The Fashion Institute of Technology (Thursday, October 20, 2016)
The Fashion Institute of Technology (Thursday, October 20, 2016)
Since the European Middle Ages, religious dress and ornamentation have gone hand-in-hand with the lush fabrics and craftsmanship now associated with haute couture.
Ruby Bailey, Zelda Wynn Valdes, and Ann Lowe were three very different designers, united by their experiences as black female designers in mid-century New York City. Despite their differing design aesthetics, they faced the same racial and gender discrimination in their efforts to make names for themselves as designers in a burgeoning fashion capital.
In an industry that doesn’t like to talk about race (let alone blackness), it’s rare for designers, who identify as black, to readily insert identity politics into their brands. The fear, perhaps, emerges from the fact that doing so could pigeonhole them into a singular narrative of blackness – one that could result in them being unattractive to customers, investors, and the media.
Painter Alex Katz is so closely attuned to the fashion scene, specifically to the New York fashion scene, that it could be said that he has at times created or at least anticipated major shifts in it. Even his "sweet, unassuming" paintings have a predictive quality to them. Indeed, Katz and fashion form a kind of symbiosis.
Whether the paper doll is a girl or boy, celebrity or historical figure, these “stylish” pieces are advertisements for the latest fashion trends. Beyond play, they are objects that have taught children, throughout time, how to dress for life.
While she alludes to common archetypes of femininity in her photographs, the photographs of the Countess are more than just a submission to pre-scripted definitions of womanhood.
As one of the culture industry’s principal soothsayers, Edelkoort certainly looks the part: with her cropped, grey-streaked hair, red lips, and signature 80s minimalist attire, she exudes a kind of “arty” knowingness in her daily uniform that her clients have come to conflate with her trend forecasting ability.
Unpacking how masculinity is embodied in images from HIV prevention material targeting a gay male audience, this essay explores how, through their streaming and modulation with the viewer’s body, such images become affective, thereby potentially informing our ideas of and identifications with the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The textile storage space is a place of gentle, gloved movements and careful, reverent handling of myriad artifacts. It’s a place where, currently, conservation tasks lag and preservation is maintained at a bare minimum, aimed to suspend time and deter the real world practicalities of change, decay, and age.
As a fashion and textile historian who works closely with the Fashion Calendar archive, I am exceedingly privileged to not only have access to a previously un-investigated source that is so rich with information, but to be able to interact with the maker of the archive herself. This enables the archive to be continuously dynamic, since Finley’s knowledge about American fashion history is vast and mostly based on experience.
Throughout history, dance performers have pushed the boundaries of acceptable dress. At a time when it was considered inappropriate for a woman to expose an ankle or calf, on stage doing so was, conversely, required. For the sake of improving technical skills and freeing the body to move, ankles, calves, and knees started to emerge, until eventually the entire leg was visible.
In New York City, there exists a small community of heterosexual men who seek to learn flirting and dating skills in self-help communities called “seduction communities.” Playing a key role in their social construction of identity, fashion makeovers aim to help these sexually-frustrated men embody charismatic masculine identities.
My bouncy curls that were the product of a mixed heritage and symbolized a forward-looking world were seemingly not to be celebrated, at least not by the media and fashion industry. The fleeting moments of praise were shrouded in fetishism, and the sense of “otherness” was consistently present. Ironically, however, I continued to respect a system that did not respect me back.
To say 2016 was a big year for America would be a drastic understatement. The events of the year pushed our nation into an intense period of self-reflection and re-evaluating. With the shocking success of a businessman’s run for president, our culture was obsessed with exploring what America stands for and who gets to define contemporary patriotism.
It has come to my attention that communication technology has a profound influence on the lives of people, especially the younger generations. My hypothesis is that the increased use and reliance on gadgets such as smartphones creates a decrease in face-to-face social interaction and empathy, creating a world of virtual interactions and loneliness instead.
A hand-scrawled note reads: “Now that Fashion’s Gone to Hell And Dress has become neuter." The phrase floats alone in the center of a small note page—the type of thing one might expect to find today, coffee-stained and abandoned amid a mess of stir sticks and sugar crystals on a vacant table at Starbucks, except this particular note dates to a very pre-Frappuccino® era, written sometime around 1969 by the resident of apartment #429 of the famed bastion of New York bohemian culture, the Hotel Chelsea. It was written by the one-and-only Elizabeth Hawes.
In the late nineteenth century, there was steady coverage in The New York Times about the act of dress smuggling. This act, often referred to as "fashionable smuggling,” involved the practice of smuggling European-made gowns and dress goods into the U.S. Whether a quick report or an in-depth exposé, the focus of each story is smuggling's relationship with the women involved, and of the women who were reported to have smuggled.
It was an itsy bitsy, teenie weenie, yellow polka dot bikini…. This catchy tune is as much a part of the summertime for many of us as ice cream. Despite years of singing this song on my way to the pool, it was only once I began researching the bikini’s origins that I found the multiple links between this popular swimsuit style and mid-20th century military developments.
This essay looks at advertisements that appeared in three turn-of-the-century fashion magazines — exploring how the fashion industry in some ways participated in the perpetuation of normative gender roles, but in others created a more subversive counter-narrative.