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Fashion & Function: Exploring Protective Uses of Dress in Times of Crisis

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This conference aims to generate discussion on the protective uses of clothing & jewellery during times of crisis in the early modern period

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With thanks to King's College London for supporting this event.

Fashion in the early modern period was both creative and innovative, changing as people responded to the world around them. In times of crisis the functionality of dress as a way of providing protection became a practical concern for people, whatever their social status or financial means. From their materiality to their perceived protection, dress was adapted to serve a specific purpose. Whether dealing with personal crisis, such as illness and financial hardships or larger scale events such as famines, wars, plagues and pandemics, the protective uses of dress have been meticulously employed. From jewellery and amulets to protective masks and clothing, people in the early modern found subjective ways to dress in order to project a feeling of safety and security. Uniforms in times of war were designed specifically to protect from wounds and shield from the weather elements; masks were used during plagues and pandemics; while amulets were widely employed to ward off spirits, illness, and general bad luck.

Draft Programme (please note this may be subject to change)

11:00 Welcome by Organisers

Morning Session Chair, Dr Sarah Cockram (King's College London)

11:15-12:30 Panel 1: Talismans

11:15-11:30 Wearing Red Coral in Trapani during the Plague Epidemics of 1575 and 1624, Roberta Cruciata (University of Palermo)

11:30-11:45 “Worne about the neck”: Healing and Preventing Ill Health in Early Modern England, Mirren Brockies (University of Auckland)

11:45-12:00 On the Production of Talismans and Their (Im)potency in Marsilio Ficino’s ‘De vita libri tres’, Katharina Strika (Ludwig Maximilians University)

12:00-12:30 Discussion

12:30-12.45 Break

12:45-13:35 Panel 2: Colour

12:45-13:00 Fashioning a Sea-Green and Blue Revolution: Levellers, Dress and Gesture during the English Revolution, c. 1647-9, Justin Schwartz (King’s College London)

13:00-13:15 The Plague Wrapped in Red in Early Modern Art, Florence Larcher (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)

13:15-13:35 Discussion

13:35-14:20 Lunch Break

Afternoon Session Chair, Dr Elizabeth Currie

14:20-15:35 Panel 3: Clothing

14:20-14:35 Spanish Cloaks: The Patterns of Cloaks Worn in Spain around 1580, Martina Hřibrová (Tomas Bata University)

14:35-14:50 Fashioning a Daily Domestic Crisis: Reconstructing the Early Modern Apron as a Functional and Fashionable Accessory, Jane Malcolm-Davies (University of Copenhagen)

14:50-15:05 Clothing and Contagion: Protective Dress during Outbreaks of Plague in Early Modern Edinburgh, Rachel Clamp (Durham University)

15:05-15:35 Discussion

15:35-15:50 Break

15:50-17:05 Panel 4: Disguise

15:50-16:05 Concealed Freedom: The Tapada Limeña, Luisina Silva Blanc (Independent scholar)

16:05-16:20 A Tale of Stepfathers, Faith and Fashion: Lady Elizabeth Tudor’s Use of Dress to Protect and Restore her Reputation after her Disgrace during the Seymour Scandal (1547-53), Megan Isaac (University of Southampton)

16:20-16:35 “Conceal me what I am”- Protection and Masculine Clothes in Shakespeare’s Comedies, Imke Lichterfeld (University of Bonn)

16:35-17:05 Discussion

17:05-17:15 Concluding Remarks

17:15 Conference Ends

17:15-18:00 Online Coffee Room/ Social Chat (optional)

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Organiser Dressing the Early Modern Network

Organiser of Fashion & Function: Exploring Protective Uses of Dress in Times of Crisis

Dressing the Early Modern is an international network set up for the purpose of bringing together PhD students and early career researchers working on any aspect of early modern dress.

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