Carey Gibbons is a Fourth Year PhD student at the Courtauld Institute of Art, supervised by Professor Caroline Arscott. She was born and grew up in Memphis Tennessee, lived in New York City for ten years, and came to the Courtauld in 2009.
What are you wearing?
A black sweatshirt with a giant shark made out of rhinestones and little orange spikes for the teeth, a black fake leather skirt, black leggings and black lace-up ankle boots.
Where did you find the shark sweater?
I got it from the Forever 21 store in Chicago in January.
What has been its biggest adventure to date?
I’ve only worn it a few times, but I wore it with James (my boyfriend) to the Apple store and we took a bunch of photos on their computer. I guess you could say this shirt brings out my playful side.
Why did you want to look playful today?
It was raining and I was feeling down so I put it on and I felt more upbeat and motivated. Because a shark is a fierce creature it helps me attack my day with ferocity, perseverance and determination. Bam! (pumps the air with her fist)
Is this what you wear to the Courtauld typically?
Yes, it’s pretty typical. I like wearing clothes that incorporate animals in some way. I have a lot of clothes with animal print. I have animal jewellery. I have a shark-tooth necklace which is really important to me and a fox necklace made out of rhinestones that I really like wearing.
Is there a practical aspect to what you’re wearing?
I wear black leggings a lot because they’re really comfortable. My boots are flat… I like to wear flats or low heels so that I’m comfortable.
How does being a PhD student as opposed to a staff member or undergraduate influence how you dress?
I think if I was a staff member or a postdoctoral fellow, then I would make more of an effort to look professional, but for now I’m celebrating the opportunity to wear whatever I want and express myself through my clothes.
What makes you stand out from other Courtauldians?
(Laughs) I seek to combine the sweet and the vicious in my clothes. I would say that other Courtauldians exude a less eclectic vibe and they go for one dominant style, whereas I celebrate my contradictions!
Is there anything about your appearance or dress that marks you out as a Courtauldian?
Courtauldians imbue poise and confidence. Despite going for an eclectic look, I always try and look like I’m composed.
Has your PhD in Victorian illustration inspired your dress sense at all?
Since studying Victorian illustration I’ve become more interested in prints and I’m really into designers like Mary Katranzou and Clover Canyon. I was also captivated by the use of embroidered prints borrowed from imaginary ethnic groups in the Valentino S/S 14 collection. I like experiments with line and pattern to create a mood or evoke a fantasy world.