SUMMARY
Summary

Dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of fashion from an academic per­spective, the quarterly journal Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture views fashion as a cultural phenomenon, offering the reader a wide range of articles by leading Western and Russian specialists, as well as classical texts on fashion theory. From the history of dress and design to body practices; from the work of well-known designers to issues around consumption in fashion; from beauty and the fashionable figure through the ages to fashion journalism, fashion and PR, fashion and city life, art and fashion, fashion and photography — Fashion Theory covers it all.

T his issue’s Dress section turns to textiles, opening with Alison Mat­thews David’s Blazing Ballet Girls and Flannelette Shrouds: Fabric, Fire, and Fear in the Long Nineteenth Century. Fire was one of the most terri­fying dangers for women and children in the nineteenth century. Many burned to death in highly inflammable clothing. A new, sylph-like Ro­mantic feminine ideal in dress arose in tandem with the gas lighting that illuminated the light white cottons and almost ‘immaterial’ materials that became fashionable during the Neoclassical period. These textiles includ­ed machine-woven gauze, tulle, and tarlatan, and put working-class bal­let dancers pirouetting near gas footlamps at particular risk. French pri­ma ballerina Emma Livry died when her tutu caught on fire: the charred remains of her costume are still preserved at the Bibliothèque-Musée de l’Opéra in Paris. In the late 1870s, another popular mass-produced fabric, flannelette, was sold as a cheap, washable substitute for woollen flannel. Yet the soft, raised, furry ‘nap’ of the fabric that kept children warm, also set them ablaze, as most working-class homes lacked proper fire guards. In response to the dangers ushered in by these new products, textile manu­facturers and chemists attempted to flameproof them, but the fireproofed fabrics were not widely adopted. This article maps emotional responses to clothing accidents, tracing a shift from the romantic individualization of early nineteenth-century fire deaths to the anonymous statistical analy­sis and detached scientific observation of accidents in the late nineteenth century. It considers the role of the researcher’s and curator’s own emo­tional reactions to the material remains of disturbing garments that still bear the traces of physical trauma in their very fibres.

In Bakst and Thayaht. The Russian Artist and the Fashion of Italian Fu­tu rism, Elena Bespalova explores Léon Bakst’s connections with several Italian Futurists active in the area of fashion design: Jiacomo Balla, Fortu­nato Depero and Enrico Prampolini. Of particular interest is Bespalova’s recent discovery of archive documents, which reveal how Bakst influenced the young Futurist Thayaht (Ernesto Michahelles). For many years, Thayaht produced striking and innovative designs for clothing and textiles. Bes pa­lova’s article presents and analyzes a wealth of new information concern­ing Bakst’s involvement with the fashion industry between 1915 and 1923. We learn more about the artist’s work and contact with the fashion houses of Louise Boulanger and Jeanne Lanvin, and with the American fashion entrepreneur Thomas Maginnis. Bespalova also looks at Thayaht’s work in the area of fashion illustration, using the example of the artist’s sketches for La Gazette du Bon Ton.

Anna Davydova’s A New Facet of Creativity: The Textile Experiments of Edward Steichen examines the photographer’s cooperation with the Stehli Silk Corporation textile company. In creating his Art Deco textile projects, Steichen often used his photographs as raw material. In 1926 and 1927, Steichen was active as a textile designer, contributing to the famous Americana Prints collection from the Stehli Silk Corporation. The main idea behind this ground-breaking collection was to reflect, through tex­tile design, various elements of contemporary life, creating a striking vi­sual image of the Art Deco era. Steichen submitted several patterns, which the Stehli Silk Corporation used to create printed silks for women’s dres­ses. The prints were based on ordinary everyday objects such as matches and matchboxes, sugar cubes, nails, drawing pins, cigarettes, buttons and thread. This project gave Steichen another opportunity to demonstrate his skill in working with studio lightning as he continued his exploration of the interactions of light and shadow, atmosphere and perspective. Strikingly innovative, stylistically in keeping with the Art Deco aesthetic, Steichen’s designs are of extremely high artistic value: the photographs are currently housed in museum collections, sold at auction and reproduced in books on the art of photography. Edward Steichen’s work on designing prints for textiles with the Stehli Silk Corporation was one of the earliest examples of photographic technologies being used for this task. Subsequently, the development of textile technologies would allow photography to be more widely used in textile-making

Historian Irina Mikhailova’s article Ivan the Terrible’s ‘Sunny’ Fashi­on: Cloth of Gold in Muscovy in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Cen­tury looks at the special place held by cloth of gold in the Tsar’s wardrobe. The Tsar of Muscovy was considered elect of God, God’s lieutenant. In the Bible, God appears to the visionaries Ezekiel and John the Theologian in all the shining radiance of His power and glory In the Christian tradition, this was portrayed with the aid of a golden background, the fine golden lines known as assist in Orthodox icons and other sacral objects depicting Christ, the Virgin Mary and the saints, and of the radiant nimbi above the heads of the celestial patrons. Thus, the extraordinary and charismatic ruler of Muscovy was seated on a precious throne and wore special shining gar­ments. He would greet his subjects and foreign ambassadors in mystically shimmering velvet and brocade apparel the colour of the noonday sun — lemon-white, yellow or scarlet-orange. Richly embroidered with pearls and precious stones, this shone with all the colours of the rainbow, glittering and sparkling like a sky full of mysterious distant stars. In sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Russia, cloth of gold was commonly ordered from Italy, Turkey and Persia. It was much used, for instance, to mark the spe­cial charismatic status of the monarch, and the high social and pecuniary position of his courtiers. For two centuries, the national dress worn by the Russian nobility remained virtually unchanged. Diverse, it was made of festive, bright and soft fabrics such as velvet, satin, damask, silvery moiré and stiff, shiny brocade. The changes in popular colour schemes and pat­terns for precious fabrics which were introduced in the second half of the seventeenth century resulted in Russian aristocrats’ dress becoming yet more magnificent and resplendent.

Lois Martin contributes Webs of Wrath: Terrible Textiles from the War of Troy. The legends of the War of Troy are among the most enduring of all the world’s great tales. Besides thrilling action and striking characters, these epics and dramas record vivid details of Mediterranean life, stretch­ing back to the Bronze Age. Like many textile researchers, the author has pored over these stories for what they reveal about cloth’s place and mean­ing in ancient times. In this article, she discusses references which suggest that clothing fitted into a broad spectrum of fibre technology that tran­scended gender and stretched from engineering to war, from economics to aesthetics. Rather than being marginalized as soft, superfluous ‘women’s work’, textiles could have terrifying power: as weapons, as agents of tor­ment, and as prizes so alluring as to drive greed out-of-bounds. Among the fabric/fibre images running through the Trojan stories are deadly slings, treacherous snares and nets, and crimson carpets marking a path to murder. These, and other examples, show how richly ambiguous textiles could be in the Classical world — far more protean than the pastel tones of Penelope’s patient weaving. Each of these ‘webs of wrath’ is discussed in turn, and illustrated with quotes from the Greek texts, as well as with black-and-white line drawings from art objects of the period.

This issue’s Body section delves into dress and dance. Nadezhda Lebedeva’s The Age of Great Change: The Evolution of Body and Costume in Western Performance Dance in the Twentieth Century focuses on how the canon of moving body and dance costume changed throughout the twentieth century. The author identifies three main ways of perceiving the moving body and costume in Western performance dance: as framed by ballet, modern and contemporary dance. The ballet body could be described as ‘perfect’, ‘weightless’, ‘educated’, as opposed to ‘natural’. The ballet costume completes this body concept by tightly fit­ting the body and showing off all of its muscles, while tutus and pointe shoes create an image of the female dancer that is unearthly and ephem­eral. Modern dance forms an ‘emotional’, ‘authentic’ body which has weight and moves in accordance with natural laws. The concepts of mod­ern dance training are still, however, partially borrowed from ballet tech­nique. Modern dance also borrows from ballet the close-fitting leotard as the basic costume, but quite often the dress becomes a moving entity and a part of the performance’s concept. Contemporary dance shows the ‘ev­eryday’, diverse body. It dissolves the canon of the moving body as such, giving place to a multitude of bodies, including what was seen as devi­ant by ballet. Contemporary dance costumes also vary depending on the staging task, and may include nudity, sports clothes or complex designer outfits. The author argues that in the twentieth century, the canon of the moving body and of dance costume changed, moving from ballet to en­compass modern and contemporary dance canons. The author believes that at present, all of these body and costume canons are legitimate and valuable for performance dance, and that all of them can coexist on stage as part of the artistic concept.

