Susan Bishop is an accredited Arts Society and WI speaker and regularly gives talks across the country for various organisations.
Dolls: Fashion, Art and Culture
Until late 1800s Dolls were used to communicate the latest Paris fashions, and arguably dolls like Barbie still act as fashion communicators.
Given as gifts, Lady Dolls were luxury objects kept in closets by the elite. Extensive wardrobes accompanied these dolls, giving valuable information about the latest’s styles and accessories.
This talk will include oral testimonies from ladies about whether their dolls are a child’s playthings or/and collector’s items. Dolls raise issues about femininity, erotica, ethnicity and postcolonialism.
Haunted dolls have also been the subject of literature and film, and many people suffer from phobia’s about dolls, and the human qualities they bestow upon them. The craftmanship of doll design will also be explored, and how the materials, styles and characters have changed over time.
The spectacle of Barkers department store fashion shows 1928 to 1930
A nostalgic look at the Art Deco department store Barkers of Kensington, and how it promoted 1920s Paris haute couture to create an authority on the latest fashions.
Drawing on Barkers’ original fashion photographs and promotional materials, Susan will paint a picture of the glamorous catwalk shows held at the store featuring the supermodels of the day.
The chairman, Sir Sydney Skinner, demonstrated great flair by launching his spectacular Fashion Display Hall to entice customers to view the latest fashions.
In the midst of the Great Depression, this great British entrepreneur positioned Barkers as a luxury brand, to rival Gordon Selfridges Oxford Street emporium.
Curating fashion exhibitions
This talk is about the cultural practice of curation, explaining how the role has changed from keeper of archives to one of project management, and coordinating a team of specialists.
Museums at one time conserved and collected items of clothing to display, telling historical stories, however, since the 1990s we have seen the introduction of blockbuster exhibitions, touring exhibitions, and gallery/independent shows that are far more conceptual, and present ideas rather than historical narratives.
The talk will explore various fashion exhibitions, looking at display techniques and the stories behind the exhibits.
How fashion and cinema have a symbiotic relationship
In the 1920s Hollywood influenced fashion, largely because Paris couturiers were designing for the stars.
With the introduction of the new media publicity about the films, consumers could see inspirational photographs of the glamour of cinema. Movie stars promoted new styles and trends, and in America department stores sold copies of film costume.
Costume designers were also very influential, and many of the iconic looks still go in and out of fashion today.
This talk will look at some key stars and how they influenced what we wore, whilst also discussing how film influences fashion designer collections.
Costume in Motion and the history of fashion shows
Since the end of the Nineteenth Century, fashion shows, whether in couturiers’ salons or high-class department stores, have played an essential role in promoting fashions.
Whether for entertainment or commercial selling, fashion shows are a spectacular way of displaying fashion in motion. Theatre productions in the early Twentieth Century actively incorporated story lines about fashion so that the latest trends could be exhibited to the new middle-class audiences.
Fashion couturier Paul Poiret used theatrical productions in his own garden as well as American department stores to show his new collections.
Susan will give examples of the symbiotic relationship between performance and fashion and how they feed from one another.
The fashions of the 1930s and Edward Molyneux
Captain Edward Molyneux was born in London of Irish parents.At age 17, he won a design competition held by British couturier Lucile and began sketching for her design house.
During his time in the British army from 1914-1917, where he earned the rank of Captain, he was injured and lost sight in one eye.
When he returned in 1919, he opened his own couture house in Paris, and in time followed that with branches in Monte Carlo, Cannes, and in London.
This talk will explore 1930s fashion and discuss the role of an international fashion designer in dressing royalty and celebrities in the latest styles.