Discover Lasell

Fashion Class Merges Textile Technique with Historic Costume Trends

December 20, 2018

Under the mentorship of noted fashion historian Edward Maeder, 38 students apprenticed the technique of creating paper textiles and applied it their study of historic fashion trends. The finished garments are on display in the Donahue Center for the Creative and Applied Arts at Lasell College.

Students at Lasell College create paper textiles for a fashion history class project

"Student research teams incorporated colors and textures as defined from the expressive Rococo period" onto paper, said Professor Jill Carey. The paper then served as a medium for crafting mock garments from the era.

Fashion Historian Edward Maeder visits Lasell CollegeThe concept of historic recreated paper costume is, according to Carey, a major trend in the exhibition world. Current collections at the Frick Pittsburgh and Historic Deerfield in Massachusetts are just a few of many to highlight signature vintage elements of dress using custom paper textiles.

Students first visited the "Casanova's Europe" exhibit at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), where they immersed in the intricacies of 18th century culture and style. A few days later, Maeder visited campus to present his work. Equipped with historical knowledge and technical dexterity, students formed small research and production teams to complete the project.

With assistance from Carey, Professor Lynn Blake, Visiting Instructor Gail Jauregui, and Hannah Richards '21, the teams analyzed a piece of art from the Rococo period to use as inspiration for their textile design, created garments using a pattern drafted by Blake, and displayed their completed dresses at the College's Connected Learning Symposium. The project marks the first of its kind in Carey's 30 years of teaching, and she hopes its influence will extend beyond the Lasell campus.

Students create paper textiles in a fashion history course at Lasell College

"A project such as this provides tangible insight into the opulence of dress during the Rococo period," she said.

"The ten finished pieces should be part of a traveling exhibition for their artistry, charm, and historic inspiration."

Paper Dresses in the Rococo Style from a Fashion History Course at Lasell College

Photos by Margaret Brochu '21 and Sydney Thurman '21