What does a dress, or how we dress, have to tell us? Few people better demonstrate the worlds that can be discerned from fashion than Judith Thurman and Harold Koda. In Judith Thurman’s work, literature and fashion can be co-dependent—a mention of a dress of rare lace leads to Alice B. Toklas and Anita Loos, and a Charles James seam smoothes easily to Virginia Woolf’s letter to Vita Sackville-West. That Thurman discerns this thread of communication is evident in her description of Alexander McQueen’s fashion as a “form of confessional poetry.” Besides her recently published collection of essays, A Left-Handed Woman, she is the author of award-winning biographies of the pivotal cultural figures Colette and Isak Dinesen (for which she won a National Book Award), and has also worked as a producer on the film about Dinesen’s life, Out of Africa.
Harold Koda led the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s legendary Costume Institute for nearly two decades, curating such brilliant fashion exhibitions as “Dangerous Liaisons,” which animated the 18th-century epistolary novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses in a series of sometimes risqué vignettes of mannequins carrying on amongst the fine French furniture and objects d’art of the Wrightsman Galleries. Imaginative in concept, breathtaking in the look and array of garments, Koda’s exhibitions and writings have definitively moved the fashion exhibition needle from gazing at the past to brilliantly illuminating the present.
Join us on Thursday, October 5, from 6:00PM to 7:00PM, for their perspectives on the unlikely power of genre-spanning storytelling in a conversation moderated by the fashion historian and returning CLS program host, Caroline Rennolds Milbank.
Tickets are $10 for members, $15 for the public.
To purchase, click here or call 843.723.9912 during Box Office Hours (11:00AM–4:00PM, Monday through Thursday).