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06-05-08 Diana Vreeland & Consumer Culture in the Era of Reagan

06-05-08 Diana Vreeland & Consumer Culture in the Era of Reagan

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Exam based on lecture, On the Road, and May reading. IDs will be based on readings since midterm. Pick ~5 out of ~10. There will be 2 essay questions (have to do both). One of essays will be based on On the Road in relation to relevant readings and lectures; the other essay will be based on the other readings and lectures. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana_Vreeland Diana Vreeland & Consumer Culture in the Era of Reagan I. Intro II. China at the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute III.Reaganism at the Met –“18 th -century Woman” IV. Yves Saint Lauren at the Met I. The rise of consumer culture involves several transformations. Advertising industry began in the beginning of century – cosmetic manufacturers, department stores…etc. One of major concepts of consumerism is citing fantasy. Consumerism is also linked to the rise of a new sexual morality (heterosocial culture). Rise of consumerism fueled this new connection between genders. The department stores excited women to think about their desires and immediately satisfying these desires. Women had less access to money/capital began engaging in intermediate transaction to gain access to the world of consumerism. Another aspect of consumerism is fashion/trend. Carried to an extreme, what happens now is instantly the past. Today’s lecture involves the 1980s and how politics and consumer culture shape each other. (Early 1980s = Reagan Era) II. Costume Institute in NY’s Metropolitan Museum. Vreeland was director of Vogue magazine but was fired because of her heavy cosmetic and jewelries in the era after the Cultural Revolution (when “natural women” was in). She was hired by the museum as a fashion consultant. The Met had been dedicated to the preservation of ancient textiles, cloth, and fabrics of the past.
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Staff was uncomfortable in hiring Vreeland...as a fashion editor, Vreeland had dedicated to designing fashion fantasy in the magazine industry, by definition fashion involves interests in the moment instead of the past. But Vreeland had a flamboyant personality and had many links to the rich people. Met was in financial trouble and thought Vreeland could attract financial support. They were right, it worked. In December of 1980, the year of Ronald Reagan’s election, a curious show opened at the Costume Institute – the Manchu Dragon – 1644 – 1912. Diana Vreeland had the clothes displayed on mannequins in a lavish palace with opium-like perfumes.
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