Bibi Bakare-Yusuf contributes Fabricating Identities: Survival and the Imagination in Jamaican Dancehall Culture: an attempt at a systematic analysis of the role that fashion and adornment play in Jamaican dance-hall culture. Fashion is a prominent and constitutive part of the culture and the site for vigorous debate about lower-class women’s morality and sexuality in Jamaica. The author aims to examine the embodied practices that emerged in the late 1980s to the end of the 1990s in Jamaica and ar­gues that working-class black women in Jamaica use fashion to fabricate a space for the presentation of self-identity and assertion of agency. Through adornment, dancehall women have been able to address creatively the anxi­ety, violence and joy of daily life. At the same time, they have been able to register historical, cultural, economic and technological changes through their bodies. Prior to speech or any written manifesto, different modes of adornment are employed to contest society’s representation of, and expec­tation about, lower-class leisure activity, morality and sexual expression. Fashion allows dancehall women to challenge the patriarchal, class-based and (Christian and Rastafarian) puritanical logic operating in Jamaica. Of course, the wider context in which this articulation of social relations has taken place is that of socio-political and economic realities, which in­cludes continued anti-black racism, black nationalism and global cultural and economic restructuring. In this sense, far from fashion being mean­ingless, superficial and unworthy of cultural analysis, it allows working-class black women to invest their everyday lived realities with multiple meanings and processes, linking them to both the spectacular fetishism of global consumerism and mass media semiosis, and to the African love of ceremonial pomp and pageantry.

In this issue’s Culture section we publish the first portion of articles based on papers presented at the ‘Fashion and Humour: Strategies, Theories and Practices’ conference. Marking the journal’s tenth anniversary, this was held in Moscow on 2 December 2016.

Susan Vincent opens the section with her paper Playing with Fashion. All accounts agree that the fundamental principle of fashion is change. It is axiomatic that, since its inception in the late medieval courts of Europe, what drives the fashion system is a restless desire for novelty. Once made possible by a developing mercantile system combined with sufficient class mobility fashion’s restless change was impelled by a thirst for the new. In this paper, however, we will cast this paradigm aside and instead explore the idea that fashion’s underlying impulse is not change, but playfulness. By ‘play’, the author means something profoundly ludic: something sub­versive, irreverent, erotic and wayward. Opposed to uniformity, stasis and the functional, the play of fashion cannot be corralled, controlled or predicted. It undercuts the seriousness of everything, even of itself. After exploring the ideas behind fashion’s game and the anxieties it has tradi­tionally provoked, we will go on to look at three ways in which the ludic has been manifested in historical dress: in form, surface decoration, and materials. We will then turn to the state of fashion today — particularly to its decline in social significance, its reduction in shape-changing creativity, and to the increased appearance of overt humour — and consider whether this might be put in dialogue with the subversions of traditional identities that so characterize contemporary culture. In so successfully challenging the dominant structures of authority, status, religion, gender and sexual­ity, have we also inadvertently undermined the role of fashion? In other words, we will close by asking whether — in our current society — fash­ion’s end game has already been played out?

Satirical Sartorial: Political Fashion Cartoons in The New Yorker is a pa­per from Jenna Rossi-Camus. Fashion cartoons in The New Yorker are a genre of fashion humour that has been published consistently for nearly a century since the magazine’s first issue in 1925. This paper examines a se­lection of single-panel cartoons published in the New Yorker magazine that are simultaneously fashion cartoons and political cartoons. The research identifies the New Yorker fashion cartoons as a humour genre linked his­torically with traditions of graphic satire in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Taken collectively, the New Yorker fashion cartoons reflect shifts in social, cultural, economic and political climates, as observed via fash­ion and its rituals. This paper describes a methodology devised as part of the author’s MA Thesis for analysis of the New Yorker’s fashion cartoons, employed to identify and analyze themes and trends in the cartoons. Prior research by Rossi-Camus examined a series of themes that emerge from a cross-contextual examination of the cartoons. For this paper, the research methodology was employed to identify and contextualise fashion cartoons from each decade of the magazine’s publication that also engage visually and textually with political events, figures or opinions. The research aims to substantiate the value of cross-disciplinary approaches to reading graphic satire, and to encourage further examination of the intersection of social and political satire, as rich sources of contemporary criticism. The paper includes and builds upon research undertaken towards the author’s MA in Fashion Curation at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. Aiming to illuminate dialogues between fashion, humour and social history, the research culminated in a thesis entitled ‘Satirical/Sar­torial: Fashion Cartoons in The New Yorker’.

