Michele Majer

Assistant Professor
European and American Clothing and Textiles

M.A. Costume Studies, New York University
B.A. Barnard College

My research and teaching explore European and American clothing and textile history from the eighteenth through the twentieth century.   In addition to an appreciation for the importance of the material object and what it can tell us, my interests encompass the context in which clothing and textiles were made, sold, worn or used, experienced, and perceived.  My work draws on social, cultural, art, economic, and political history, as well as literature.  I just opened a Focus Gallery exhibition at the BGC and contributed to and edited the accompanying catalogue.  The exhibition and publication, Staging Fashion, 1880-1920:  Jane Hading, Lily Elsie, Billie Burke, examine the phenomenon of actresses as internationally known fashion leaders at the turn-of-the-twentieth century and highlight the printed ephemera (cabinet cards, postcards, theatre magazines, and trade cards) that were instrumental in the creation of a public persona and that contributed to and reflected the rise of celebrity culture.  

Selected Recent Publications:

  • Staging Fashion, 1880-1920:  Jane Hading, Lily Elsie, Billie Burke. BGC Focus Gallery exhibition catalogue; editor and contributing author (2012).
  •  “La Mode à la girafe:  Fashion, Culture and Politics in Bourbon Restoration France,” Studies in the Decorative Arts Fall-Winter 2009-2010 (Vol. XVII, No. 1).
  • Cora Ginsburg catalogues, 2011-12; 2010-11; 2009-10, contributing author. 
  • Kindig, Joe K., Donna Ghelerter, Michele Majer, Philip Zimmerman, and Elizabeth Meg Schaefer (editor).  Wright’s Ferry Mansion.   Seattle: Marquand Books, 2005.  


Read an interview with Professor Majer.


Michele Majer's courses include:

539 Mode and Manners in the Eighteenth Century, 1675–1804
565 Twentieth-Century Fashion
691 Nineteenth-Century Fashion
833 Modern Textiles, 1850–1970
847 Fashion and Theatre, ca. 1780-1920
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