At Home with C19th Dress & Textiles Reframed - February 2021

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19th Century Dress and Textiles Reframed 'At Home' - meet & greet short talks celebrating the joy of research!

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You are invited to join us ‘At Home’ for the third event of the 19th Century Dress and Textiles Reframed network. Three short talks will share a bit of 'research joy', and help build our research community. Please join us with some of your own tea/coffee/cake - whether you spike these with brandy or gin is up to you! Programme to follow, but talks will be no more than 10 minutes, and we plan a break and time for questions and chat. Our speakers for this event are:

Alanna McKnight

"No Bones About it: Innovations in Corset Boning"

So often when corsets are discussed it’s centred around the argument of patriarchal control versus women’s agency over their own bodies. But corsets have also driven innovation and ecological disaster, parts of the history that are overshadowed by the more obvious stories. If corsets are opened-up, we can follow the history of boning, from baleen and an industry that devastated whale populations, to the development of steel, and a return to a desire for organic stays. The race to develop new materials resulted in lawsuits, aggressive advertising campaigns, and creative uses of unexpected materials beyond the steel and bone narrative.

Alanna McKnight holds a PhD in Communication and Culture from Ryerson University and is now an independent scholar. She has been making and wearing corsets since she was 17, turning a lifelong passion into an academic expertise. As well as arguing for change in popular corset rhetoric, she is also a historian of needle-trades in Toronto.

Dilara Scholtz

I will be looking at the meaning of Victorian mourning dress through the interdisciplinary lens of the history of emotions, material culture- and dress history. Can dress be used as a tool to express grief in a way that can not only be a marker of status but also provide relief to the wearer? This concept will be explored in the context of the Victorian mourning warehouse – where emotion management and commercialisation met, creating a combination that is unique to Victorian fashion. Using magazines and etiquette manuals, I will also take a special look at the advertisement and potential fashionability of mourning dress as an almost mundane item of clothing.

Dilara Scholz is a third-year PhD student in the Department of History at Royal Holloway, University of London as well as a part-time visiting tutor at the University of London Worldwide Virtual Programme. After completing an MA in Public History at Royal Holloway, she began her PhD under supervision of Professor Jane Hamlett in 2018. Her research is focused on the nineteenth century material culture of death, intertwined with the history of emotions, shining a light on the connection between material objects and emotions in the context of grief and mourning. Aside from mourning jewellery and mourning dress, she is currently looking at the commercialisation of death in the form of the phenomenon of the Victorian mourning warehouse.

Emma Kelly

"Costume, Mantles, and Millinery: Slyne and Co, 1885-1899."

Founded on Grafton Street in 1885 by William and Rose Slyne, Slyne and Co was among the frontrunners of fashionable consumption in pre-independence Dublin and formed part of the city’s fashion landscape, operating alongside other fashionable businesses including Brown, Thomas and Co, and Switzers. From its premises on Grafton and Harry Street, the ladies’ outfitter specialised in dressmaking, tailoring and millinery, offering occasion specific fashion including bridal attire, trousseaux and presentation gowns. Within the middle and upper-class strata of Irish society, Slyne’s forged a reputation as an outfitter that afforded women the means of self-presentation, through the provision of custom and ready-made goods and a range of inhouse services. Slyne’s was presented as a female-led, multi-faceted business which had an astute awareness of the ever-changing world of fashion and the social know-how to provide their desired client base with their fashionable needs. My paper would focus on the first fifteen years of the business, a period of growth and seismic change. It would also seek to highlight the importance of newspapers and periodical in piecing together the history of this forgotten Dublin establishment.

Emma Kelly is a recent graduate of the Design History and Material Culture MA at NCAD, Dublin. She holds a B.A.in Fashion and Dress History from the University of Brighton. Between 2018 and 2019, she was an Ambassador for the Costume Society, before taking over their monthly CS Fashion Hour event in 2020. She is currently the blog editor for the Society’s popular blog, working alongside the 2021 Ambassadors. Her research interests centre on Ireland in the late 19th and early 20th century, and includes fashion establishments in towns and cities, female-led businesses, and fashion in the Irish print media. Her MA thesis, The Grafton Outfitter: Slyne and Co, 1885 to 1937, looked at a forgotten ladies outfitters on Dublin’s Grafton Street, piecing together the history of this female-led business, that was amongst the frontrunners of fashionable consumption in pre- and post-independence Dublin.

Please register for this free talk, which will take place via Zoom - links will be sent out shortly before the event.

Cordially,

19thcD&T Committee: Robyne Calvert, Hilary Davidson, Lynn Hulse, Veronica Isaac, Anna Vaughn Kett, Charlotte Nicklas, Hannah Rumball, Suzanne Rowland, Kate Strasdin, and Kimberly Wahl

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