all appropriate standards of consent and protections from human subjects. Should the project require Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for the applicant’s research, obtaining that approval shall be the sole responsibility of the applicant and proof should be included with the application if use of the award pertains to an IRB matter.
Details: The portion of the project that utilizes award funds must be completed BY DECEMBER 31, 2014. By the end of this time period the awardee is responsible for submitting a blog post for publication on Worn Through about the project and how the award was used as well as all related receipts.
Application: Send a document (Word, Pages, or PDF) of approximately 500 words with a proposed research plan and explain how the award would be of value to the research. If this is for a small portion of a larger project, please include details on the entire project, such as methodology and long-term goals. If this is for travel funds, explain what would be gained from said research trip or conference attendance.
Also, separate from the word count, include a budget worksheet for the entire project that would show how the award would contribute to the project’s success. Indicate which line items in the worksheet will be impacted by this award. Be specific about how this money would be used and how the applicant would benefit from these funds. Worn Through is looking to assist worthwhile projects get completed and disseminated, and aspires to assist those in financial need.
Additionally, include an approximately 100-200 word bio of each applicant included in the project and/or CV(s).
Contact: Email to Worn Through Founder & Editor Monica Sklar.
Selection Process: The Worn Through team will collaboratively select the recipients after reviewing all completed submissions. Only submissions complete by the deadline will be reviewed. We reserve the right to split the award in half if there are two equally deserving applications.
Best of Luck an all of your Research Projects and Thank You for Your Participation!
Marilyn Monroe, 1950.
As a former wardrobe intern at Plimoth Plantation, I can assert with the most expert certainty that the above is not traditional 1620s dress worn in any American colony. Working with the public at that museum is an exercise in patience, as a good portion of the interpreting done by front-line staff is damage control, dispelling seemingly indestructible forefather myths and attempting to build the visitor’s understanding of the difference between “the past” and “history.”
My internship there was a lesson in cultural and temporal relativity: what was commonly accepted as The Past in 1927–especially when it comes to dress–is probably not “accurate” or “authentic” or the Generally Agreed-Upon Past of 2007 (see also: “accurate” vs. “authentic” when re-creating clothing for a history museum). The beginnings of an interest in the history of the history of dress, how our synthesis of historic sources shapes our modern perceptions of fashion history.
An overwhelming number of Thanksgiving costumes (?) and portrayals still use these tropes: buckled shoes, ditto conical hat, wide white collar, head-to-toe black. You might recognize those from Dutch paintings such as:
“The Syndics of the Amsterdam Draper’s Guild” by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1662. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
Did you know members of the Separatist faction of Mayflower passengers had sought refuge in the Netherlands before being swept onto the shores of what is now Massachusetts? Perhaps inspired by that fact, late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century portrayals of the “Pilgrims” may have picked up generic clothing details from seventeenth-century Dutch paintings and played on this clean, austere, puritanical aesthetic to create an idealized picture of the Europeans at Plimoth (who were not all Puritans, p.s.). This coincided with the renewed interest in the “first Thanksgiving” stirred up in the 1890s, and provided a sanitized vision of Our Ingenious, Freedom-loving Forefathers. A bit of transnational transcription, a lot of origin myth, a large pinch of wishful thinking.
“Thanksgiving Greeting” from 1916. In the Plimoth Plantation collections.
So why have these iconic, exaggerated, fabricated clothing details survived? Who cares, it’s Marilyn Monroe!
When you are out of your food coma, get thee to the library! And check these out:
Plimoth Plantation’s short history of Thanksgiving.
Gordon, Beverly. “Costumed Representations of Early America: A Gendered Portrayal, 1850-1940,” Dress 30 (2003): 3-20.
Gordon, Beverly. ”Spinning Wheels, Samplers and the Modern Priscilla: The Images and Paradoxes of Colonial Revival Needlework,” Winterthur Portfolio 33 Nos. 2/3 (Summer/Autumn 1998): 163-194.
Gordon, Beverly. ”Dressing the Colonial Past: Nineteenth Century New Englanders Look Back,” in Patricia Cunningham and Susan Lab, eds. Dress in American Culture. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1993, pp. 109-139.
Vowell, Sara. The Wordy Shipmates. Riverhead Trade, 2009.
Below is a group of video series featuring insightful talks, one-on-one discussions with fashion designers, and front row views of major runway shows. Easy to digest, yet stimulating and thought-provoking, these concise videos are perfect to watch while on the go or to utilize in a classroom setting.
TED Talks: Fashion & Beauty: Beneath the Skin Deep
Image from Ted.com
Beneath the Skin Deep, available streaming on Netflix, brings together 11 TED Talks focused on either fashion or beauty.
The speakers and topics vary widely, ranging from Issac Mizrahi’s rantings on fashion to the science of growing alternative textiles and on to design creativity spurred by the lack copyright protection in the fashion industry.
Obviously the fashion focused talks are more pertinent to the costume historian than the beauty centered talks. However at only fifteen minutes in length, the talks are not a major time investment and I found many of the beauty focused talks equally relevant and thought provoking.
The talks are also available free on TED.com and can be found by searching beauty and fashion, filtered for talks.
Recommendation: Johanna Blakely: Lessons from Fashion’s Free Culture
Image from Amazon.com
As the title states, this is a series of just that, fashion DVDs. The twenty(+) DVDs are available on Netflix and are compilations of well known designer’s runway shows. The shows, dating from around 2004-2005, are grouped into thematic topics such as Paris: Daywear, Milan: Knitwear, or simply Menswear or Haute Couture.
Each DVD is approximately 70 minutes long, void of any commentary, and focused wholly on the runway show. Simple text at the bottom of the screen denotes the designer and music has been added to accentuate the video footage. (The videos are great to play in the background when reading or writing.)
The DVD’s remind me of television shows from the late 1990’s like Full Frontal Fashion or Fashion Trance. It is exciting and a great research and teaching tool to be able to see live fashion shows. However with the immediacy of today’s media, the videos have become quickly outdated. With resources such as Style.com and Youtube it is easy to conduct a simple internet search to source up-to-date runway videos.
Recommendation: Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 2004-2005
Image from Vogue.com
Available at Vogue.com, Vogue Voices is a series of 9 one-on-one interviews with well known fashion designers. Approximately ten minutes in length, the videos are highly informative and easy to watch.
Vogue’s Digital Creative Director Sally Singer conducted the interviews however Singer’s voice was left out of the final edits. The result is a rare and intimate opportunity to hear designers such as Stella McCartney, Alexander Wang, and The Rodarte sisters discuss their personal inspirations, design influences and the development of the fashion industry today.
Including images of particular garments, highlighted by designers during the interviews would have provided a better understanding of the topics being discussed.
Recommendation: Donatella Versace – Who doesn’t enjoy listening to Dontella Versace talk. Plus she is extremely personable and makes some interesting points about nurturing an established fashion house.