The Parisian fashion industry has always been the visible tip of an invisible web of exchanges. What we call French couture, far from being only French and influenced by French creativity and know-how, has always been a microcosm of globalization, with crucial contributions from foreigners and immigrants, transfers and hybridizations of techniques, ideas, styles, consumption habits, etc., which are often written off. These exchanges have constituted the sine qua non condition for the boom of the fashion industry.
With Rhonda Garelick (Art and Design History and Theory, Parsons School of Design), Sophie Kurkdjian (Institute of French Studies, NYU), Victoria L. Rovine (Art History, UNC Chapel Hill), and Valerie Steele (The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology).
Rhonda Garelick is Dean of the School of Art and Design History and Theory at Parsons School of Design. She is the author of Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History; Electric Salome: Loie Fuller’s Performance of Modernism (Princeton UP, 2007); Rising Star: Dandyism, Gender, and Performance in the Fin de Siècle (Princeton University Press, 1998); and co-editor of Fabulous Harlequin: ORLAN and the Patchwork Self. Her cultural criticism appears regularly in The Cut (New York Magazine), and she often writes for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Brooklyn Rail, and Salon.
Sophie Kurkdjian is a historian and visiting professor at NYU’s Institute of French Studies. Her work centers around fashion and images of fashion in the twentieth century. She has set up Culture(s) de Mode, a network of scholars whose research explores fashion, and currently co-leads France’s only research seminar on the history of fashion (IHTP/CNRS). She has curated several exhibitions, including “Mode et femmes, 1914-1918.”
Victoria L. Rovine is Professor of Art History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She specializes in African art with a focus on African textiles and dress practices, and on Africa’s presence in Western visual culture, particularly in early twentieth century Europe. She’s the author of Bogolan: Shaping Culture Through Cloth in Contemporary Mali; African Fashion Global Style.
Valerie Steele is director and chief curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she has personally organized more than 25 exhibitions since 1997, including Paris, Capital of Fashion (September 6, 2019-January 4, 2020). She is also founder and editor in chief of Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture, the first peer-reviewed, scholarly journal in Fashion Studies. She is author or co-author of more than two dozen books, including Paris Fashion: A Cultural History, Women of Fashion, Fetish: Fashion, Sex and Power, and Fashion Designers A-Z: The Collection of The Museum at FIT.
Organized by Sophie Kurkdjian
Co-sponsored by the Institute of French Studies and La Maison Française