Cite as: Valerie Steele, Fashion, Time, and Queer Identity, lecture, ICI Berlin, 26 October 2017, video recording, mp4, 55:32 <>
26 Oct 2017

Fashion, Time, and Queer Identity

By Valerie Steele
Valerie Steele has been instrumental in creating the modern field of fashion studies and in raising awareness of the cultural significance of fashion. The talk will explore the research and organization behind Steele’s exhibition, ‘A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk’, held at The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2013. Steele examines high fashion as a site of subversive potential and queer renegotiation and explores the aesthetic sensibilities and often unconventional dress of LGBTQ people, especially since the 1950s. Her research juxtaposes the two fields of queer studies and fashion history. She will show how her work on cross-dressing and gender ambiguity informed and complicated what began as an exploration of gay chic and gay designers. It explores the relationship of style and gender, and how fashion is always time-sensitive, reprising pasts and shaping a future.

Valerie Steele (Ph.D., Yale University) is director and chief curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she has organized more than 25 exhibitions since 1997, including London Fashion, Gothic: Dark Glamour; Daphne Guinness, Dance and Fashion, and Proust’s Muse, the Countess Greffulhe. She is also the author or editor of numerous books, including Paris Fashion, Women of Fashion, Fetish: Fashion, Sex and Power, The Corset, and Fashion Designers A-Z: The Collection of The Museum at FIT. In addition, she is founder and editor in chief of Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture – the first peer-reviewed, scholarly journal in Fashion Studies. Described in The Washington Post as one of ‘fashion’s brainiest women’ and by Suzy Menkes as ‘The Freud of Fashion’, she was listed as one of ‘The People Shaping the Global Fashion Industry’ in the Business of Fashion 500 (2014 and 2015).


ICI Berlin
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ICI Berlin

Video in English

Format: mp4
Length: 00:55:32
First published on:
Rights: © ICI Berlin