Discover Lasell

Fashion and Architecture

March 23, 2017

1960s Op print mini dressIn the beginning of February, Fashion Professor Jill Carey, M.Ed. - curator of the Lasell Fashion Collection - and her students, Dana Blanchette and Hillary Brown, embarked on a journey to explore how aspects of Newton architecture related to elements within the Lasell Fashion Collection. "As a fashion historian," says Carey, "I continue to be compelled by associations between body covers and architecture."

Recently, Carey and her students opened their Fashion and Satire exhibit at the Rosecliff Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, and published their findings in an accompanying book. According to Carey, while Fashion and Architecture holds the same passion as Fashion and Satire, it will pivot into another lens of looking at fashion: "Our hope is that this talk inspires the public to consider that fashion is both personal and environmental." Indeed, in their research, Carey, Blanchette, and Brown discovered unique relationships between architecture and fashion in regards to resources within Newton, such as having a shared inspiration regarding construction methods, materials, and artistic expression. "One of our favorites," says Carey, "is a pairing between a cast iron fence from the 1860s and an Op print mini dress from the 1960s. In both cases, the bold patterns create optical illusions while establishing a strong physical presence."

Originally, Carey was invited by Historic Newton to present the research by herself, but she changed the format of the program to include Blanchette and Brown, and embody Lasell's Connected Learning philosophy. "They [were] a significant part of Fashion and Satire, [so] I invited them to also be a part of this project so they could have the opportunity to present aspects of their research...to the public."

Carey, Blanchette, and Brown's research culminated in a public presentation at the Newton Free Library on March 30th as part of the Newton History Series.