Dressed: The History of Fashion

Dressed: The History of Fashion

With over 8 billion people in the world, we all have one thing in common: everyday, we all get dressed. Join fashion historians April Calahan and Cassidy Zachary in celebrating the who, what, when of why we wear throughout history and around the world.

Episodes

April 12, 2024 29 mins

Waleria Dorgova joins us for for the second part of our episode this week on the artist, interior, fashion and textile designer Sonia Delaunay. Dr. Dorogova co-curated the ground-breaking exhibition with Dr. Laura Microulis, research curator of the Bard Graduate Center, where the exhibition Sonia Delaunay: Living Art is on view through July 7, 2024.

Can't make the exhibition? Check out the exceptional catalog for the show here.

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Now mostly remembered as a painter, this week we look at the broad spectrum of the work of Sonia Delaunay with a special emphasis on her fashion and textile designs. Waleria Dorogova, co-curator of the exhibition Sonia Delaunay: Living Art which is now on view at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City joins us to speak about the years of research she did with Laura Microulis to deliver this fresh new perspective on Sonia's c...

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This week, we are joined by Rebecca Seaver, the Director of Museum & Archive Services for Dolly Parton, and the person responsible for the curated selection of special pieces on view in Dolly's recently published memoir Behind the Seams: My Life in Rhinestones. And thanks to the book's audio companion, we even hear from Dolly herself! 

A special thank you to Rebecca and the Penguin Random House Audio team for the sound b...

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This week, we are joined by Rebecca Seaver, the Director of Museum & Archive Services for Dolly Parton, and the person responsible for the curated selection of special pieces on view in Dolly's recently published memoir Behind the Seams: My Life in Rhinestones. And thanks to the book's audio companion, we even hear from Dolly herself! 

A special thank you to Rebecca and the Penguin Random ...

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When fashion designer Salvacion Lim "Slim" Higgins opened her first atelier in Manila in 1947, she ushered in both the golden age of Filipino couture and her own forty-plus year career. Her son Mark Lewis Higgins joins us to discuss her incredible life and legacy.

Recommended additional resources:

  • SLIM's Fashion School here and here
  • SLIM's Fashion School Instagram
  • Video on SLIM's legacy

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We revisit a 2021 episode with guest Ayaka Sano who joined us to discuss the early years of the career of Japanese designer Hanae Mori, the first Asian designer admitted to the ranks of French haute couture. Mori's career spanned five decades and the globe, enjoying international success thanks to her seamless and signature blending of euro-American styles with distinctively Japanese textiles and aesthetics. 

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In part II of this week's episode in commemorating the 113th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire which occurred in Lower Manhattan on March 25, 1911, we examine how the fire started, hear from some of the survivors and learn about the sweeping labor reforms and worker protections which followed in its wake.

Recommended resources:

Cornell University's The 1911 Triangle Factory Fire online portal

PBS American Exp...

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As the 113th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory approaches in a few short days, this week we bring you a two-part episode on the nature of the New York City garment trade at the turn of the 20th century, and how a horrific workplace accident on March 25, 1911 reshaped the landscape of workers rights and protections.

Recommended resources:

Cornell University's The 1911 Triangle Factory Fire online portal

PBS American E...

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March 15, 2024 35 mins

This week we chat about the latest in fashion history news including Norma Kamali training an AI to design her legacy, the Oscar nominees for Best Costume Design, a new YSL bookshop in Paris and some of the spectacular pieces up for sale at recent fashion auctions.

Recommended Resources:

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In the spirit of prom season being just around the corner, this week we return to a 2020 episode to learn to origins of one of quintessential rites of passage for American teenagers: attending prom. From its roots in debutante culture to its 1850s inception at Ivy League colleges that lead to prom becoming a high school phenomenon, the history of prom spans a surprising 175 years.

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We continue our conversation with Isabel Attyah Flower and Marcel Rosa-Salas about nameplate jewelry, addressing its central and even controversial role in both sub and mainstream cultural expressions, including hip hop. 

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Isabel Attyah Flower and Marcel Rosa-Salas join us to discuss their book The Nameplate: Jewelry, Culture and Identity, which celebrates the myriad of meanings embedded in the multi-cultural and cross-generational phenomenon of nameplate jewelry.

Recommended resources:


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In the wonderful and often bizarre world of fashion fads from history, we ask the question: which should live on to wear another day and which should be left to history?

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Maison Margiela's Spring/Summer Paris 2024 Haute Couture collection show delivered a haunting jolt that is hard to forget. Whether you loved the show or hated it, it was a moment. And that moment–which will undoubtedly go down in fashion history–was also packed with references to the history of fashion itself. Alexandre Samson, Curator of Haute Couture from 1947 to Contemporary Design at the Palais Galliera in Paris joins us to...

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An exceptionally famous milliner in her day, the life and career of Mildred Blount has been somewhat lost to history. Curator Taylor Bythewood-Porter joins us to shine a light on the first African-American to be admitted to the Motion Pictures Costumers Union and her glorious on-screen creations for films including Gone With the Wind and Gigi as well as her offscreen successes designing hats for Hollywood stars and Harlem high soci...

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In the early years of the twentieth century, Madam C.J. Walker built an international, Black hair care empire from the ground floor up, transforming herself from a laundry work making $1.50 a day to the woman Guinness World Records identifies as the “first self-made millionairess.” This week, we learn all about her extraordinary life in an interview with her biographer—and great, great granddaughter—A’Lelia Bundles. 

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In part II of our episode on The Costume Institute's exhibition Women Dressing Women, co-curator Mellissa Huber takes us behind the scenes and shines a light on some of the invisible labor which does into mounting a major fashion in a museum. Can't make the show? Grab a copy of the amazing exhibition catalog here!

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This week we are joined by Mellissa Huber and Karen Van Godtsenhoven, curators of The Costume Institute's exhibition Women Dressing Women, which is on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City through March 10, 2024. The exhibition explores more than 100 years of fashion history via the work of women designers and centers their contributions to the industry at large. Can't make the show? Grab a copy of the am...

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Fourth generation flower maker Adam Brand takes us behind the scenes of his family's business M&S Schmalberg. Founded by his family in 1916, the company is the last of its kind in America.

M&S Schmalberg's website and Instagram

Etsy store with a 20% discount just for Dressed listeners!

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Fifth generation master pleater George Kalajian’s family has been perfecting the art of the pleat since the 19th century. He joins us to discuss the past, present, and future of his family’s renowned pleating enterprise Tom’s Sons International Pleating, a staple of New York City’s Garment District since the 1970s.

Tom's Sons International Pleating's website and Instagram

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April Calahan

April Calahan

Cassidy Zachary

Cassidy Zachary

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