The Violet Hour

SHOWstudio: 1914 Now - The Violet Hour: Amy de la Haye / Katerina Athanasopoulou

A very large part of my decision to study Fashion History, despite loving to write, is to explore, and experiment with, new methods and mediums to display, curate and present historic fashion. Whether this is in form of digital museums, such as the previous subject of a post here on Nouvelle Noire; the Google Art and Culture App, or new innovative techniques, I think it is highly important that fashion exhibitions and the presentation of fashion history is not confined only to the static mannequins within a museum setting. 

Therefore, when I came across the above video, it felt so refreshing to see a beautifully directed short film combining cinematography with animation depicting not only fashion history, in the form of an early twentieth century tea gown, but also cultural and social history, which arguably are not mutually  exclusive. That is to say, I believe that the clothing of a certain period can give provide an understanding of the socioeconomic and cultural climate of the same period, and to not analyse clothing as a part of an exploration of any given period is to inaccurately represent this period. 

A collaborative project between SHOWstudio, pioneering fashion film platform, the esteemed fashion curator, Amy de la Haye and director and animator, Katerina Athanasopoulou, 'The Violet Hour', positions the violet tea dress in its World War 1 setting, literally bringing the dress to life using animation and music to engage the senses. One of the biggest problems faced by curators and exhibition maker, is animating the inanimate. Whilst mannequins are integral in the display of dress, it can be hard to see the items for anything other than the ghost of the owner, especially when placed on a motionless, emotionless mannequin. I once read something suggesting that the 'fashion museum is the graveyard of clothes' (source unknown - which is something I am frustratingly trying to locate!) and I can, to some extent, agree with this. 

However, discovering new methods to engage people with the fascinating sartorial stories presented in these artefacts is one of my main inspirations to study in this field, and aspirations once I enter the field professionally. 

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