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June 18 - June 24

Kenyon Summer Seminar

Fashion and Illusion: Understanding History Through the Costumes We Create

Instructor: Joan Juliet Buck, former Editor-in-Chief, Paris Vogue; author, The Price of Illusion


What messages are embedded in clothing and fashion at times of significant cultural change? Joan Juliet Buck, the first and only American woman ever to fill Paris Vogue's coveted position of editor-in-chief, will guide you through flashpoint moments in the 20th century, such as the German occupation of France in World War II, London and New York in the swinging 1960s, Florence and Milan in the dangerous 1970s, and Paris in the heady 1980s and 1990s. Reading from Buck’s recent memoir, The Price of Illusion, and viewing seminal films from each era, you will discover the role fashion and couture played in each historical period and engage in lively class discussion about the cultural and political forces at work. Examples of everyday dress, fashion, costume and art will also be presented and reveal how citizens of each era expressed who they were and what they believed.

Download the syllabus for this course.