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Virtual Lecture Series Module 1: Introduction to 19th-Century Western Fashion (1790-1819)

Part 1: Friday, June 28 | 12 - 2 p.m. (virtual)

Explore fashions of the 19th Century

Join us for our 2024 Virtual Lecture Series: Introduction to 19th-Century Western Fashion, led by curator Brandon Brooks! 

This curator-led series offers beginner students an introductory overview of 19th-century Western fashions for men, women, and children. Each 2-hour module covers roughly 4 decades, beginning in the 1790s and ending just before WWI. Graduates of this complete course will be able to visually identify specific 19th-century fashion eras with their associated silhouettes. This course will educate students on 19th-century garment terminology, the structures and components of clothing, social traditions of dress, and the mechanics behind how 19th-century fashion and garments were created. 

Register for all four sessions, or pick and choose your area of interest! 

MODULE 1: 1790-1819
Friday, June 28, 12 – 2 p.m.

UPCOMING SESSIONS:

MODULE 2: 1820 – 1849
Friday, July 26, 12 – 2 p.m.

MODULE 3: 1850-1879
Friday, August 23, 12 – 2 p.m. 

MODULE 4: 1880 – 1909
Friday, September 27, 12 – 2 p.m. 

Course Overview

Description:

This curator-led four-part series offers students an introductory overview of 19th-century Western fashions for men, women, and children. Each 2-hour module covers roughly 4 decades, beginning in the 1790s and ending just before WWI. Graduates of this complete course will be able to visually identify specific 19th-century fashion eras with their associated silhouettes. This course will educate students on 19th-century garment terminology, the structures and components of clothing, social traditions of dress, and the mechanics behind how 19th-century fashion and garments were created. 

Audience:

This 4-part course was designed for the beginner student who has an interest in 19th-century fashion and would like to learn more. No previous knowledge of 19th-century fashion is needed to enjoy this class – the beginner is the ideal student! Students will receive a digital bibliography upon completion of each module. Digital access to the curator Brandon W. Brooks of GCV&M will also be made possible for interested students who may have additional questions, concerns, or recommendations. All ages 16+ are welcome.

Sources:

Source material for this 4-part course consists of primary sources from the Susan Greene Costume Collection, as well as garments from sister institutions in and around Western New York State. Extant garments and accessories for men, women, and children, 19th-century imagery (Daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, photography). Original fashion plates and fashion publications (The Workwoman’s Guide, Ladies MagazineGodey’s Lady’s Book, Peterson’s Magazine, The Delineator, Ladies’ Home Journal).

Additional primary source materials originate from the collections of other museums and cultural institutions. 

Limitations:

The fashions and garments in this course may have content-related limitations. Many of the textile and garment source materials in this course originate from a largely white, middle-class American demographic, with only some working-class clothing, and wealthy fashionable garments. This course and the collections mission of GCV&M strive to expand its collection breadth to represent a more accurate tapestry of American fashion across the 19th century.

MODULE 1: 1790-1819

Friday, June 28, 2024 12 – 2 p.m.

Explore the curriculum:

  • The Bruce & Susan Greene Collection – an overview
  • Fashion history: a definition, and its importance
  • Fashion formula; how Westerners got dressed from 1790-1819
  • Scaffolding; underwear for men and women
  • Revolutionary fashions: the new democratic way of dressing 
  • Fabric in early America; production, trade, importation
  • Homespun: truths and myths
  • Revolution, Democracy, and the new “American style”
  • Defining silhouettes of decades (1790-1819)
  • Garment terminology
  • The invention of childhood and specialized clothing for children
  • The Great Male Renunciation begins
  • Sense of Occasion: morning, afternoon, evening

MODULE 2: 1820 – 1849

Friday, July 26, 12 – 2 p.m.

Explore the curriculum:

  • Printing technologies of the second quarter of 19th century
  • Mass production and the industrial revolution
  • Corset technology: Transformative scaffolding and understructures
  • 19th-century imagery: Inhabited clothing captured
  • Romanticism, Gothic revival, nostalgia, royal emulation: Rococo and tartan mania
  • Transitional decades: 1820s and 1840s 
  • Decade of decadence: 1830s
  • Cotton and enslavement: where cotton comes from, and how it is achieved 
  • The male uniform: day and evening dress become de rigueur
  • Gendering the bodies of children: Frocks, Breeching, and little adults

MODULE 3: 1850-1879

Friday, August 23, 12 – 2 p.m.

Explore the curriculum:

  • See or be seen: Highly gendered fashions (ornament vs. agent)
  • Fashion during the war 
  • Post-War fashions rapidly changing
  • Technology and the sewing machine at home
  • Leisurewear enters the chat: the Sacque or “lounge” jacket
  • Natural vs. synthetic aniline dyes
  • Off-the-rack clothing & ready-to-wear: The American Department Store
  • First Bustle Era
  • Tight-lacing, padding, and the illusion of proportions
  • Changing underwear: athletics, health, and the Rational Dress Movement
  • Fashionable mourning: the rules and regulations of death 

MODULE 4: 1880-1909

Friday, September 27, 12 – 2 p.m.

Explore the curriculum:

  • Second Bustle Era
  • Plume boom: ornament and environment
  • Health corsets and fashion corsets: the new silhouette 
  • Garden Parties: The Lingerie and Lace Tape dress
  • Menswear goes to die: mass production and a sea of black wool 
  • Increasingly gendered childrenswear 
  • Women in the workforce
  • Comfort and simplicity: fashion relaxes 

Ticket Information

General access to one lecture: $40

Museum Member access to one lecture: $35

General access to all four lectures: $90

Museum Member access to all four lectures: $80

Consider becoming a Museum Member today to enjoy discounted admission to this virtual lecture series, plus other benefits and perks for a whole year! Click here to learn more. 

FAQs

How do I access this virtual program?

Thanks for asking! Links to access virtual programs will be sent to all ticket purchasers a day before the date of the program. Please keep an eye on your email inbox and be sure to check your spam or junk folder if you haven’t recieved your access link.

If your program is approaching have not yet recieved a confirmation email of your ticket purchase OR a link to access your virutal program, please contact programregistrar@gcv.org. 

What if I need a refund for my ticket?

We’re sorry to hear that you’re not able to attend this virtual program! Tickets may be refunded only up to 7 days prior to the virutal event date and are strictly non-transferable by date, entry time, or program. 

Will I be able to access this program after the event date?

Some virtual programs through GCV&M will be recorded and made available to registrants after the fact, some will not. We will share this information on a program-to-program basis. 

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