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The Costumer's Manifesto: Theatre 355 THE HISTORY OF FASHION ANDDRESS (Face to Face Version) Syllibus This is an Old Syllabus - This Does NOT reflect current UAF courses, and I no longer work at UAF. This is only kept online to help new teachers who are trying to write their own course descriptions.

Theatre 355 THE HISTORY OF FASHION AND DRESS (Face to Face Version)

Online location of this syllabus:

[1] /costhist355/thr355.htm

THR F355 Spring 2006CRN: 36269

Class Time and Location Mondays 6:30pm- 9:30pm THR 101 (The "Greenroom")

Final Exam Period 6:30pm- 8:30pm, Monday May 8

Instructor: Tara Maginnis 474-7630 website: Office Hrs:I may be found in my office or the costume shop (room 107 of the Fine Arts Theatre) 1-5pm M, Tu, Th, & F other than when my meetings are scheduled. (not all known at this time, but Theatre dept meetings will be F 1-2pm ).

Catalog Description: Social history of costume in Western Civilization, from Ancient Greece to the present time. Includes instruction in the methods of research used to find visual source material, and assignments that exercise these research skills.

Purposes: To gain an over-view of Western costume history.To understand connections between the history of clothing and the history of art, dance, theatre, politics and society. To learn to use the library, the Internet, and antique garments to research costume history.

Free online textbook:See my WWW site The Costumer’s Manifesto: especially the sections Costume History Sorted By Period the lectures for the Online Version of this class

Other Requirements:

Unless prohibited by your religion or doctor, bring caffeinated beverages to all slide lectures.Students falling asleep during slide lectures who do not bring such beverages may have rubber bands shot at them by Dr. Maginnis. Shows: All students enrolled in a theatre class are expected to view our mainstage shows, (In this case. Waiting for Godot) and you will get one free ticket to each UAF show, (students working on a specific production get 2).You may pick up your free tickets beginning 1 week before the show opening at the UAF box office.You are not required to see the Fashion show, since it is a fundraiser for the dept, but you may get extra credit for this class by participating in it as a model, entrant or dresser.

Student Learning Outcomes: By the end of this course, students should be able to identify clothing from the major eras of Western costume history, and be able to conduct in-depth independent research on any costume history topic of interest to them using primary and secondary source materials, including actual garments.

(Kyoto Costume Institute)




1/23Intro & syllabus, cover basic ideas in the history of fashion.Video Fashion and Clothing (VH-5094)

Handout“Library Costume Resources: a Supplement”

1/30Slide lecture: Prehistoric dress, The needle before the Wheel.Ancient dress, Greek & Roman Myths and realities of pagan decadence.Field trip to the Library.

2/6Slide show:Late Antiquity,Byzantine & Early Medieval aka “500 years of camping out” Video: TheHistory of Hair

2/13Slide Show: Medieval affluence rising.Video:Headdress Through the Ages Library Tour 2: 1st and 4thFloor (Indexes)

2/20Slide Show: Late Medieval/Early Italian Renaissance; the planned obsolescence of"fashion" .Video: Unmentionables, the History of Underwear

2/27Slide show: 16th Century, Bursting at the seams; corsetry, slashing, and thefirst great struggle between rapid change and conservatism. Library Tour #3: 2nd& 3rd Floors

3/6Early 17th Century, Sex vs. Religion in dress and politics. Absolutism in theage of Louis XIV DVD of either The Three Musketeers or Vatel orvideo of Restoration

3/13SPRING BREAKMarch 13-17

3/20Slide Show: The 18th Century

3/27Slide Lecture: 1789-1815, Revolution and fashionthen meet in costume shop for introduction to antique/vintage clothing.Demo of "dating" antique garments from pictures and patterns

4/3Meet in costume Shop for Demonstration: Industrial tools race Pre-Industrialstitchers and their tools.Experiencethe wonders of the sewing machine, rotating pinkers, improvements in scissors,mass-produced pins, and other gadgets that radically altered clothing productionfor all time. Slide lecture: 1815-1840 Industrialization, Romanticism and theseparation of the sexes.

4/10Slide lecture: 1840-1880 Conspicuous consumption. Meet later in Costume Shop tofondle 20th century shoes and old catalogs, using the latter to“date” the former.

4/17Slide Lecture: 1880-1900 Dress reform. Video: The Story of Fashion, pt 1

4/24Slide show: 1900-1915 The New Woman, The New Man and the rise of sportswear.Video: The Story of Fashion, pt 2Slide show: 1910-1929 Orientalism and Art Deco from Russia and Paris.

