History of Dress Category Archives

Parisian Insights: Tenue Correcte Exigée, quand le vêtement fait scandale

There must be something in the air that pushes curators to explore themes of vulgarity, shocking, taste and scandal in fashion. Maybe because of our political contexts, is there an urge to remind spectators how a “revolution” can be imperative…Besides Judith Clark’s The Vulgar, Fashion Redefined, at the Barbican, in London, was proposed, here, in Paris, an exhibition dedicated to what has been considered scandalous …

Parisian Insights: Mode & Femmes – 14/18

Rarely has World War I been studied through the prism of fashion and femininity. It is often as if, from 1914 to 1918, civil life had been suspended. Maud Bass-Krueger and Sophie Kurkdjian, the two curators of the Mode & Femmes – 14/18 exhibition held at the Bibliothèque Forney, in Paris, have decided to demonstrate how different reality was. With numerous documents and various garments …

Beau Brummell – An Elegant Madness

Beau Brummell – An Elegant Madness is at Jermyn Street Theatre John O’Connor, the producer wrote about the play for Worn Through: As you walk down Jermyn Street, past the gentleman’s outfitters, bespoke shoe shops and high end tailors, on towards the Piccadilly Arcade, you will see a statue. You have probably passed it hundreds of times without noticing which famous resident it celebrates. There …

Happy Holidays and Farewell from the UK

I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year! While I have trepidations about what’s to come economically and politically both here and in the US, I am also feeling hopeful, as a member of a community of scholarly citizens, about what we can all achieve in the future. This is not only my last post of 2016 …

Review: The Vulgar Fashion Redefined at Barbican Art Gallery, London

According to an interview with Judith Clarke and Adam Phillips, creators of the new exhibition, The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined, at London’s Barbican Art Gallery, the term ‘vulgar’ needs to be reclaimed, brought back into critical discussion within historical and cultural debates on fashionable dress[1]. Too often, they suggest, ‘vulgar’ is used without explanation and, in doing so, has established itself as a pejorative measure of …

Dressing Up with Others: Instagram Recommendations

I was going to post an exhibition review but realised that it would probably fall by the wayside, given how much attention will be paid to the US election results. Rather than compete with the momentous political event currently taking place, I will leave my review until later this month. It seems more appropriate to remain an observer at this point, to enable both myself …

Review: The Costume Society Study Day on Fashion: Conform or Resist at LCF

In her book Fashion and Cultural Studies, Susan B Kaiser puts forward a case for thinking and studying fashion through a both/and, rather than a either/or perspective. Kaiser argues that ‘oppositional thinking […] oversimplifies differences and limits options for the analysis of connections and entanglements.” (1) Kaiser goes on to suggest that in order to fully understand fashion as a both/and experience, it is necessary …

What Not to Wear? Dress for the Workplace

This evening I am seeing a short film about three women whose daily professions often focus on the experience of death.  Called Style to the End, the director Avril Furness explores what these three women will wear when death befalls them. Part of a series of events called Life, Death, Whatever, which aims to “redesign the dialogue about death and dying, to open it up …

No Clothes in Utopia?

The word ‘utopia’ refers to an imagined state of perfection, a hopeful future, the opposite of what could go wrong with the present world. First mentioned in a text with the same title by Thomas More in 1516, it describes an island where people have no need for fashion because everyone is involved in making their own clothes from the production of cloth, such as …

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