I am an art historian specializing in textile and dress history, with a focus on China and France from the eighteenth- through early twentieth-century. My research, writing, and teaching foreground the relation of global networks to locally defined cultural systems. My work and pedagogy combine solid knowledge of materials and making with interpretive paths informed by multiple cultural perspectives.

Much of my research concerns the movements and transformations of textiles and dress (both as objects and as images and ideas) in the early modern and modern periods. My forthcoming book The Empire’s New Cloth: Western Textiles at the Eighteenth-Century Qing Court investigates European silks and tapestries that entered the Chinese court and Qing imperial productions inspired by European models. It recounts a multipolar story from both cultural ends, showing how objects, styles, and images travelled in multiple directions replete with reinvented meanings. In addition, I have lectured and published on interior draperies in eighteenth-century France, 1920s French textiles and fashion, chinoiserie and Japonisme fashion, twentieth-century Chinese textiles and fashion, as well as eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Qing court arts. Currently I am working on two research projects. The first, in collaboration with European and American institutions, surveys Edo-period Japanese textile fragments collected by major European collectors in the late nineteenth century and their roles in the Japonisme movement and Japan’s arts and crafts reform. The second project investigates the issue of light in Euro-American fashion from the early modern period to now. It parses how changing experiences and understandings of light have shaped fashion’s conditions of display, compositional and pictorial sources, conceptual and discursive frameworks, and symbolic implications.

Before joining BGC, I was Associate Curator of Costume and Textiles at LACMA, and previously I had held fellowship positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, and the Palace Museum, Beijing. At LACMA, I helped build a fine and extensive collection of modern Chinese fashion, the first of this kind in North American art museums. Curatorial practice will continue to be an important part of my work and teaching at BGC.

Selected Recent Publications
“Le rideau tiré : Interior Drapery, Architectural Space, and Desire in Eighteenth-Century France,” in Textile in Architecture: From the Middle Ages to Modernism, ed. Basile Baudez, Didem Ekici, and Patricia Blessing (New York: Routledge), forthcoming, 2023.

“Botanical Fantasy in Silk: Transformations of a Rococo Floral Design from England to China,” in Things Change: Material Cultures of the Global Eighteenth Century, ed. Wendy Bellion and Kristel Smentek (New York: Bloomsbury Academic) forthcoming, 2023.

Lead essay in the section on the nineteenth-century Qing court, in Cultural Creativity and Resilience in Qing China, 1796-1912, exh. cat., ed. Jessica Harrison-Hall and Julia Lovell (British Museum), forthcoming, 2023.

The Empress Dowager Cixi’s Japanese Screen and Late Qing Imperial Cosmopolitanism,” The Burlington Magazine 163: 1423 (Oct. 2021), 886-897.

“Fabric of Light, Surface of Displacement: Lamé in Early Twentieth-Century Fashion,” in Materials, Practices and Politics of Shine in Modern Art and Popular Culture, ed. Antje Krause-Wahl, Petra Löffler, and Änne Söll (New York: Bloomsbury Academic 2021), 71-88.

“The Lady’s Fan: Fashion Accessories and Modern Femininity in Republican China,” in Fashion, Identity, and Power in Modern Asia, ed. Kyunghee Pyun and Aida Yuen Wong (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), 193-227.

“Qing Court’s Encounters with European Tapestries: the Tenture Chinoise and Beyond,” in Arachné: un regard critique sur l’histoire de la tapisserie, ed. Pascal-François Bertrand and Audrey N. Maupas (Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2017), 119-138.

“When Modernity and Nationalism Intersect: Textiles for Dress in Republican China,” Perspective: actualité de la recherche en histoire de l’art (La revue de l’Institut national d’histoire de l’art, France), special issue “Les textiles” (2016, no. 1): 180-187.

“The Hybrid Orient: Japonisme and Nationalism in the Takashimaya Mandarin Robes,” Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body, and Culture 19:5 (2015): 583-616.

“Imagery of Chinese Dress,” in China: Through the Looking Glass, Andrew Bolton et. al (New Haven: Yale University Press; New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015), 40-55.