5/1Slide show: 1930-1945 Fabric conservation and rationing.: Videos The Story ofFashion, pt 3, After seeing the three videos of The Story of Fashion,compete at doing the best Karl Lagerfeld impersonation in class.NO credits, but Tara will award a costume book to the winner.

5/8Final Exam Period TBA times for oral presentations of projects if needed. Video:Wearable Art

Assignments:The format of this course allows you to choose two or more projectassignments from a variety of project types, and deliver them in your choice ofseveral formats.The goal is thatyou should learn both about methods of research and details about a selectsubject in fashion history in each project.However the format you choose to demonstrate successful research+analysis=knowledgecan be in any format in which you feel competent and comfortable.Projects may be done EITHER by single individuals, or by groups of two ormore students at your discretion. The number of projects you do can also vary.How this works is that every assignment is "worth" a certain number ofpoints depending on the nature of the assignment and it's difficulty. As a student you are required to finish project assignments adding up to100 credits overall.


1.Do a detailed research project on the origins of a well-known iconiccostume of a mythical being.Examples:Angel, Devil, Wizard, Space Alien, Santa Claus, Fairies, Death, Vampire, Witch,or Liberty. Trace the evolution of the costume from its earliest examples, usingboth text and visual sources.Ifpossible, show or describe how other cultures costume these figures. Show when,and how, the ideas about the “look” of the being first became “fixed”into an easily recognizable archetype.Coverwhy you think this archetype became the recognized standard in our culture. 50credits

2.Similar to above project, but trace the origin of the dress of a realgroup of people that has, over time, been turned into a theatricalized icon.Examples: Pirates, Cavemen, Court Jesters/Clowns, Cowboys, or FrontierProstitutes.Show what is knownabout the real dress of these people in their own time, then trace the processby which theatrical and film costume designs made for these characters hascaused an iconic version to be recognized as a standard. What does the iconmean? 50 credits

3.Do a detailed researchproject on the history of fashion in any group not covered in detail in theclass lectures.This may includethe dress of non-Western nations and tribes, sub-groups in society like Punk,Pre-Raphaelite dress reformers, or fetishists, or the Traditional dressassociated with an occasion like weddings, coronations or funerals, orassociated with a profession like lawyers or prostitutes.Cover how this dress changed over time, and how the dress hassignificance for the group that created it and wore/wears it.50 credits.

4.Study a group of Garments in a given decade from our Costume HistoryCollection, or which you own, and look for examples of similar garments inprimary source material of the time.(Garmentsmust be older than you are).Assemblea report, using the garments as the center of focus, on this time in costumehistory. Note: Items from our history collection cannot be worn as part of apresentation/performance. Exceptions may be made if the garment in question isdetermined to be strong enough, and not too tight for the wearer. 50 credits.

5.Design a series of 6 paper dolls of various eras or nationalities, andtheir clothes, including underwear, accessories, and a change of clothes.Paper dolls should be in color, or should be in clear B&W ready tocolor outlines, suitable for Xeroxing for K-6 classes.50 credits.

6.Make yourself a complete costume for historical reenactment and documentit’s authenticity in the manner prescribed for competition in the Costume ConHistorical Masquerade. If you have no idea what this means, ask. 50 Credits.

7.Sew 5 or more historical outfits for fashion dolls, such as you might useto teach a K-6 class about fashion history.You may use commercially available historic doll patterns (ask Tara) BUTyou must document your choices in color, fabric, and details with pictures fromcontemporary sources. 50 credits.

8.Apart from garments, fashion also includes issues of body image,modification and cosmetics. Do a detailed research project on one of thesetopics. 50 Credits.

9.If you have an idea for a different project, feel free to submit the ideato me.

Minor Projects:

1.Study a single garment in our Costume History Collection, or which you own, and look for examples of similar garments in primary source material of the time.(Garment must be older than you are).Assemble a short report, describing what you have learned about the garment and it’s context in it’s period. 20 credits.

2.Study a single garment in our Costume History Collection, or which you own, and make a pattern from it either in scale on a graph paper grid, or sewn up in muslin or other fabric.Either write out the details of what you would need to do to replicate the garment for an actor, or actually do so. 20-40 credits depending on how complex the project is.

3.Most people study the history of fashion in order to better replicate the fashions of the past for reenacting or for drama (theatre/TV/movies). Yet at a certain point in designing and making any replication of past clothing, the designer must make artistic or practical choices that are at times at variance with historical probability.Analyze a movie that has costumes set in a period other than the one in which it was made.Good choices include: ElizabethAngels and InsectsGone With the WindTom JonesCleopatra, and Chicago. Write a 1 to 2-page review of the film you saw addressing all of the following topics: The basic story. The style of the film. The extent to which the costumes in the film supported the story. The extent to which the costumes appeared to conform to real images from the past. Why you thought the costumes were successful or unsuccessful overall. 10 credits. Doing 8 reviews of these and posting them, with pictures, to the WWW adds up to a 100pt major project.

