Elsewhere Collaborative Artist Lecture on Historical Clothing

Ami Shupe (Professor from High Point University) and I decided to go check out a lecture that was being given by Jade Bettin and her graduate student Samantha Coles from the University of NC Chapel Hill’s Theatre Department. I figured this was a great opportunity to see some familiar faces and check out this place that I have heard so much about. I was not aware that Elsewhere had an internship and scholar program let alone that Samantha was there for the summer and working among the bolts of fabric and clothing there. This sounds like a wonderful opportunity for any student interested in the arts.

This lecture was very much like a class I took from the CARS Department at UNCG called “Dress, Identity and Culture”. Sam and Jade discussed the nature of clothing and how they represent who people want to be portrayed. Although I was already familiar with the topic at hand it was really nice to see this presentation being given to a room full of people who were there just for the entertainment of the topic.
of the most interesting parts of the discussion was the description of  Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai.

Jade talked about how he consciously chooses what to wear in public as representation of his beliefs in a unified country. Afghanistan is a country divided by many beliefs and this president feels they can all come together and live peacefully beside one another. President Karzai dresses with multiple cultures in mind. Everything from the hat (not a turban), robe, blazer, kaftan and pants represents a different sect of his country.

It was wonderful to hear about political people using the same techniques Costume Designers use in the theatre all the time. She discussed everyone from Hillary Clinton with her power pant suits and low heels to Sarah Palin in her skirted suits with high heels to Casey Anthony and the difference in her appearance from her normal everyday court hearing (hair pulled tightly back with a tailored shirt) to the day she was planning on going home (hair down wearing a sweater).

Samantha also touched a bit on the Rococo and Victorian period with the frivolous clothing worn by the “Dandies” and corsets worn by the women. She even had a member of the audience come up and put a Mid-19th century corset on for all to see how it was worn and the difference it makes in the silhouette  of the body.

The lecture was approximately an hour-long with a slide presentation and then the floor opened up for discussion and questions. The members of Elsewhere mentioned the fact that they put on some of the collection’s garments on Fridays for the workshops and presentations that they host. After all that is the point of a “living museum” right? I was quite enamored by the place and look forward to going there again. I also intend on looking up more information about this intriguing place and of course take pictures. Everything within this museum is artfully placed and displayed. One can’t help but to look around with awe and inspiration.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Deb Bell
    Aug 06, 2011 @ 20:33:48

    Sounds like I missed a great lecture. The photos are super. I was already familiar with that great article on Karzai’s clothing–it was in a TD&T article last year and it got major attention from members. Also enjoyed your witticisms Jennifer–never actually thought of you as a dangerous gal but yes–I can see the potential. Here’s to many more blogs! Cheers, Deb


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