As a final project for the MA Fashion Studies program’s Fashion Curation course, led by Jessica Glasscock, students were asked to build a video virtual exhibition using widely available digital collections such as those of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Library of Congress, as well as contemporary fashion from the Parsons MA Fashion Design and Society’s digital collections and other designer resources. The resulting work covers a wide range of fashion studies topics and serves as a laboratory for exploration and teaching through online collections.
1. Grace Kuo, “The Origin of Transparency”
The Origin of Transparency explores the idea of transparency as “see-throughness” throughout the history of dress. The examination of transparent dress as portrayed in different art forms and fashionable materials brings to light discussions surrounding visibility and identity of the clothed body. Clothing by itself carries loaded meanings, yet the clothed body conveys a much more complex message of the dress and of the self.
2. Tzuni Lopez, “Institutionalized Teeth”
Body norms are institutionally enforced. Be it in the museum, in the fashion industry, or in the field of science, institutional spaces imbue particularities of the body with value. Institutionalized Teeth bridges the gaps between each of these institutional spaces by considering the role of scientific thought on the fashionable norms of teeth from a structural perspective that decentralizes the museum as the primary means of exhibiting critical thought.
3. Katrina Orsini, “PROCESS / PRODUCT: Fashion Techniques in the Medical Field”
The Jacquard loom was the textile industry’s first connection to the digital world. IBM’s website credits the success of their first computations to Joseph Marie Jacquard, calling his work “an integral part of 20th century data processing machines.” This connection would set a precedent for textile processes to be used across technological disciplines for the coming digital age. Each process holds multiple benefits; Fashion designers seek out processes for their aesthetic value while textile engineers experiment with performance. New technologies in textiles have allowed many disciplines to improve their products’ performance double fold, meaning they improve multiple qualities of the product at once.
4. Iesha Coppin, “Entangled Identities: Black Dandyism and Masculinity”
Black men are simultaneously hyper-visible and invisible to wider society, Black dandyism is about confounding expectations of how black men should look through an idolized European lens. The black narrative is almost void and stripped back solely focusing on an exploited figure used for personal gain and entertainment. One may argue the fact that dandyism is inherently superficial, but when applied in social terms, it isn’t just about style; it transcends into politics.
5. Mary Stringham, “The Global History of the Platform Shoe”
From Greco-Roman times, the platform shoe has been a visual display of economic power across the world. Though there are variations across eras, cultures and locations, the elevated shoe can be seen through its ability to raise the wearer up literally and figuratively to tower over others. Through its use of ornamentation and fine materials, the platform has reinforced ideal beauty standards for women while simultaneously displaying the wealth of the household.
6: Yi Wang and Ge Zhang, “To Wear or not To Wear – From Corset to Brassiere”
“To Wear or Not to Wear” is a reflection on the shift from corset to brassiere. Throughout history, continuous change in cultural mores and aesthetic preferences has affected what women wore around their breasts. Amid the endless chase after the fashionable dress and ideal figure, corsets and brassieres have become women’s “silent” words.
Although this 19-century divine beauty died in the last year of her century, her carefully-choreographed personal mythology reaches across the boundaries of time and territory. She still glitters exotic and unyielding shining light.