The History of Fashion
Professor Alexandra Sargent Capps brings her passion for examining ideas that drive fashion to her students in Theatre 2781: The History of Fashion. A study of men’s and women’s fashion through the ages, the class focus includes how fashion trends serve as a barometer for interpreting past to present social norms and evolution. In partnership with Prof. Kevin Galloway, director of DIVE (Design as an Immersive Vanderbilt Experience), and Nashville’s own Parthenon, the spring 2018 class explored the questions 1)What is classicism? 2) What is classicism relative to fashion?
The DIVE, human-centered design process included a tour of Nashville’s Parthenon early in the semester, and a study of the basic Greek garment worn by men and women, the chiton, in relationship to art and architecture. Sargent Capps asked the students to develop, through defining, ideating, and prototyping posters, a deeper understanding of the meaning, usage, and reinvention of this classic wardrobe piece that exemplifies the cyclical nature of design. The main goal of the class project and exhibit is to explore how the overarching humanistic ideals at the core of our greatest human accomplishments, embodied by the term classicism, affects us in ways that are visually and intellectually engaging, dynamic, and inspiring.
The class design process culminated in an exhibit at the Parthenon in Nashville’s Centennial Park, a monument dedicated to Nashville’s designation since the mid-nineteenth century as the Athens of the South. It includes posters that demonstrate the student’s interpretations of classicism in a variety of visual examples as well as contemporary draped chitons. Visitors to the Parthenon engage with Nashville’s remarkable representation of the ideals of classicism through the permanent exhibit on the 1897 Centennial Exposition, the architecture and sculpture throughout this magnificent building, and through Vanderbilt’s History of Fashion class Poster Project exhibition.
The student poster designers are: Rebecca Arp ’20, Tatiana Baxter ’18, Kristina Bergmann ’18, Jaimie Cretella ’20, Claire Hagney ’20, Dara Kotek ’18, Kelsey Laabs ’18, Courtney Lane’18, Rafiki Malek ’19, Isabelle Mann ’18, Madison Miller ’21, Olivia Murry (Vanderbilt’s Next Steps program) ’21, Madeline Oberfoell ’19, Adam Sraberg ’21, Jason Wu ’18