Documenting Fashion

Category Archives for Work in Progress

Our research, our current ideas, and what we’re thinking about now


Congratulations Dress History Grads!

July 16, 2014 by Rebecca

Congratulations to the graduates of the Andrew W Mellon Foundation MA 2013/14: Documenting Fashion: Dress, Film and Image in Europe & America, 1920-45 at the Courtauld Institute of Art.

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Winter Modes

July 11, 2014 by Fruzsi

Although summer is well under way, a few of us are already thinking several seasons ahead. Our department has been asked to contribute to Somerset House’s Winter Festival exhibition, which will feature a series of small displays on the theme … Continue reading

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Dress in Autobiography and Autobiography in Dress: A Brief Exploration of Irene Castle’s Dress in Castles in the Air

July 8, 2014 by Jennifer

“The clothes I wore were practical for me and that is the reason I wore them,” explained ragtime social dancer Irene Castle in her memoir and autobiography Castles in the Air. An icon of the Progressive Era, Irene is remembered … Continue reading

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‘Bravo la confection française!’ Researching French Ready-to-wear, 1947-1957

July 1, 2014 by Alexis

On 11 April 2014 I presented a paper at ‘Couture, Fashion and Consumption: Britain/France, 1947-1957’ held at Paris’ Institut d’Histoire du Temps Présent (CNRS). This was the latest study day in the ongoing cross-cultural collaboration between dress history researchers from … Continue reading

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Fashion, Violence, and Colour: Interwar Modernity as an Assault to the Eyes

June 27, 2014 by Lucy

In 1923, the Gazette du Bon Ton employed what they termed a ‘Professor of Colourism’ to provide advice for an article entitled ‘Dangerous and Virtuous Colours’. Set upon a solid background of vivid, mustard yellow, the text and accompanying line … Continue reading

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Fashioning the Other? Globalization and the representation of Brazilian dress in National Geographic since 1988

June 14, 2014 by Liz

On 9 April 2014, whilst on a research trip in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, I was invited by Professor Rita Andrade to give a paper at the Universidade Federal de Goiás, Brazil. This is a short extract from … Continue reading

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Hints, Hobbies and Definitions of Fashion

May 30, 2014 by Fruzsi

‘Hints on Making an Evening Dress from a Morning Frock’ is an excerpt from the 1926 cinemagazine Hints and Hobbies. The series, produced by A. E. Coleby and S. Mumford, consisted of several instalments that supplied audiences with advice on … Continue reading

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Re-Thinking The Experience And Representation Of Dress

May 7, 2014 by Rebecca

On 6 May 2014, we held a study day, Documenting Fashion: Re-Thinking The Experience And Representation Of Dress, at The Courtauld’s Research Forum. This day was the result of a collaboration between the Andrew W Mellon Foundation MA 2013/14: Documenting … Continue reading

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The Social History of Lipstick: Why 1920s Beauty Journalism is useful for more than just retro make-up tips

March 27, 2014 by Julia

“Beauty is the last true thrill left us in a mechanized age,” wrote American Broadway impresario Florenz Ziegfeld in his foreword to beauty editor Josephine Huddleston’s 1929 book Secrets of Charm, “it is a precious gift that cannot be standardized. … Continue reading

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The ‘neue frau’ and fashion in Otto Dix’s ‘Three Prostitutes’ (1925)

March 27, 2014 by Fruzsi

Otto Dix’s Three Prostitutes (1925) is a painting that draws attention to the ambiguous figure of the New Woman in Weimar Germany. The Neue Frau was a complex cultural construct whose independent habits – shopping, enjoying the city’s bustling night-life, … Continue reading

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