Thursday, September 20, 2012

Women's Studies visit, September 2012

On September 20th, we had the pleasure of a visit from Susan Hiner's class: Women's Studies 241, "Fashion and the Feminine." After a few minutes looking at the authentic objects we had on display, the students formed groups of 2-3 to try on reproductions, with one person trying on, one person as a dresser, and one person taking notes about the experience. Then we looked at some of the authentic objects in greater detail, making comparisons to what they were wearing. Finally, after they undressed (and could come in closer without the burden of farthingales, hoops, bustles, and trains), we spent our final moments continuing to discuss the finer details of some of the objects from the collection.

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This visit also provided us an opportunity to display a dress that we have never displayed before, a gown from the 1910's (just about a century old!). It was exciting to see this gown on a mannequin for the first time, and to see just how much of a hobble skirt it really has. Unfortunately we weren't able to steam it, but it's still great to see on a mannequin.

It also was lovely to see this dress juxtaposed with the pink 2 piece dress (right hand side) from only a few years previous, from the early 1900's. What a change in silhouette in  just around a decade! Yet another juxtaposition was the 1950's gown on the left, providing us an opportunity to discuss how fashion often moves in cycles, with skirts moving from wide to narrow, then widening again.
From Visit from Women's Studies 241
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All the images shown in this post are from the Vassar College Drama Department Research Collection of Historic Clothing and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.