A talk with Ulinka Rublack

In April I discussed Matthäus Schwarz, male dress, and the changing nature of fashion with Ulinka Rublack. Part of that conversation is documented on the Tumblr blog The First Book of Fashion.

Matthäus Schwarz

Image from Matthäus Schwarz, Book of Clothes, 67 from the 1704 copy in The Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Bibliothek, Hannover

I have a friend who asks, “Why can’t something just look good forever, if it looks good now?” And I answer, “But it just can’t. It looks good in a certain moment.” And maybe it’ll look good at another moment. But in between there will just be plenty of moments where it just looks wrong. That is just built into the changing nature of fashion.

Add commentIn Blog September 8th, 2014

The Inimitable Halston

I will be giving a lecture at the Des Moines Art Center, October 9, 2014 | 6:30 pm


“The Inimitable Halston” examines Halston’s revolutionary designs from the Ultrasuede shirtdress to the jumpsuit, as well as look at his significant contribution to today’s culture of fashion. The Museum at FIT has a significant repository of Halston garments and is a lender to the exhibition Halston and Warhol: Silver and Suede at the Des Moines Art Center (September 19 – Janaury 18). The lecture is based on an essay featured in the exhibition catalogue.

For more information, click here

Add commentIn Appearances Blog September 8th, 2014


Fashion journalist Lou Stoppard interviewed me for Showstudio’s new series: ‘Ugly’. Inspired by the deliberate awkwardness visible on high fashion runways in recent years, SHOWstudio unpicks certain designers’ fascination with pushing the boundaries of taste and redefining luxury using prints, fabrics and motifs that have connotations of vulgarity, cheapness, garishness or kitsch.

I think whenever you have designers who are exploring something that’s significantly new it’s going to look for, the most part, strange and possibly ugly at first. So when Poiret started doing some of his early designs at the beginning of the twentieth century, when he was designing for the house of Worth, people were horrified by them, and thought, ‘what are these ugly experiments?’

Add commentIn Blog May 12th, 2014

Fashion School 101

Harpers Bazaar

Harper’s Bazaar interviewed me about fashion academia, internships, my PhD thesis & many other topics.

Here’s the intro to the article and the full interview is here:

Academics like thinking of themselves as disembodied brains. Valerie Steele, however, was one of the first and remains—arguably—the foremost scholar to pay attention to bodies and how we dress them. Of course, she is the chief curator of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, founder and editor of the definitive peer-reviewed journal on fashion—Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture—and the author of a dozen books about fashion and its manifold meanings. We didn’t even have to consult our address book before calling upon Steele to illuminate the current condition of fashion education—where more courses are cropping up, but few ways exist to professionally apply an intellectual, critical interest in fashion. Here, Steele reveals the recent history of fashion scholarships and her role in making us take clothes seriously.

Add commentIn Blog Press April 17th, 2014

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