4.Kill many magazines and do drawings or Xeroxes to make a neat, labeled scrapbook of contemporary fashion pictures that show design elements taken from other eras, shown next to an example from that era with the same feature.This “scrapbook” can also be in the form of PowerPoint, web page, etc. 20 credits.

5.Contrast styles in art and architecture with fashions of the same era, identifying similarities (or differences) in line, color and motifs. These may be many examples from a single era, or scattered examples from several eras.This project can be submitted entirely in the form of pictures, in a manner similar to that of the James Laver book Style and Costume. 20 credits.

6.Design a single paper doll of one era or nationality, and their clothes, including underwear, accessories, and at least 5 changes of clothes, with labeling of when these clothes are worn.Paper dolls should be in color, or should be in clear B&W ready to color outlines, suitable for Xeroxing for K-6 classes.20 credits.

7.Sew an historical outfit for a fashion doll, such as you might use to teach a K-6 class about fashion history.You may use a commercially available historic doll pattern (ask Tara) BUT you must document your choices in color, fabric, and details with pictures from contemporary sources. 10 credits

8.Make a short report on the controversy/political ramifications about one of the following clothing items: Legal wigs, Penis Gourds, Hijab, or Wonderbras. 20 Credits.

Fun Weird Projects: We could do these during the final period. These are not open to variations in presentation format.

1.Group project: Create a “Jeopardy” game using information you all got in my thrilling lectures to help the class review our material near the end of the semester. You must have 6 categories, as well as final jeopardy, and follow the TV format.Other students (not in your group) will act as contestants.Tara will award a costume book to the winner. 20 credits per group member, or 50 for a solo effort.

2.Similar to above, but make cards for a Trivial Pursuit Game using any trivia found on the historical sections of The Costumer’s Manifesto: Tara will award a costume book to the winner.20 credits per member of a group, or 50 for a solo effort.

3.Make up a crossword puzzle using at least 30 words you learned in class.Definitions should be in the clue section, and the terms in the puzzle.Present copies to the entire class. Tara will award a costume book to the first successful person to complete the crossword. 20 points.

Delivery Formats:Not all projects are adaptable to all delivery formats; use common sense.

1.A formal written research paper, with pictures and footnotes.

2.An oral presentation, with some sort of visual component such as slides, costumes, handouts for all, etc.

3.A binder of highlighted and organized research material with written notes and occasional commentary.

4.A web site, with pictures and text.

5.A video.

6.A live multimedia performance.

7.A PowerPoint presentation.

Group Presentations:If you wish any project to be done by two or more of you this is quite OK.People can often motivate more when studying with a group of friends.However, it should be obvious that the more people who are working on a project, the more quantity or quality are expected in the finished results.So, for example, I would expect a single person doing an oral report on a major project might take 10-20 minutes to do a presentation, whereas a group should reasonably do more.

Grading: Grading is based on an average of your letter grades for the total of these assignments.Completing less than the full number of 100 project credits can lower your grade.

Extra Credit:

Maintaining a close to perfect attendance record can earn you up to 10 extra project points.An attendance sign in sheet will be passed around during each class, and students who miss no classes will automatically receive 10 extra credit points.Students who miss 1-2 classes will get 7 extra credits, students who miss 3 classes get 5 extra credits.

Support Services:UAF Student Support Services office is located in 508 Gruening Building Phone: (907) 474 6844Fax: (907) 474 7480 and further information may be obtained at or by E-mail:

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Product Links

20,000 Years of Fashion : The History of Costume and Personal Adornment 20,000 Years of Fashion : The History of Costume and Personal Adornment


Fashion Fashion

The Art of Dress : Clothes and Society, 1500-1914 The Art of Dress : Clothes and Society, 1500-1914

A History of Costume A History of Costume

History of Costume : From Ancient Mesopotamia Through the Twentieth Century

Man of Fashion: Peacock Males and Perfect Gentlemen

Survey of Historic Costume: A History of Western Dress Survey of Historic Costume: A History of Western Dress

This Page is part of The Costumer's Manifesto, originally founded by Tara Maginnis, Ph.D. from 1996-2014, now flying free as a wiki for all to edit and contribute. Site maintained, hosted, and wikified by Andrew Kahn. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License; additional terms may apply. See Terms of Use for details. You may print out any of these pages for non-profit educational use such as school papers, teacher handouts, or wall displays. You may link to any page in this site.