The Metropolitan Chapter of the Victorian Society in America

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Dressing Up: The Women Who Influenced French Fashion

February 28, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Wealthy American women—as consumers and as influencers—helped shape French couture of the late nineteenth century.

About this event

Join us for a conversation with Elizabeth L. Block, PhD, author of Dressing Up: The Women Who Influenced French Fashion (MIT Press).

French fashion of the late nineteenth century is known for its allure, its ineffable chic —think of John Singer Sargent’s Madame X and her scandalously slipping strap. For Parisian couturiers and their U.S. customers, it was also serious business. In Dressing Up, Elizabeth Block examines the couturiers’ influential clientele—wealthy women in the United States who bolstered the French fashion industry with a steady stream of orders. Countering the usual narrative of the designer as solo creative genius, Block shows that these women—as high-volume customers and as pre-Internet influencers—were active participants in the era’s transnational fashion system.

Elizabeth L. Block, PhD, an art historian, is Senior Editor in the Publications and Editorial Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. She has contributed to publications including American Art and West 86th: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture. Her book, Dressing Up: The Women Who Influenced French Fashion (2021), published by MIT Press, is available now.

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February 28, 2022
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm