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From Hats to Jeans: What’s In & Out
Valerie Steele (Ph.D., Yale University) is Director and Chief Curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). She has curated more than 20 exhibitions in the past ten years, including Love & War: The Weaponized Woman; The Corset: Fashioning the Body; London Fashion (which won the first Richard Martin Award for best costume exhibition from The Costume Society of America); Femme Fatale: Fashion in Fin-de-Siècle Paris; China Chic: East Meets West; and Form Follows Fashion.Editor-in-chief of Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture (Berg Publishers), which she founded in 1997, Dr. Steele is also the author of numerous books, including The Black Dress (Harper Collins, 2007), Ralph Rucci (Yale University Press, 2006); The Corset: A Cultural History (Yale University Press, 2001); Paris Fashion (Oxford University, 1988; revised edition, Berg Publishers, 1999); Fifty Years of Fashion: New Look to Now (Yale University Press, 1997; Paris; Adam Biro, 1998); Fetish: Fashion, Sex and Power (Oxford University Press, 1996); and Women of Fashion: 20th-Century Designers (Rizzoli, 1991).
She was editor-in-chief of the three-volume Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion (Scribners, 2005.)Her latest book and publication are both titled Gothic: Dark Glamour (Yale University Press in conjunction with FIT, 2008).
Dr. Steele lectures frequently and has appeared on many television programs, including The Oprah Winfrey Show and Undressed: The Story of Fashion. After she appeared on the PBS special, The Way We Wear, she was described in The Washington Post as one of “fashion’s brainiest women.” Often quoted in media, she was herself the subject of a profile in Forbes (1992): “Fashion Professor,” and in The New York Times (1999): “High-Heeled Historian.”
Valerie Steele: Boots have been a real perennial in fashion because they give a sense of both toughness and also sexuality. We’ve been seeing a lot of boots in autumn and winter there for awhile. What’s new is now the very high boots tend to be seen as sexier. It’s really drawing your eye right up to the thigh, and it’s more expensive. It’s more of a fashion statement. I think a lot of people are going to be buying shorter boots and they’ll get some of that boot magic, but maybe not the real $2,000 extreme fetish-looking boots.
Valerie Steele: Hats have basically been out as a requirement since the 1960’s because the strength of hats was always to show your social status as much as anything else. And once women stopped wearing hats and gloves outside all the time to make a social class statement, and men stopped wear hats to work; after that, hats became either an optional fashion thing, and of course, they can be quite wonderful for that. We have some really interesting milliners, both in the U.S. and in England, in particular, but it is a definite minority, high fashion thing. Or it becomes a practical thing. With global warming, we don’t want all of the sun rays hitting you and so people are protecting themselves with hats. But it’s no longer a de facto requirement of fashion that you need a hat to go with every outfit.
Valerie Steele: I think men have no idea that shoes are among the first things that women look at. So many young women who are still looking for a man, that’s one of the first things that they look at, and if the shoes look cheap, or uncared for, they write the guy off. Women know that men are attracted to high heels, but men don’t realize that women are really looking at their shoes.
Valerie Steele: Jeans are probably the single most significant contribution of American fashion to the world of fashion. And they’ve been a really central part of late 20th and early 21st century fashion. Even in the 70s it had really proliferated, so you had all kinds of high fashion jeans. I think that’s not going to go away, but I think that it’s not necessarily that the $300 jeans that will win out, it’s more of a question of which are the jeans that the cool kids latch onto. Some people really are jeans experts. I am fascinated by the fact that the Japanese are so obsessive about jeans; that they really know exactly what goes into a perfect 1950’s American jean, and they are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for a replica, and thousands of dollars for an original. But I think most people are looking for something else in a pair of jeans. It‘s not necessarily the best pair, but maybe just the pair that’s trendy, or the pair that will make their body look best.
The Japanese – well style is important, but the Japanese are looking at: is it made on the same kind of looms? Is it a heavier weight? Some of the deluxe Japanese denim are much, much heavier and the dye process is done much more carefully to replicate the kind of indigo dying. There is nothing produced here that has that kind of workmanship that goes into it. They’ve really sort of fetishized to have the jeans like those jeans from America from the 1950’s. We don’t make them like that anymore, but that’s what they want.
Recorded on September 24, 2009
Valerie Steele, chief curator of the Museum at FIT, gives an update on the status of staple items that make or break an outfit.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.
- The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
- Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>
A new swine flu in China<p>Last week, researchers in China also reported another public health concern: a new virus that has "all the essential hallmarks" of a pandemic virus.<br></p><p>In a paper published in the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117" target="_blank">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, researchers say the virus was discovered in pigs in China, and it descended from the H1N1 virus, commonly called "swine flu." That virus was able to transmit from human to human, and it killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>There's no evidence showing that the new virus can spread from person to person. But the researchers did find that 10 percent of swine workers had been infected by the virus, called G4 reassortant EA H1N1. This level of infectivity raises concerns, because it "greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses," the researchers wrote.
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.
Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Times of crisis tend to increase self-centered acts.