At Fräulein we celebrate the inspirational women, those who make a change, explore new possibilities in fashion or any other fields in the arts and enlighten us with the sharing of their knowledges.
We met Dr Jenna Rossi-Camus, researcher and fashion curator who accepted to talk about the research process behind the making of a fashion exhibition and allowed us a look inside her private collection of textile artefacts centred around the topic of Egyptianising.
Picturing Dr Rossi-Camus requires to forget about the cliché of what a researcher should look like, her fashion is extravagant and fun but always very tasteful, she welcomed us to her hometown of Margate on the seaside of the south-eastern British coast wearing the most exquisite faux-fur lilac handbag and a fifties vintage dress. She will confess later, the bag is from Kate Spade. The sunny sky and the refreshing wind from the sea helped making this meeting somehow mystical. Today we offer our dear readers a take-away from the city much needed, I’m sure, after a such morose month of May.
The art of fashion curation reside in the study of the material object, textile product and their representation in pictorial arts. The process is long and requires passion but is an interesting way to approach garments as a consequence or testimony of social evolutions. True representation of a social context the textile artefact is observed as a time capsule from the past and its study can be pushed further in its meaning to challenged the knowledges we had on an era and turns which appears to be a vintage dress into a piece of history.
Under the discourse of Dr Rossi-Camus we learned about the fashion reemployment of antic Egyptian culture, more commonly known as “Egyptomania”. This broad term refers to all western fashion reusing in an altered context or with modifications the symbols, designs or signification taken from Egyptian art. Not only this topic is bringing with it a lot of layered analysis on cultural apparition and colonialism in fashion but also showcase the fluctuating interest of western societies in Egyptian art in a modern context. In a study area going from the nineteen twenties to nowadays the prime example of this phenomenon will be the release of the film Cleopatra in 1963 starring Elizabeth Taylor which will generate an huge interest for ancient Egypt and inevitably impact fashion.
If the making of a fashion exhibition is composed of several year of theoretical researches it is made of a lot of collecting, from Topshop to Jean-Paul Gaultier Dr Rossi-Camus collection is larger than large and comes alongside representations of the egyptianization in newspapers, caricatures, theatre brochures and the list goes on. This exhibition project could take several years to come to an end but the past year taught me more than everything the notion of patience. I’ll be there.
Text by Marien Brandon
Tumnail picture courtesy of John E. Rossi, 1984