Centre for Fashion, the Body and Material Cultures

From poster for Caroline Evans' talk at FBMC

I recently attended a lecture presented by the Research Centre for Fashion, the Body and Material Cultures, in London . Unique in its kind, the center opened in 2005 as a joint project between Central Saint Martins and the London College of Fashion (both members of the University of the Arts London). It covers under its umbrella theorists, historians and practioners which, as the title suggests, are interested in a broader view of fashion, clothes and their interactions with the body. Among its members are dance historians (director Helen Thomas), curators (Amy de La Hay and Judith Clark), as well as a number of practioners, including fashion designer Shelley Fox and artist Lucy Orta. (Full disclosure: I am currently a member as well, as I am completing my PhD at Central Saint Martins.)

Caroline Evans kicked off the summer lecture series—organized by one of the center’s directors, Alistair O’Neil—with a talk on her current research on the early history of the fashion show and the way it related to other quintessential modern cultural forms like early cinema and highly choreographed revues such as the Ziegfeld Follies. Her talk was titled “Mirrors, Magic and Multiplication: Early Twentieth Century Fashion Shows.” To follow will be Pamela Church-Gibson’s talk on “Fashion and Celebrity.” The center also organizes a yearly symposium, which this year revolved around the topic of “Magic and Fashion.”