Dress, Power and the Fashion Industry with Dr. Leilane Rigatto

Dress, Power and the Fashion Industry with Dr. Leilane Rigatto


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The birth of the high fashion in 1858 created many rules which sustained the hundred years’ fashion, an exclusively luxury system. This Conversation will examine the evolution of fashion in the 19th and 20th centuries, from the birth of high fashion to contemporary minimalism. It’s a fitting way to understand the intricacies of the fashion world and the varied history behind this complex web.

In the 1900s, designs became a new way to live in modern cities. The speed caught by photography and other machines led people to choose more practical dresses to move about the city. Things moved quickly in the 20th century, with fashions changing every decade or so. We’ll discuss the reduction of fabric in dresses from the 1920s onwards. We’ll learn how the decrease in the amount of fabric was both a sign of crisis in the 1930s and 1940s yet at the same time illustrated the birth of a more reasonable ‘ready to wear’ fashion system.

On the other hand, the 1950s was the perfect decade to promote the dream after the Second World War. We’ll look at how Dior dresses wrapped women’s bodies in voluminous skirts. As we move into the 1960s, we’ll understand that the increase of a young population flared the transgression. We’ll discuss the intersection of mainstream culture and technology and the role this played in fashion. We’ll learn about any relevant counterculture movements that happened from the 1960s to 1970s. In the 1980s the body became the protagonist as well as a political battleground. The logomania resisted until the 1990s when, as George Michael predicted, “sometimes the clothes do not make the man”. As we finish up our discussion, we’ll learn about the rise of minimalism and its departure from the previous decades.

Led by fashion professor Leilane Rigatto, we’ll emerge with a deeper understanding of this intricate puzzle of the fashion history of the 19th and 20th centuries. We’ll learn that fashion cannot be homogenized, and together, we’ll explore the fashion realm in both a fun and critical way.

Leilane has been working, researching, and teaching in the fashion field in Brazil, Italy, and Japan for more than 15 years. She contributed to some of most reputable fashion educational institutions in San Paolo, Brazil before moving to Milan in 2016. In her career as fashion designer, she has worked for brands such as Vicunha, André Lima, and Jogê and from 2004 to 2006 was the creative director and head of her namesake brand, Lane Rigatto. She has been a finalist as both a designer and an artist for Fashion Week and Sculpture contests in San Paolo. After various degrees in Fashion Design and another in Educational Practice, she moved to Italy to finish her PhD in Fashion Design at Politecnico di Milano. She finished in June 2018.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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