LECTURE: DRESS AND IDENTITY IN THE LIFE OF MARLENE DIETRICH (1901-1992)
Saturday, March 23, 2013
2 PM - 3 PM
Norma Kershaw Auditorium
Fee: $7 M/ $10 Non-member
Presented by Christina Johnson, Associate Curator, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM); M.A., Visual Culture, New York University.
Marlene Dietrich transformed from plump, awkwardly-dressed matron to svelte, impeccably-costumed icon with help from director Josef von Sternberg. Once a star, she interchanged her movie costumes with her couture and bespoke personal wardrobe. Transforming costumes into wardrobe suggested the sophistication and allure she embodied on screen infused her personal life as well. Her couture and stunning personal jewels often appeared on the big screen, giving the illusion that this life was not an illusion. She took total control of her appearance, accepting help from only the finest costume designers and couturiers. Dietrich was adept at manipulating her appearance. Specially-constructed undergarments masked flaws. Lighting and extreme makeup created the perfect face. Her wardrobe hinted at shifting concepts of gender. Evening gowns created a smoldering femme fatale. Tailored trousers revealed masculine toughness.
Christina Johnson received her B. A. in Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2001 and her M. A. in Visual Culture (Costume Studies) from New York University in 2003. She began her career as Collections Manager at the FIDM Museum/ Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, Los Angeles, that same year. She was promoted to Associate Curator in 2010, after co-curating the Richard Martin Exhibition Award-winning High Style: Betsy Bloomingdale and the Haute Couture. Most recently she co-curated Fabulous! Ten Years of FIDM Museum Acquisitions, 2000-2010 with a corresponding catalogue. She has presented papers at Costume Society of America Symposia, the Stockholm Centre for Fashion Studies, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Modern Monarchy Symposium, London, and will be speaking at the upcoming Costume Colloquium III in Italy this Fall. Christina has published articles in Dress: The Journal of the Costume Society of America and The Daguerreian Annual. Her areas of expertise include Victorian era fashion, the historiography of fashion studies, early photographic portraiture, women’s history, and the psychological aspects of appearance.
Presented in association with FIDM.
Sponsored by the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation
December 11, 2013