verbal croquis

textile as propaganda

Posted in events,opinions by verbalcroquis on December 14, 2005

propaganda kimono

If you’re in New York, you should check out this exhibit.

“…more than 125 other examples of war-themed textiles used in clothing and accessories – mostly from Japan – are on view in “Wearing Propaganda: Textiles on the Home Front in Japan, Britain and the United States” at the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design and Culture. Coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, the show explores how graphic design on cloth was used to rev up wartime sentiments, from relatively quiet Allied warnings about keeping lips buttoned to Japanese crowing over victories (like a 1937 baby’s kimono printed with illustrations lauding Japan’s invasion of Nanking, China).”

I perceive discussions on the importance of viewing fashion (and art in general) as a social barometer of the times to be very post-modern. I’m not quite sure whether or not people of the time discussed the importance of the discovery of the ruins of Pompeii and its direct correlation to the then popular neoclassical dress, (I’m sure they discussed the art, but not sure women’s fashions were important enough to discuss back then) but it’s something we very much discuss now.  (In fact, the only way I know that the discovery of the Pompeii ruins and its effects on the period’s political shifts happened around the turn of the 19th century is because of the empire dresses resembling ionic columns and the work of the great painters like David and Ingres (see below).  This could be potentially embarrassing if everyone I know didn’t already know I am a true fashion geek.)

Ingres portrait

This exhibit showcases much more blatant ways that fashion and politics have been holding hands, going as far as to show embroideries of caricatures of Churchill, very much like the politically inclined silkscreened tees of our times.

I’d go in a heartbeat if I lived in New York.  And if that weren’t enough, here are some other exhibits going on in New York now.


5 Responses to 'textile as propaganda'

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  1. Wow, I wish I could go see this show too. I wrote an essay about propaganda and fashion during the French revolution this semester. The feeling I get from my readings is that fashion was very much a major discussion of the times… much like it is now. The subject of cockades, the new fashions for women, the dress of the sans-culottes were all very central to the political debate and extensively argued and documented. Fascinating stuff.

  2. ooh~ if I give you my email, can I read a copy of your paper?

  3. sure, send me a message! But seriously, it’s a lame-o school paper, though I had a lot of fun researching and writing it.

  4. […] this article: textile as propaganda « verbal croquis Share and […]

  5. yo said,

    wow no t

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