Spring 2014 Friends Lecture Series


Documenting Modernity: Fashion, Film and Image in America & Europe, 1920 - 1945:

Surveying the Screen: Fashion and Film 1896 to 1929

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

17.30 - 18.45, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre

woman in skull cap and flapper's dress
Film still from High Treason (1929). Courtesy BFI National Archive

Speaker(s): Bryony Dixon (Curator of Silent Film, BFI National Archive)

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission

Organised by: Dr Rebecca Arnold

Film and fashion connect in myriad ways. This lavishly illustrated lecture by Bryony Dixon, silent film curator at the BFI National Archive, explores some of that territory. Films in the collection range widely from the fantasy worlds created by the famous designers and haute couture to documents of humbler dress modes among the Edwardian working classes. Films record interesting facts about all aspects of the fashion business from the manufacture of sewing needles to the fashion show and it chronicles changing attitudes to fashion in these rapidly changing times.  Early filmmakers might capture fashions incidentally or cater specifically to their patrons with products such as the 'how to' film, a kind of 1920sYou Tube, and cine-magazine articles on the latest fashions from the Paris catwalk - in glorious stencil colour.

Bryony Dixon is a curator with responsibility for the BFI National Archive’s extensive silent film collection. She has researched and written on many aspects of early and silent film, as well as programming for a variety of specialist film festivals. She also regularly contributes to BFI Southbank seasons and events and co-directs the annual British Silent Film Festival. Her book 100 Silent Films, in the BFI Screen Guides series, was published in 2011. Bryony was lead curator on major silent film restorations including, Underground, The Great White Silence, The Epic of Everest and the BFI’s contribution to the Cultural Olympiad  in 2012, the nine surviving films of Alfred  Hitchcock.

The Spring 2014 Friends Lecture Series is prompted by the range of visual materials explored in the Andrew W Mellon Foundation MA Documenting Fashion: Modernity, Film and Image in Europe and America, 1920-45 led by Dr Rebecca Arnold and Dr Heather Norris Nicholson. As such it brings together leading scholars in the fields of dress and film studies to consider the ways fashion, non-fiction film and documentary images can reveal new ways to understand dress, style and visual culture.

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