This last Friday, the Wolfsonian hosted a visit by 43 students from DASH (Design and Architecture Senior High School), a magnet school located in the heart of Miami’s Design District recently ranked as the 5th best high school in the nation. The students primarily came to see Beauty on the Beach: A Centennial Celebration of Swimwear, an exhibition exploring influence of designers on the marketing of swimwear. The DASH students also spent half of their time in our rare books library listening to a lecture-presentation that highlighted some of our rare materials dealing more generally with fashion and design issues. There was plenty of lively discussion by the students over the radical changes swimsuits underwent from the Victorian era to the present day.

The students were also intrigued by other materials marketing other fashion products. Many of the students were both simultaneously entranced and taken aback by a ninety year-old advertisement for fur coats and stoles that pictured the “cute and cuddly” animals on the same front cover as the glamour girl showing off the product. Obviously the counter-commercial propaganda of animal rights organizations and activist group like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has had a powerful and enduring influence on attitudes towards fur as fashion.

~ by "The Chief" on October 13, 2009.

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