This is a Michigan in Paris Program course. Please contact The University of Michigan Center for Global & Intercultural Study for more information.
The course explores representations of fashion and costume in art and visual culture of modern France, focusing on the period from the eighteenth through to the twentieth century when Paris was the international capital of la mode. We will consider major shifts that took place at the time in methods of manufacture, from tailor- to ready-made clothing, and in gendered connotations of "fashion." Other themes addressed in the course include the importance of fashion in the staging of the figure in visual art, particularly portraits as well as realist paintings of modern life; the conjunction of fantasy and fashion in the consumption, wearing, and representation of costume; the relation of haute couture designers (Worth, Chanel, Vionnet) to mass-produced clothing; and the blurred boundaries between historical, exotic, and theatrical costume, on the one hand, and contemporary fashion and art, on the other.