I think I already gave my favourite images away in my last blog, as I love both the cover of the Footprints leaflet and the photograph of Joyce Clissold wearing a scarf of her own design.
But perhaps I can share my favourite ‘object’ with you.
Its vast array of different acts included synchronised swimming, diving, dance, skating, fashion, clowns, and performances by important athletes of the time, including Esther Williams and Johnny Weissmuller.
Due to its extravagant declarations of Americanness, the Aquacade provides invaluable insight into American identity around the start of World War II. One of the most exciting parts of my research has been analysing the use of the American flag and American symbols as an expression of American identity in the Aquacade.
During the past year, I have spent considerable time researching American fashion and identity and knew I wanted to continue exploring the subject.
When looking for an American film clip archive, I came across the Prelinger Archive, which was founded by Rick Prelinger in 1982 in New York City and consists of around 60,000 ephemeral films.More specifically, I examined how three groups interpreted Aesthetic dress through extremely different ideals of womanhood, as elucidated in their respective writing and illustrations: Decadents (Liberty gowns drew heavily from historical dress.In this ad, the cut of the coat resembles the Empire period, while the tea gown is very medieval. ad in The Queen, The Lady’s Newspaper, 3 June 1899, Vol 106.As the US did not have strongly embedded traditions and copied European ideas and design styles until well into the 20 century, identity had to be based on something other than traditions that could be considered unequivocally American.Therefore, American identity focussed on history and symbols, including the American flag and the Statue of Liberty.It is a reference in British ’s issue to the Footprints shop that was located in New Bond Street.After spending almost two days at the British Library, leafing page-by-page through 1930s issues without any previous indication or even guarantee that I would find anything relating to Footprints, I could hardly suppress my euphoria when I actually found a short reference in the magazine’s regular shopping column. The most beautiful place to work is the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum. It reminds me of that library in Disney’s animated film What prompted you to choose this topic?As I researched, I was surprised to discover that very little scholarly work had been done on Aesthetic dress in the 1890s.This dissertation allowed me to explore that last decade of this style and the impact Oscar Wilde’s 1895 trial had on its reception.) which was photographed for LIFE in the mid-Fifties by Mark Shaw.The Mark Shaw Archive recently popped up on Instagram (@markshawofficial / @markshawlondonsydney), and scrolling through his work – snapshots of Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy amongst the images – I discovered and became mildly obsessed with his images of models prepping for fashion shows.