CFP: [Collections] Furniture and Fashion: Interactions

full name / name of organization: 
Dr. John Potvin
contact email: 

Looking for new insights into eighteenth century material culture, the
recent exhibition “Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the
Eighteenth Century” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2004) displayed
Rococo fashion alongside furniture in period interiors in order to
facilitate a dialogue between these two major aspects of cultural
production. In his essay critically examining this exhibition, design
historian Peter McNeil posed a series of questions which raise some of
the concerns this volume wishes to address regarding the much neglected
relationship between fashion and furniture. “What is the relationship
between fashion, body, artifact and space? Do developments in the history
of furniture parallel developments in the history of clothing styles?
Does the body play a similar and equal role in these two design/craft
traditions?” As a way to explore these questions and others, this volume
focuses on three, material and conceptual links to begin to understand
the complex flow of influence between furniture and fashion: the body,
fabric (textiles) and interior design.
At the heart of the relationship between the two seemingly separate
practices of designing and making furniture and fashion is fabric whose
weft and weave binds the two together. Fabrics, or textiles, provide the
two-dimensional surface through which the three-dimensional objects under
discussion are created. While fabric is an (aesthetic) object in its own
right, we are interested in the ‘layered’ effect of using fabric for
fashion and furniture. Although Fabric is itself a potent metaphor for
design and craft, it is often subordinated to the two practices explored
here. Therefore, this collection explores the act of translation that
occurs when fabric, furniture, and fashion interact both during the
creative process and when being worn and used.
In addition to Fabric, this volume is concerned with the body and the
implications of embodiment in the practices of both design domains which
are equally invested in the comfort, aesthetic pleasure, extension and
support of the body in different and yet seemingly identical ways.
Finally, interior spaces enliven and are enlivened by both furniture and
fashion, as bodies move through space and use various objects. Too often
the question of interior design has neglected to consider how fashion and
furniture work together to create a whole experience and understanding of
the material and cultural world.
Papers that are analytical, critical and/or theoretical in their approach
to objects and material culture, rather than merely technical or
descriptive are especially encouraged. Any geographical area and time
frame will be considered.
Please send an abstract (500-750 words in length) and full academic c.v.
in one word.doc no later than 15 December 2007 to both:
Dr. Alla Myzelev ( University of Western Ontario, Canada )

Dr. John Potvin (University of Guelph, Canada)

Final papers (anticipated to be in the range of 6,000 to 7,000) will be
due 15 May 2008 .

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Received on Fri Oct 05 2007 - 12:00:43 EDT