posted on 12 Nov 2012 14:11 by Elena Pinto Simon
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Here's a little preview of what Michele Majer will be talking about in her upcoming trip to RISD later this week….

SALON: Proustfest part 1: Bard Graduate Center Assistant Professor of Clothing and Textiles Michele Majer on “Dress and the Dandy in Proust.”

“Contrary to what many thoughtless people seem to believe, dandyism is not even an excessive delight in clothes and material elegance. For the perfect dandy, these things are no more than the symbol of the aristocratic superiority of his mind.” This Baudelairean manifesto found nuanced expression in the work of Proust, for whom the evocative, multivalent aspect of clothing—its ambiguity in being intimately connected to but not of the body, its transformative ability to reveal, conceal, or disguise the body and the inner self, and our deeply personal, psychological relationship to what we and others wear—made it a serious object of study. Characters like the aristocratic dandy the Baron de Charlus, the cultured aesthete Charles Swann, and the supremely elegant Princesse de Guermantes are each associated with their highly distinctive styles. Majer will examine fashion’s fin de siècle moment and the ways that Proust used dress as a manifestation of his characters’ personalities and to deconstruct the meanings of their sartorial choices.

This talk is part one of the Artist/Rebel/Dandy Series, in conjunction with the Museum of Art, RISD.


Michele Majer (far lefty) with students at the Staging Fashion exhibition at the BGC, which she curated.