Fashion as Image I

Fashion as Image I


Fashion as Image I

Session chairs:

Andrea Kollnitz, PhD, Assistant Professor, Centre for Fashion Studies/Art History Department, Stockholm University, [email protected]

Patrik Steorn, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher, Centre for Fashion Studies/Art History Department, Stockholm University, [email protected]


Jacques Callot and the Theatre of Fashion

Elizabeth Davis, Apparel Design, Cornell University, Ithaca, USA

The French-born print artist, Jacques Callot (1592-1635), is known for his sympathetic portrayal of the human condition in his prints illustrating life in early seventeenth-century Italy and France.  In Italy, the theater was a popular subject, and he observed and recorded actors as they moved and performed in their public arenas.  He emphasized the visual display of the stage, creating lively images which expressed humor, sadness, compassion and irony.  His astute observations and sensitive translations were essential elements of his artistry and are found throughout his work.

Among his pieces created in France is a series of twelve prints depicting the minor nobility of his home city of Lorraine.  Known as La noblesse lorraine, or simply La noblesse, the set was created between 1621 and 1623, soon after the artist returned from his thirteen-year sojourn in Italy.  The six men and six women in the series are elegantly dressed personages posed as if on stage, yet situated instead in town squares, walled gardens and urban streets.  In this paper, I consider the relationship of these twelve prints with those developed by Callot during his formative years in Italy, especially his illustrations of the Italian theater.  Although influenced by the earlier work, these images are a departure in their exploration of the relationship between realism and performance.  Callot shifts his multi-layered interpretations of the visual world and creates a fresh, new perspective as he combines the element of theater with the dynamic of fashion and translates both into a single expression.


Fashion Iconography as Image of Temporality

Isabelle Paresys, Institut de recherches historiques du Septentrion, Université de Lille

The aim of the paper is to investigate the relation the fashion imagery has with time and temporality. Scholars mainly emphasize the semiotic of fashionable appearances or analyse the aesthetics of their visual representations. In an historical perspective the study of sartorial pictures could nevertheless not avoid the role the fashionable clothes plays as markers of temporality in our visual culture. The paper inquires the birth of a specific iconography of clothing from the Renaissance time. It will investigate the way this imagery tried to perform the temporality of present that is to say of fashion. But while the French printed industry of the 18th c. tried to represent the image of the present in the dynamic the fashion gave to the time, a specific iconography of dress appeared. Its aim was to improve the performance of ancient time by the historical painting that was beginning to be reformed. Their requirement of exactness for dressing the past contributed to give birth, in the 19th c., to very illustrated books where the figures of ancient fashion functioned as markers of the temporal distance that separates the reader from the past. Actually the movies are certainly the most common and shared experience of the visual marking of time by dress and fashion. As at the theatre or now in videogames, the costume worn by the actors embodies the temporality of the action they play. But this experience of time is performed by the hotchpotch of the aesthetics of fashions of the past and present.


Fashion in Conflict: World War I, Haute Couture and the Fashionable Body

Katy Conover, Royal College of Art, London, UK

The fashionably-dressed body has long been held up as a feminine ideal.  Appearance and adorning the body were still fundamental to a fashion aesthetic during World War I, but women were subject to contradictory messages concerning the ideal fashionable appearance through visual sources.  This paper explores how the fashionable body in magazine illustrations differed from the one seen in photographs and was further complicated by the one implied through extant garments.  The lack of comparison of the different types of visual presentations of the woman’s fashionable body during the war, as well as a complete neglect of the extant garments, has produced a limited analysis of the fashionable body during these four years.  Further analysis highlights the fashionable body of elite women in the United States and England during the war years was not only diverse, but also subject to differing expectations through occupying either public and private spaces i.e. fashions worn in public spaces were shown mainly in photographs while fashions worn in private spaces were shown mainly in illustrations.  An examination of extant garments proves that, in reality, both versions of the fashionable body existed simultaneously, yet separately—depending upon the type of space (public or private) in which the garment was worn.  It is possible to understand the war years as exposing not just one ‘typical’ silhouette, but rather a varied one that indicated a more complex relationship between women and fashion.  By the end of the war, the disparity in silhouette between the magazine illustration and the photograph had almost completely disappeared, which resulted in a visually unified fashionable body.


The Artist Valle Rosenberg as Fashion Connoisseur and Fashion Designer

Maria Carlgren, Art History and Visual Studies, Gothenburg University, Sweden

The artist Valle Rosenberg (1891-1919) spent some years in Paris during the 1910s. From there he frequently wrote letters to the artist Siri Derkert (1888-1973) telling her about fashion and dressing. He gave her advice on silhouettes and fabrics as well as skirt lengths and waistlines.

Apparently Rosenberg had a really good flair for what was up to date and trendy. He also gave lively descriptions on how other artists in Paris represented themselves through their clothes. He himself was known for his personal appearance in a crossover between the Dandy and the Bohemian – with an overall painted face in yellow and green. Together those reflections are an important and interesting source to understand fashion and artistic life in Paris during the 1910s.

Valle Rosenberg was also, during the later part of the 1910s, engaged by the fashion company and fashion school Birgittaskolan (The Bridget School), run by Elisabeth Glantzberg, to look for opportunities to start sew some collections in a industrialized way in factories around the lake Como in the textile districts of the northern part of Italy. A couple of fashion images (coloured drawings) by Rosenberg still exist from this period. Probably those fashion images were meant for this Italian production.

In the paper I will present Valle Rosenberg as fashion connoisseur and fashion designer and raise some questions like; what image of the woman is represented in the fashion images by Rosenberg? And how does his strong persona and modernist aesthetic correspond with his fashion plates?