1920s Style: Prohibition-Era Fashion

Glamour, sparkle, dropped waistlines, cloche hats, flappers, and boaters…alcohol was prohibited, yet in 1920s America, the evolution of fashion advanced in daring strides. From the everyday to the flamboyant, fashion during the “Roaring 20s” broke the rules. On September 30, the National Archives Foundation in Washington DC presents a discussion moderated by Tim Gunn, star of Project Runway, along with panelists Valerie Steele and John Dunn, fashion director for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. A fashion show exploring this exciting period in American fashion history will follow the discussion. This event is currently sold out, but a waiting list is available to sign up for. Learn more here.
“Where there’s smoke there’s fire” by American artist Russell Patterson (1893-1977), 1920s. Flickr, via the Library of Congress.

Add commentIn Appearances Blog September 6th, 2015

Tokyo Above-Underground — at Verboten

It’s been several years since I organized the exhibition, JAPAN FASHION NOW, so I was delighted to get the chance to see some of Tokyo’s latest street styles last Saturday [August 29th] at “Tokyo Above-Underground: Fashion Show by Misha Janette.” Held in Brooklyn at the first annual Waku Waku festival, it featured 10 styles, as produced by 10 different companies. The audience was filled with American girls in sweet Lolita outfits, but according to Misha, Lolita styles are now old-hat.

Certainly, fashion changes in the blink of an eye in Tokyo. The last time I was in Tokyo, for example, I visited the cute little shop, Grimoire, to find examples of the latest Mori-girl (Forest Girl) styles, one of which I borrowed for the exhibition at the Museum at FIT. Now Forest Girl style disappeared, to be replaced by something called Vintage Fairy Tale.

Admittedly, many styles at the show were similar to their predecessors — Shibuya girl, for example, is updated Gyaru. Always a fan of Gothic Lolita styles, I naturally liked the new Japanese Gothic — and especially admired the model’s ability to walk in her shoes. The Kawaii Anarchy style (obviously appeals to trendy followers of the Decora style — think hyper-decorated, but now also in acid colors.

My personal favorite was Future Asian style by M.Y.O.B., a company started by two Japanese girls who were living in New York. The clothes are mostly black and white, and feature South Asian (Indian) and Middle Eastern touches.

Add commentIn Blog September 4th, 2015

Fashion, Sex, & Power: The Joanne B. Eicher Symposium II

I am the keynote speaker at this year’s  Joanne B. Eicher Symposium on Fashion, Sex & Power — Friday, September 11, 2015 at the University of Minnesota (College of Design). The symposium will address questions such as: What are the relationships between power, sex, and fashion across centuries and cultures? How does power in the 21st century relate to sex and fashion? How are men’s roles changing and what affect does it have on their power and masculinity? What impact does role-playing have on young girls and boys? How have these changing roles been portrayed in the media? Presenters from South Africa, Nigeria, Italy, UK, Turkey, India, Korea, China, the US, and Canada will explore these topics and more through forty papers plus two free public lectures.

Learn more about this event here.

Add commentIn Appearances Blog September 1st, 2015

Fashion | 84th Anglo-American Conference of Historians

Fashion in history is a topic which has come of age in recent years, as scholars have turned to addressing what is chic and what is style over the ages and across different cultures. The history of fashion, and the role of fashion in history, is not just confined to the study of dress and costume, but encompasses design and innovation, taste and zeitgeist, treats as its subjects both people and objects, and crosses over into related disciplines such as the history of art and architecture, consumption, retailing and technology.

Dr. Valerie Steele will be a plenary speaker at this 2 day conference.
Learn more here.

Add commentIn Appearances Blog June 10th, 2015

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