Primarily focused on 20th and 21st century global fashion, we have been organising events since 2014 to promote and disseminate current research on fashion history and theory.
We provide a forum for discussion of leading edge work in the field of Dress History and Fashion Studies. Our events are aimed at specialist audiences, members of the fashion industry, and those interested in thinking about fashion, to develop discussions across academia, curation, fashion arts and industry and encourage a rich and well-rounded platform for the subject at The Courtauld.
We organise three events per term, these are open to all (some need to be booked in advance):
This entails a group discussion of a chosen image. We have talked about a wide range of media- for example, Paul Iribe’s drawings of Poiret’s designs – including a look at the originals from our collections, Erik Madigan Heck’s use of found photographs merged with his own contemporary fashion imagery, and clips and stills from Singaporean-Fillipino film My Name is Cleopatra Wong.
We invite an academic, curator or industry professional to discuss their current work in progress or a recent publication. These have included discussions of many aspects of dress history from Elizabeth Currie’s analysis of the dress of outsiders during the Italian Renaissance, to Alison Toplis’ discussion of the evolution of smock frocks, and from Carol Tulloch’s presentation on her book The Birth of Cool: Style Narratives of the African Diaspora, to Ellen Nolan’s exploration of her great aunt’s legacy of photographs of her time in interwar Hollywood.
Fashion Illustration Masterclass
In collaboration with Gray MCA Gallery – we invite an acclaimed fashion illustrator to lead a group drawing session with live models and clothes borrowed from a designer or high end vintage collector. These have been incredibly popular, with Bil Donovan, Jason Brooks and Martin Welch all hosting drawing sessions for us.
Themes covered have included: reality and fantasy in fashion, fashion media, posing the body and passing. The 2020 conference will bring together an international group of academics, artists, writers and journalists from our AHRC-funded Fashion Interpretations: Dress, Medium & Meaning Networking Project to discuss their work on the ways the medium impacts fashion’s meanings.
Rebecca Arnold: I am interested in the ways fashion intersects with other aspects of visual culture, including amateur film and photography, and the impact of medium on fashion’s meanings. @documenting_fashion Bande a part podcast, Documenting Fashion Blog
Connie Gray: I am passionate about fashion illustration & its relevance in interpreting the history of fashion throughout the 20th century & today. By sourcing the original works by the masters of the genre & exhibiting them in a gallery space allows the artists & their draftsmanship to be move from a commercial context into the respected world of fine art. @graymca
Elizabeth Kutesko: I am interested in piecing together a Transnational Fashion Studies, which recognises how fashion operates across geographic borders, at the same time that is used to serve national agendas and often constructs clichéd ideas of cultural identity.
Leah Gouget-Levy: I am interested in the relationship between fashion and time, and capitalism and the fashion system, particularly with regard to representations of fashion in photography, film and illustration. @leahgougetlevy
Nadya Wang: I am interested in the image of the woman, the role dress can play in identity construction, the development of the Singapore fashion industry and its ties with nation-building, and the place of Asian fashion within the global fashion system. @inthevitrine
Niall Billings: I am interested in constructions of the body and how this is reflected in dress, costume and dance. My research is focused upon the development of ballet in London in the early twentieth century. @niallbillings