Survey of Historical Costume in Interdisciplinary, Multidisciplinary, and Intercontinental Perspective

AHA Session 154
Saturday, January 8, 2022: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Preservation Hall, Studio 4 (New Orleans Marriott, 2nd Floor)
Peter J. Aschenbrenner, National Convenor (US), International Commission
Power and the Cold War Pillbox Hat
Victoria Phillips, London School of Economics and Political Science
Scarves, Fashion, and the Right to Work in 18th-Century France
Daryl M. Hafter, Eastern Michigan University

Session Abstract

This session represents a new departure in the study of costume/attire/dress, focusing on the rationale behind individual and collective clothing and appearance in the context of the interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and intercontinental practices. As a study of significant social and cultural habitudes, rather than an account of attire and fashion, this session contributes to the understanding of previously disregarded elements in ethno-economic and social histories. Throughout the centuries clothes have represented a fundamental human requirement whilst revealing societies declaration, identity and standards, and this session will attempt to explain the above-mentioned phenomena in the context of social, socio-economic, political and aesthetics philosophies. It explores diverse topics including the History of Costume: The Potency, Governance, and Consumption of Attire in the Pre-twentieth century Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States, examining the meanings encoded in dress and adornment, as it has been used often for more than its utilitarian purpose. It also investigates attire in the context of social stratification, social conditions, power relations and cultural formation, in order to comprehend sartorial consumerism and social practice; The Dominance and Decline of Court Dress in the UK and US: From ‘Witness for the Prosecution’ (1957) to ‘My Cousin Vinny’ (1992), investigates a valid reason why lawyers, judges and functionaries garb themselves in specialty garments, given that many courts have abandoned wigs and robes. It argues that the legal and parliamentary systems which have abandoned court dress have not suffered degradation of performance; Power and the Cold War Pillbox Hat, focuses on the iconic 1961 photograph of Jackie Kennedy and Nina Khrushcheva demonstrates fashion as costume that promoted tenets of national identity, and argues against the Cold War as a bipolar struggle that subjugated women; Scarves, Fashion, and the Right to Work in 18th century France, focusing on the industrial regulations imposed by the fashion guilds, this paper examines the clash of rigid regulations and ever-changing fashion led to unexpected turmoil. It also discusses the disputes broke out between the linen-drapers, milliners and hand/machine knitters.
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