Anne Kraatz will be giving a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Thursday, November 6, 2014, from 12 to 1:30pm. Her talk is entitled “Fashion and Philosophy, or the Influence of a System of Thought on a System of Dress at the End of the 15th Century.”

Anne Kraatz received her M.A. From the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) in Paris and her Ph.D. with honors from the École pratique des hautes études (EPHE), section des sciences historiques et philologiques, at the Sorbonne University in Paris. She has written extensively on the history of textiles, on French and Italian material culture of the 17th and 18th centuries, on the history of trade, particularly between France and Russia, and on the relationship between fashion and philosophy, the subject of her Ph.D. Thesis. Her books, some of which have been translated into several languages, including Japanese, include: Mode et philosophie: ou le néoplatonisme en silhouette, 1470-1500 (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2005), Le commerce franco-russe: Concurrence & contrefaçons, De Colbert à 1900 (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2006), and Luxe et luxure à la cour des papes de la Renaissance (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2010). Her two books on the history of lace and of velvet, long out of print, are being reissued. She has curated several exhibits including “Lace in Fashion” at the Palais Galliera, Museum of Fashion. Her most recent lecture was given at the Institut Français de la Mode in Paris. In 1994, she was invited to join the Bard Graduate Center for a semester as an adjunct professor. She has lectured extensively in most European countries, in the US, most notably at the Getty Museum, and in Japan on a variety of topics, usually involving the price structure of luxury goods in the 17th and 18th centuries. Kraatz will be a Visiting Fellow at the BGC in November 2014.

How is the fashion of a certain era determined? Is it the result of a casual, hazardous process or, instead, the frivolousness of some imposed on all others? Or is dress the accurate material reflection of a thought process organically adopted by all at a certain point in time and in a certain place? Kraatz will attempt to demonstrate that there is an intimate relationship between the fashion of a moment and the dominant thought of the same moment. The geometrically oriented aesthetics of Neoplatonism, the dominant philosophical school of the Renaissance, makes the period the ideal one to study for that purpose, in as much as its style of dress differed radically from that of the preceding one, the so-called “International Gothic” era. Equally for both men and women, the Neoplatonic silhouette is viewed, in this approach, as a rectangular, masculine-like though not virile, figure, close to the angelic aspirations of the Florentine theoreticians of Neoplatonism, as opposed to the triangular, feminine-like though not effeminate, figure, representative of the courtly sexuality of the late Gothic. The method used here should, ideally, enable the analysis of other periods, other forms of dress, other places, through what is basically a phenomenological approach, inspired and nurtured by the study of material as well as intellectual culture.

Coffee and tea will be served; attendees are welcome to bring their own lunch.

RSVP is required.