As August sets in, I am looking forward to holidays, and to getting some solid time to work on my contribution to the Fashion Interpretations project. There are two key elements to this – a paper, to be given via Zoom as part of our weeklong series of events in early December (more information on this soon …) and a linked piece of writing that will appear in the special issue of Archivist Addendum that will be published at the end of 2020.
My interest in the ways medium impacts fashion’s meanings has focused on the incredible editorials from interwar high fashion magazines that slip seamlessly between illustration and photography, deploying myriad artists, each with their own style to convey the latest trends. I love the idea of the reader encountering these pages and viewing them as a coherent whole – a rich visual portfolio that takes them through day, evening and resort wear and offers them tactile renderings of fabrics and forms.
I’ve become increasingly obsessed by hybrid images – ones that reference photography and drawing simultaneously, including some of Man Ray’s experimental pictures for a Harper’s Bazaar in the 1930s. Also the way the captions connect with, or simply sit alongside images, extending the meanings that become attached to the clothes themselves.
So for the next few weeks, in between relaxing, I will be buried beneath a pile of books and magazines, reading endless pages of downloaded articles and staring at 1930s couture, trying to understand the complex meanings of their alluring lines …