The NYC-based fashion scholar Francesca Granata – editor of Fashion Projects and author of Experimental Fashion – will be joined by New Yorker staff writer Judith Thurman for an online event to launch the publication of Fashion Criticism: An Anthology.
“The subject of dress,” Thurman said, “has rarely been considered worthy of serious inquiry. This essential anthology of essays on fashion corrects that oversight which is not, of course, unrelated to misogyny.”
As Granata asks in the introduction, “Why has fashion criticism remained undervalued relative to other areas of cultural criticism? What has been its historical development vis-à-vis other fields of criticism?”
“Fashion criticism is still undergoing the process of legitimization that other realms of popular culture criticism went through in the 1960s and 1970s, when barriers between high and low culture increasingly came under attack.”
Fashion Criticism claims a place for writing on fashion alongside literature, film, music, and visual arts criticism. Contributors to Fashion Criticism include Hilton Als, Eve Babitz, Angela Carter, Vanessa Friedman, Robin Givhan, Susan Sontag, Guy Trebay, Oscar Wilde, Lynn Yaeger, and many more.
“This dazzling compendium of critical fashion writing,” said Vogue’s Yaeger, “with a sweep of over one hundred years-is as fun to read as it is intellectually provocative.”
Granata, who founded her journal Fashion Projects in 2004, explored the subject of this anthology in 2013 with an issue that featured interviews with Thurman, the Washington Post’s Robin Givhan, New York Times’s Guy Trebey, and Vogue’s Suzy Menken.
Fashion Criticism is separated into three sections (late 19th century-1960s, 1970s-1990s, 21st century, each with an introduction by Granata) and highlights include Oscar Wilde’s editorials in The Woman’s World, Lois Long’s reviews in The New Yorker in the 1920s, a never-before republished Susan Sontag essay from Vogue (1978), Angela Carter’s reviews for New Society, the magazine which later became the New Statesman and Bebe Moore Campbell’s writings for Ebony. The collection includes very recent pieces as well, such as blogposts by Refinery 29’s Connie Wang and the New York Times fashion director Vanessa Friedman’s “Trump vs. the Disappearing Tie,” from 2016.
Contributors include Hilton Als, Eve Babitz, Angela Carter, Vanessa Friedman, Robin Givhan, Susan Sontag, Guy Trebay, Oscar Wilde, Lynn Yaeger, and many more.
“Fashion criticism is still undergoing the process of legitimization that other realms of popular culture criticism went through in the 1960s and 1970s, when barriers between high and low culture increasingly came under attack,” Granata writes in the introduction.
Attendees must register for the event – which is free and open to the public – in advance at the McNally Jackson website. The event will be held Wednesday, February 24 at 7:00pm EST.
Francesca Granata is Associate Professor of Fashion Studies at Parsons School of Design. She is the author of Experimental Fashion: Performance Art, Carnival and the Grotesque Body, and editor of the non-profit journal Fashion Projects.
Judith Thurman is a staff writer at The New Yorker. She is the author of several books including Cleopatra’s Nose: 39 Varieties of Desire, Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette, and Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller, which won the National Book Award. She lives in New York City.