Online Seminars | Sartorial Society Series, Summer 2021

Posted in lectures (to attend), online learning by Editor on May 6, 2021

I’ve included here a selection of talks most relevant to the 18th century, but the whole series looks terrific.CH From the Sartorial Society Series:

Looking Back: The Historicisms, Hauntings, and Heritage of Dress
Sartorial Society Series, Summer Semester 2021

A digital seminar series exploring the history of dress, fashion, and bodily adornment.

“The past has to be taken apart. Old themes are worn as new details.” –Judith Clark

When introduced to histories of dress, we are often met with timelines of fashion that imply a neat, progressive evolution of fashionable styles through the years. Clothing is framed as an index to history. Yet dress does not conform to an orderly chronology. It is full of disruptive reverberations, re-interpretations, and revivals. The fashions of the past are repeatedly dismantled and reimagined, sending sartorial echoes through time.

The historic resonance of dress can also carry an emotional weight on a personal level. Clothes can serve as welcome memories of loved ones, or less-welcome spectres of the past. Memories of clothes can be deeply nostalgic, while the garments not-worn can serve as ‘sliding-door’ moments, causing us to dwell on the parallel lives we did not live or bodies unlike our own. This has been explored, for example, by Shahidha Bari, who describes “spectral visions of ourselves [that] haunt these garments like all things that are romanticised and never realised.”

Dress maintains its capacity to ‘haunt’ in the setting of the museum or archive. Elizabeth Wilson described museums of dress as ‘mausoleums of culture’: haunted and eerie. She stated that ‘there are dangers in seeing what should have been sealed up in the past. We experience a sense of the uncanny when we gaze at garments that had an intimate relationship with human beings long since gone to their graves.’ Carol Tulloch has written of the power of archives to access personal fashion histories that may otherwise have been lost, suggesting that: “archives enable a lived experience to be revived and reassessed time and time again.”

The Sartorial Society Series is organised by a group of dress historians and curators with the aim of celebrating the diverse, innovative, and excellent research emerging in the field of dress history. We want to create a space that welcomes and supports dress historians from all backgrounds, and fosters positive connections within our field. The series will encourage collegiality and will be an open, inclusive, and friendly space to meet others interested in dress history. We encourage BYO wine, tea or soft drink of choice and invite you to join the post-talk Q&A.

All sessions are held on Thursday evenings at 6pm UK time (BST/GMT). Most talks are 20 minutes; some are 10 minutes. Registration links are available here.

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Week 1 | Nostalgia and Nationalism
20 May 2021

• Cecilia Gunzburger, French Revolutionary Dress in the Bourbon Restoration: The Political Uses of Historic Dress
• Sabine Wieber, Vienna’s 1879 Festzug and the Habsburg Empire’s ‘Glorious’ Past
• Alison Toplis, An Exploration of the Smock as a Nostalgic Spectre of Rural England

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Week 3 | Reconstruction and Reproduction
10 June 2021

• Amber Pouliot, Serena Partridge’s ‘Accessories’ Collection for the Brontë Parsonage Museum: Haunting the Heritage Context
• Jordan Mitchell-King​, Reanimating Dress: Interpreting Historical Clothing through Experimental Wearing
• Cynthia Chin Kirk, ‘I Am Only Fond of What Comes from the Heart’: Memory and Trauma in Martha Washington’s Purple Silk Gown

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Week 4 | Performance and Performativity
24 June 2021

• Ella Hawkins, The Time is Out of Joint: ‘Haunted’ Costuming at Shakespeare’s Globe
• Hilary Davidson, Looking Back Through Fashion: Regency Romanticisms
• Anouska Lester, ‘Item, One Ghost’s Crown’: Haunting and Loss in Philip Henslowe’s 1598 Theatrical Inventories

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Week 7 | Historicism, Revival, and Re-Use
29 July 2021

• Serena Dyer, Sartorial Chronology and Fashionable Anachronism: Historicism, Temporality, and the Making of Dress Histories
• Sarah Hodge, A Fancy for the Past: Historical Style in Britain, 1800–1851
• Ruby Hodgson, Robe a la Grand-Mere: Re-Use of 18th-Century Silk in Romantic Era Dress
• Jane Hattrick, Queering the Hartnell Crinoline: Reinventing Second Empire French Fashions, Fantasy, Gender Performativity, and the Royal Body

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