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  • Fashions that are dated but timeless: the Petrie Museum wardrobe

    By Alice E Stevenson, on 7 March 2016

    Fashion month has recently passed, with all eyes on the latest trends, cuts, and colours. Vintage styles are frequently reimagined on the catwalk, but designers could find inspiration elsewhere in London from the most vintage garment of them all: the Tarkhan dress. It has just been confirmed as not only the oldest known from Egypt, but the most ancient complex woven garment in the world. It is more than 5000 years old.

    The Tarkhan dress, showing that the V-neck has been in vogue since at least 3000 BC.

    The Tarkhan Dress, showing that the V-neck has been in vogue since at least 3000 BC (UC28614B1)

    (more…)

    Underwhelming Fossil Fish of the Month: April 2015

    By Mark Carnall, on 30 April 2015

    As we know from the documentary The Devil Wears Prada, fashion is really important because the styles we see on the catwalk today are ridiculous things that nobody in their right mind would wear but then Anne Hathaway dresses nicely and that helps her write Harry Potter and get a boyfriend. How is this relevant to this month’s underwhelming fossil fish of the month, our monthly journey through the museum drawers of uninspiring fossil fish? Well, I’m going to let you into a little secret, a lot* of fashion designers are also keen palaeontologists and if you pay close attention you’ll see a lot of styles from deep time come back into fashion time and time again.

    /Cue segue.

    This month’s fossil fish is no exception. Some scholars** speculate that this month’s fossil fish inspired the more over-compensatory codpiece design of the 15th and 16th centuries so if you’re prone to tittering or fainting then do brace yourself for disappointment in 5- 4- 3- 2- 1.

    (more…)

    A stylish workshop on Subversive Millinery

    By Helen R Cobby, on 5 November 2013

    P1010920-2Subversive Millinery was an eclectic, creative and colourful evening event at the UCL Art Museum. It comprised of a mini art history lecture on the role and significance of hats, and a hands-on practical workshop where participants were encouraged to create their own beautiful hat or fascinator. This fun mix was led by Sue Walker, who completed her MA and PhD in art history at UCL, specialising in 18th and 19th century French prints.

    Sue began by explaining why she had become obsessed with hat making and encouraging communal creativity. She felt it was predominantly triggered from feeling disconnected with art objects after studying so much theory. She decided to start making things and focused on fashion as a way to get others involved and interested because it is something everyone is affected by and has opinions about. This idea of making judgments and engaging with ideas through ‘visual signs’, such as those of fashion, is fundamental to art historical questions that ask ‘what is it and what do we do when we make a visual sign?’ (more…)