Film & Fashion

Parsons School of Design: Art/Design Hist & Theory

Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Graduate Course

Degree Students

Film & Fashion

Fall 2020

Taught By: Marilyn Cohen

Section: A

CRN: 3399

Credits: 3

“It is simply not modern to be unaware of or uninterested in what is going on all around you,” wrote Audrey Withers, editor of British Vogue during World War II. This course investigates the ways in which film uses costume—or the dressed body—to expand the discourse on fashion as inseparable from its historical and/or contemporary context. Today’s social and political issues make such examination particularly relevant given the power of film to not only influence how we dress but how we think. The course features several American films (silent, musicals, westerns, film noir, etc.), integrating costume design with other forms of fashion representation in magazines, fine arts, television, and advertising, to establish broad ideological connections, but it is certainly not limited to U.S. productions. Films covered in the past have included Won Kar-Wai’s In the Mood for Love (2000), Gurinda Chadha’s Bend it Like Beckham (2003), Julian Jarrold’s Kinky Boots (2005), Berry Gordy’s Mahogany (1975), Michael Curtiz’s Mildred Pierce (1945), Pixar’s animated film The Incredibles (2004) and Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette (2006). This semester’s films will be chosen with student input to illuminate today’s especially complex socio-cultural concerns of race and politics. Whether labelled fashion, dress, or clothing, film costume will be analyzed to reveal subjectivities and their intersectionality. Issues of race, gender, class, sexuality, nationalism, colonialism, and capitalism figure prominently with film characters embodying different realities through the materiality or even immateriality of clothing. A fashion narrative can enhance the film’s story, but it can also offer alternative and deeper interpretations. Costume in historical films, for example, can authenticate or fabricate the past—a past then consumed via the appropriation of vintage dress modes that romanticize a controversial period in history. We look at film costume as at once an aesthetic object and a consumable product of labor, class, and prejudice. Taught online, the course will interestingly parallel the mode of film itself as it is about the screen. We will watch film clips, newsreels, and documentaries as well as visit virtual fashion exhibitions in tandem with readings from diverse scholars of cultural theory, film theory, sociology, and anthropology. We will welcome other faculty zooming in to offer their perspectives, and students will research, present, and write papers related to the course content; students are always encouraged to introduce the class to personally meaningful movies. Open to: All university graduate degree students.

College: Parsons School of Design (PS)

Department: Art/Design Hist & Theory (PGHT)

Campus: Online (DL)

Sync Type: N/A

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 15

Add/Drop Deadline: September 14, 2020 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 22, 2020 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 10:30am 12/5/2020 EST

Meeting Info:

Days: Tuesday

Times: 4:00pm - 5:50pm

Building: Online Course

Date Range: 9/1/2020 - 12/15/2020