Undergraduate and graduate programmes offered by the University iuav of Venice:

Material and Immaterial Cultures of Fashion


ciclo di seminari


9 ottobre 2013 ore 11 > 13

14 ottobre 2013 ore 14 > 16

16 ottobre 2013 11 > 13


Venezia, Magazzini Ligabue

Treviso, Via Papa 1


scadenza iscrizioni 3 ottobre 2013



Caroline Evans



Alessandra Vaccari


Dipartimento di Culture del Progetto

corso di laurea magistrale in arti e moda / curriculum moda





This short seminar series identifies two apparently contradictory characteristics of fashion: materiality and immateriality. In seminars 1 and 2 we will look at two historical 'case studies' and in seminar 3 at a contemporary one. For seminar 3, students will also be asked to bring an image or object of their own choice and to discuss it in the light of the themes that have arisen so far. The three seminars will give us the opportunity to speculate both about worn clothes, either on or off the body, and about the act of wearing clothes. The reading, which should be done before the seminars, will help us to think further about dress, objects, the body and sensibilities in relation to fashion.


Professor Caroline Evans Ŕ una figura di riferimento per la storia e la teoria della moda, il cui lavoro ha ispirato generazioni di studiosi e fashion designer a livello internazionale. ╚ professore di Fashion History and Theory alla University of the Arts, London - Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Tra i suoi libri: Fashion at the Edge: Spectacle, Modernity and Deathliness (Yale University Press 2003 e 2007) che l’ha resa celebre tra gli studiosi internazionali di moda e il recente The Mechanical Smile: Modernism and the First Fashion Shows in France and America, 1900-1929 (Yale University Press, 2013).



studenti ammessi


Il seminario si rivolge agli studenti del Corso di Laurea Magistrale in Arti e moda e in particolare a chi frequenta il Curriculum Moda. Un numero limitato di posti Ŕ riservato anche agli studenti in Design della moda del Corso di laurea Triennale in Design della moda e arti multimediali e agli studenti della Scuola di Dottorato Iuav.

50 posti disponibili, iscrizione obbligatoria per tutti

crediti 2, tipo D (liberamente scelti)

lingua del seminario inglese




modalitÓ di iscrizione


Per iscriversi scrivere una mail a avaccari@iuav.it indicando i propri interessi e livello di conoscenza dell’inglese. ╚ consigliato allegare alla email curriculum vitae e attestati del livello linguistico.


scadenza per le iscrizioni 3 ottobre 2013

risposta alle candidature 6 ottobre 2013





seminar 1: material objects

As a case study of fashion as object, we will follow the curious history of Paul Poiret’s fashion designs for his wife Denise and their five children in the 1910s and 1920s. The clothes survived the divorce, bankruptcy and deaths of their owners. Sold at auction in 2005, they can be found today in museum collections world-wide. They are examples of how worn clothing can be a trace, or index, of a life lived, like the jacket of his dead friend that historian Peter Stallybrass describes in his chapter on ‘Worn Worlds’. The Poiret case study allows us to reflect on historical dress as a form of ‘material mnemonics’: a memory system embedded in the material traces of the past.


seminar 2: immaterial practices

In the same period, Poiret’s mannequins were known for their distinctive walk and contemptuous modeling gestures. By looking at fashionable ways of walking and posing in the early twentieth-century, we can begin to think about fashion as a kind of practice, or performance, as well as an object. To speculate about fashion as a situated, embodied and spatial practice, we will draw on the ideas of the anthropologist Marcel Mauss on ‘techniques of the body’ from 1934, and of the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu on ‘habitus’.


seminar 3: dialogues

As the case studies of seminars 1 and 2 show, materiality and immateriality are not antithetical but exist in relation to each other. In the language of theory, they are dialogic (Bakhtin) and relational (Bourriaud). Their relationship is a kind of conversation, but a conversation between objects and people, and one in which objects sometimes seem the more eloquent of the two. One such dialogue was staged in a fashion performance by actress Tilda Swinton in collaboration with curator Olivier Saillard at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris in 2012. The actress acted, or, rather, interacted, imaginatively with clothes from the archive: together, they created a dialogue between past and present, material and immaterial, and human and non-human.

Students are required to bring in an item of clothing or a fashion image of significance to them personally, to reflect on their own ‘conversation’ with it, and to discuss it in class in relation to this week’s reading.





[le letture indicate saranno fornite a tutti gli iscritti prima dell’inizio dei seminario]


seminar 1

Peter Stallybrass, 'Worn Worlds: Clothes, Mourning, and the Life of Things', Yale Review 81(2), 1993, 35–50.


seminar 2

Jo Entwistle, The Fashioned Body: Fashion, Dress and Modern Social Theory (Cambridge: Polity & Blackwell, 2000). Chapter 1, ‘Addressing the Body’, 6 -39.

You are not required to read the entire chapter (though of course you may chose to). Please focus on the following passages which we will discuss in the seminar:

pp.10-12, passage on p.10 starting ‘A sociological perspective …’ and ending on p.12 ‘… post-structuralism and phenomenology.’

p.14 single paragraph on Mauss, starting ‘For the anthropologist Marcel Mauss …’ and ending’ ‘… by the majority of men’.

pp. 36-39, read from the section titled ‘Dress, Embodiment and Habitus’ to the

end, including the final two paragraphs which conclude the entire chapter.


seminar 3

Sherry Turkle (ed), Evocative Objects: Things We Think With (Cambridge Mass & London England: MIT Press, 2007). Please read:

Eden Medina, ‘Ballet Slippers’, 54-60.

Olivia DastÚ, ‘The Suitcase’, 246-249.

Sherry Turkle, ‘What Makes an Object Evocative’?, 307-319 (on p.319, finish on the paragraph ending ‘… power to injure our hearts.’)

Optional extra reading for seminar 3

Ben Highmore (ed), The Everyday Life Reader (London & New York: Routledge, 2002).


Steven Connor, ‘Rough Magic: Bags’, 346-351.