Often through extraordinary means in pursuit of the fashionable ideal, women and men shape their figures into distinctive silhouettes. The exhibition Fashioning the Body: An Intimate History of the Silhouette (Bard Graduate Center Gallery, April 3–July 26, 2015) presents the many devices and materials that have altered natural body forms from the seventeenth century to today. Also featured are rare period garments and specially crafted mannequins wearing mechanized reconstructions which show how the undergarments functioned and transformed the human body.

Convened in conjunction with the exhibition, the symposium features presentations by experts in the subject area.

Michele Majer
Assistant Professor, Bard Graduate Center

Dr. Denis Bruna
Curator, Fashion and Textile department, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, and Professor, École du Louvre
“Body and Clothes: When Loose Clothing Creates Discomfort”

Dr. Lynn Sorge-English

Associate Professor, Costume Studies Program, Dalhousie University, Halifax

“… Your Never Saw Such a Doll:’ Sculpting the Body Beautiful Through Eighteenth-Century Stays”

Anne-Cécile Moheng
Curatorial Assistant, Louvre-Lens, Lens
“Fashion in Motion: On Shoes and the Fashionable Body in the Eighteenth Century”

This exhibition was organized by Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris, and curated by Dr. Denis Bruna, curator, Fashion and Textile department, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, and professor at the École du Louvre.

Fashioning the Body is made possible in part by The Coby Foundation, The Selz Foundation, Liliane and Norman Peck, Iris Cantor, Fernanda Kellogg and Kirk Henckels, Deborah Miller and William D. Zabel, and other generous donors.