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The University of Southampton
Winchester Centre for Global Futures in Art Design & Media

Staff Seminar Series - Jonathan Faiers Seminar

Winchester School of Art
16:00 - 18:00
28 May 2014
MA Common Room, Room Number 3023, Level 3, Eastside Building, WSA

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Dr Victoria Walters at .

Event details

Stealth Luxury: Or the Lining of Excess

“Luxury is not the kind of thing that flaunts itself…a costume’s lining may be one of its chief attractions” (from the article Couture Clothes: Are They Worth the Money? UK Vogue Sept. 1960)

This seminar is an attempt to locate and think through the possible points of imbrication between some of the sites that Faiers' research is currently exploring.

Increasingly Faiers has been made aware of the possibility of different models of articulation that have recently been discussed and are beginning to be characterized as fashion thinking (the forthcoming conference bearing the same name to be held in Denmark later this year is an example of the growing interest in this term). Fashion thinking is neither fashion studies ; typically characterized as primarily concerned with the industrial and economic aspects of fashion production, nor fashion theory with its all too common default practice of ‘elevating’ its status by the addition of a disciplinary cousin, giving rise to an endless series of projects using the ubiquitous conjunctive such as ‘fashion and psychoanalysis’, ‘fashion and architecture’ and so on.

Fashion thinking is perhaps best characterized as an ‘indiscipline’ which W. J. T. Mitchell defined as concerned with the "turbulence or incoherence at the inner and outer boundaries of disciplines", and which many of the earliest writers on fashion, before it had been recognized as a legitimate field of study, deployed. Fashion thinking therefore is often parodic, hyper-social, inclusive, popular, reflexive and fast moving.

This seminar will consider the concept of stealth luxury, the relevance of sumptuary law, the lining as a space of covert transformation and excess, and the use of fur. Blocks of fashion thinking will draw upon a range of sources, including literature (Edith Wharton and J. K. Huysmans), film and popular music ( That Touch of Mink dir. Delbert Mann 1962 and Wrapped in Black Mink Johnny Guitar Watson 1978), art projects (Ed Kienholz’s Black Leather Chair concept proposal and Tiffany Parb’s Blister Ring project) amongst others, possibly connected or not, but which act as a series of interruptions and detours or like Benjamin’s ‘shocks’ constantly reminding the viewer of his condition and which Benjamin saw as characterizing modernity and which fashion, above all, is a product of.

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