The Evolution of Fashion: A Six-Part Course with Estela Mendes

The Evolution of Fashion: A Six-Part Course with Estela Mendes


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For centuries fashion has been a key expression of society and civilization. Through clothes, people distinguished social class, gender freedom, wealth, and even political opinions. The concept of beauty, for women, as the concept of masculinity for men, has changed through the centuries. The transformation of the world from local to global has introduced a diverse range of materials, resulting in changing tastes, as technological developments have democratized fashion and made it a global industry.

In this six-part course, we will delve into nine centuries of fashion evolution, from the Middle Ages to the 21st century. We will focus on the western world and both men’s and women’s wear. In each lecture, we will identify fashion trends, the materials used, the differences in attire between social classes, and from different countries, and the technological advancements of each period.

Lecture 1: From Local to Global - 12th to 16th century

From the 12th century, the way of life and taste began to change from local regions to broader areas. The crusades and new commercial routes have an impact on these changes. The Renaissance period with the expansion into “New Worlds” brings new colors, materials, and an extraordinary exchange of culture that influences lifestyle and fashion.

Lecture 2: Extravagance and Modesty - 17th to 19th century

The first fashion victims in history emerged during the Baroque period. This is the moment of fabulous extravagance. In France, fashion is used as a political tool by Louis the XIV. But by the 19th century, Victorian society imposed modesty and romanticism bloomed.

Lecture 3: The Beginning of Everything - 1900s to 1920s

From a corseted existence to freedom. The beginning of the twentieth century is the beginning of everything we now take for granted. This is the moment of great technological development and deep social change, fashion mirrors this transformation. Finally, fashion becomes democratic.

Lecture 4: From the Outside into the Inside World - the 1930s to 1950s

Two World Wars dramatically affect society. We will look at how women’s lives are transformed by newly achieved freedom in the 1930s and 1940s, and how they return home, back to the corset in the pursuit of idealized beauty.

Lecture 5: Rebellion and Consumerism - 1960s to 1990s

Youth culture, social movements, streetwear - the 1960s and 1970s broke with strict 1950’s fashion and made everything about freedom. But by the 1980s, fashion became exuberant, expressing the new pursuit of personal wealth and success. The last decade of the 20th century was about the consolidation of a global and powerful fashion Industry and the cult of the Brand.

Lecture 6: Where are we going from here? - 2000s to Present

The internet, the influencer, social media, and the cult of Personal Brand. From fast fashion to luxury brands, is this the new democratization of fashion? This present moment is one of great transformation. We will discuss how we got to where we are now and how fashion became such a powerful industry. We will reflect on the future of this industry and how consumer habits might change from this moment on.

Estela Mendes is an art historian with a MA in Museum Studies. Her research background is in Costume Design. Born and raised in Lisbon, she has been teaching about the beauty of the world for the past 15 years. After working in national palaces in Portugal, Estela moved to London where she spent 5 years working at museums like Buckingham Palace, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery, where she has delivered gallery talks focusing on Fashion.
In Portugal she created a company of Costume Hiring and Historical Re-enactments working with Museums, Opera Companies, Theatre and Film.

How does it work?

This is a six-part series held weekly and hosted on Zoom. Please check the schedule for the specific dates and times for each lecture.

Is there a reading list in advance?

Though the course is open to participants with no background in the history of fashion and design, there are suggested readings for further investigation. You will receive this soon after course registration.

How long are the lectures?

Each lecture is 90 minutes long with time for Q&A.

How much is the course?

The course is $210 for 6 lectures.

Is a recording available?

In general, our courses are not recorded. However, if you need to miss a lecture please let us know in advance and we can arrange for a recording for that session on an individual basis.

Suitable for all ages

 

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
100%
(2)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
S
S.S.
Everything is right with this course!
L
L.
Fun