Janet Arnold Study Day: Structure and Artifice

Janet Arnold Study Day: Structure and Artifice

Saturday 01 October 2016

Perhaps structure and artifice is what fashionable dress is all about. Striving to make a statement, to be different or to be beautiful makes both men and women go to enormous lengths. A corset or a crinoline can give you a different silhouette but it is in the face and hair where we look to define someone as beautiful. An alabaster skin framed by and exquisite lace collar or a glorious head of hair topped with an eye-catching hat. Our speakers for this study day will explore how the face and head have been enhanced to create the illusion of beauty as defined by the fashions of the day.

Please note the change of running order in the afternoon.

Hair – Crafting and Constructing the Female Identity

Charlotte Fiell’s talk will trace the complex art of hairdressing from its earliest known beginnings to the most modern and contemporary of style.

A woman’s hair has always been regarded as her crowning glory: from the elaborately dressed styles in Ancient Greece to the simple bobs of the 1920s and the colorful gelled spikes of Punk, right up to the latest directions in the world of hairdressing today. Straight or curly, long or short, blonde or dark, hair offers women the ability to change their appearance dramatically and define their social standing and style allegiance.

Charlotte Fiell is a leading authority on twentieth- and twenty-first century design and has written and edited over 50 internationally bestselling books on the subject.

Get a head get a hat?

Althea Mackenzie is Curator of the Charles Wade Costume Collection and Collections Officer at Hereford Museum. She is also the author of a series of delightful books for the National Trust revealing the C18 and C19 costume and accessories from Snowshill, one of the country’s leading collections.

Althea’s talk will be looking at the power of headwear through the ages and what headwear reveals about the position of women in society.

Framing the Face with Layers of Linen c. 1580-1680

Jenny Tiramani of The School of Historical Dress is a leading authority on dress from the C16 and C17.

Her work for the theatre, particularly The Globe, will be well known to many and she is now currently working with the team who are extending Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion series.

Once the production of single-layered linen ruffs was established in the 1570s, the seamstresses and laundresses went on to create multi-layered ruffles of more and more complexity, spectacularly starched and set into scrolling shapes, to please their clientele. Reconstructions of multi-layered ruffs will be used to demonstrate the extreme precision and skill needed in their production.

Beauty and Cosmetics C16 - C18

Sarah Jane Downing is a freelance writer contributing to national and local magazines and newspapers as well as four books published by Shire: Beauty and Cosmetics 1550-1950, Fashion in the Time of William Shakespeare, Fashion in the Time of Jane Austen and The English Pleasure Garden 1660-1860.

Ours is not the only age when beauty is celebrated but also judged and quantified. From the colour of the ear to the transparency of the teeth the benchmark for every aspect of beauty has been set and women – and some men – have applied themselves wholeheartedly, risking their lives using poisonous chemicals, their fortunes at the threat of blackmail, or the wrath of God, to reach the desired targets.

Responding to the theme of ‘Structure and Artifice’ this talk will pay particular attention to the symbolism of beauty patches, the mysteries of mouse skin eyebrows, and the enigmatic vizard mask as well as some of the most noxious recipes and bizarre bids for beauty ever made.

The report on this event is included in the Autumn 2016 issue of WECS Wardrobe.

Magazine Cover