Yulia Demidenko presents her paper Futurism Through the Eyes of the Layman: Dress as Caricature, and Caricatures of Dress. Originating in Italy, the Futurist movement quickly spread to Russia. After observing the costume antics of the Italian Futurists, who loved to attract attention with their deviant dress, Russia’s Futurists made costume not merely an element of their shock tactics, but a key part of their entire artistic system. The startling outfits worn by the Futurists were, to some extent, designed to poke fun at contemporary bourgeois costume. Instead of a boutonnière, for instance, they would display a spoon or a carrot in their buttonhole. An­other target were the clothes worn by the Futurists’ artistic antagonists — the Symbolists. Such non-conformist practices could not help but elicit a strong reaction. Newspapers and magazines were quick to produce cari­catures, satirical sketches and articles, in verse as well as in prose. Their main target was not the Russian Futurists’ undoubtedly provocative be­haviour, or even their notorious art, but rather, their chosen style of dress. Contemporary society’s reaction to Futuristic dress could, indeed, perhaps best be described as a caricature of a caricature. The cartoonists’ eye was good: their work is often an invaluable alternative source of information on Futurist dress. The costumes of Burlyuk and Kamensky themselves, for instance, did not survive, and very few photographs of them wearing provocative outfits exist.

In the Practice of Fashion column, we present The Art of Assembly, Kse-nia Yeltsova’s interview with artist Katya Bochavar, together with a series of rare photographs from the artist’s personal archive.

In the Publication column, Natalia Kurchanova offers her publication How I Remember Tatlin: The Memoirs of Anna Begicheva.

In the Museum Business column, Yulia Demidenko presents Cheap at the Price: Lisbon’s Design and Fashion Museum.

In the Events section, Maria Markovich and Tatiana Nagorskikh offer Lamanova: Strokes to a Portrait The piece is their review of Genius in a Skirt: An Exhibition to Mark the One Hundred and Fifty Fifth Anniversary of the Birth of Nadezhda Petrovna Lamanova’ in Moscow’s Beliayevo Gallery (24 December 2016 — 26 February 2017).

Irina Pereleshina offers The Art of Overstepping Boundaries, her take on the Third St. Petersburg Batik Forum in the Exhibition Hall of the Book and Graphic Art Centre, St. Petersburg (23–26 February 2017).

Ellen Macintyre presents The Evolution of a Princess’s Style, her re­view of ‘Diana: Her Fashion Story’ at London’s Kensington Palace (24 Feb­ruary 2017 — 31 December 2018).

Ksenia Borderiu’s Sculptures of Black Fabric reviews the exhibition ‘Balenciaga, L’Oeuvre au Noir’ by the Palais Galliera at the Musée Bour-delle in Paris (8 March — 16 July 2017).

In Man’s Best Friend, The Woman Artist, Ksenia Borderiu reviews the ‘Travaux de Dames?’ exhibition at the Paris Musée des Arts Décoratifs (8 March — 17 September 2017).

Ekaterina Shubnaya offers Rock Portrait in a Soviet Interior, her thoughts on ‘Igor Mukhin: The Alternative Culture of the 80s’ at Moscow’s Multimedia Art Museum (17 February — 2 April 2017).

Also by Ekaterina Shubnaya, ‘And Like a London Dandy Dressed...’ reviews ‘A Handsome Man: The Russian Follower of Fashion in the Mid-Eighteenth — Early Twentieth Century’ at the State Historical Museum, Moscow (15 March — 28 July 2017).

In this issue’s Books section, Jesse Adams Stein contributes Labour, Entrepreneurship and the Creative Economy in the Neoliberal Era, a review of Angela McRobbie’s Be Creative: Making a Living in the New Culture Industries. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2016.

Irina Sirotkina offers Rabelaisiana on a Podium, her review of Fran-cesca Granata’s Experimental Fashion: Performance Art, Carnival and the Grotesque Body. London: I.B. Taurus, 2017.

From Nike to Nike by Ekaterina Kulinicheva reviews Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE. London: Simon and Schus­ter, 2016 (Russian edition: Prodavets Obuvi. Istoriya Kompanii Nike, Rass-kazannaya Ee Osnovatelem. Moscow: Eksmo, 2017).