The Courtauld Institute of Art
This Study Day explores the relationship between personal experiences of dress and the more publically recognised fashion spectacle as it is communicated, staged, and mythologized through diverse media.
It will examine, for example, the experience of dress, as seen in documentary and amateur film and photography, in relation to actual dress and imagery presented in fashion magazines and cinema. It will therefore compare the ways a particular period’s fashion is remembered and the evidence provided by surviving garments and images – between experience and representation, the personal and the public.
By referring to particular case studies, whether still images, film clips or objects, speakers and delegates will be able to question the complex relationships between notions of ‘real’ and ‘ideal,’ and address issues such as the role of memory, spectacularisation, and the interplay of optic and haptic experience within these constructions. This will allow us to rethink universalising, linear narratives of dress and by extension taste, and think about ways to incorporate multiple, often contradictory sources in an inclusive, experiential, and often transhistorical understanding of dress. This investigation will especially focus on the contribution of under-explored resources, including, but not limited to, non-fiction film and documentary and amateur film and photographs.