Lisa Cohen


Associate Professor of English & Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Wesleyan University

Two mannequins are positioned at the edge of a pedestrian road crossing in New York
Mannequins on Avenue C, New York City, November 2011











I’m interested in lived experiences of fashion and in how experiments with biographical writing can document clothing in new ways. For this project, I am thinking about clothes and grief. How do sartorial remnants hold the bodies of the dead and our memories of them? What does it look, feel, and smell like to re-encounter them?

My work has often concerned queer lives and archival afterlives, addressing questions of representation around fashion, film, and literature. All We Know: Three Lives (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012), is a group biography that includes my life of Madge Garland, the fashion editor of British Vogue in the 1920s and ‘30s and founding Professor of the School of Fashion at the Royal College of Art. I’ve also written on clothes, books, and contemporary art for The London Review of Books, The Paris Review, the New York TimesBOMB, and Fashion Theory, and my memoirs and poems have appeared in Vogue (U.S.), Queer 13, The Vassar Review, and Ploughshares, among many other magazines and anthologies.

This collaboration with Fashion Interpretations grows out of the book I’m currently completing, which is a meditation on queer friendship, questions of evidence, preservation, and decay, and Enlightenment legacies in the context of the long history of HIV/AIDS.