Welcome to week three, Silhouettes. >> So this week, we're going to be looking at, as Steph said, silhouettes. And if we're thinking about what a silhouette means, in its very basic sense, it's something that is outlined against a lighter background so you see its shape. You see what it looks like at its very parameters. But if that's a dictionary definition, Steph, what are we thinking about in terms of fashion? What does a silhouette mean for us there? >> I mean, at its core, the same thing. But it's really sort of the shape that the outline of the clothes are creating on your body. Which, of course, brings up very interesting conversations. Because most of the time the shape that the clothes are creating around our bodies is not the shape that our body actually is. >> Right, and so we take on silhouettes for any number of reasons. For power, to sort of make ourselves maybe bigger than we are. Or to thinking about trying to change our bodies into some, perhaps, more desirable shape. Either more desirable for us, or for social reasons. >> Or to hide our bodies, in some cases. >> Absolutely. So lots of different reasons for changing our bodies, through clothings and the silhouettes that we take on. And this week we're going to be looking at different themes and areas, in terms of silhouettes through the last century or so, right? >> Yep. So to start off the week, we're going to talk about basic ideas around clothes and shape. And we're going to look at a few examples of the little black dress. The little black dress is not necessarily something that might first come to mind when we think about conversations around silhouette and shape. But actually, it lends itself very well to the evolution of shape throughout the 20th century. The little black dress is a concept, it's not a thing. It was a concept that emerged in the 1920s. What's fascinating about the little black dress is that, what remains consistent about it is its color. What changes about it constantly is its shape. So it offers a really nice lens into looking at different silhouettes throughout the times, and throughout the evolution of the little black dress itself. >> And pretty constant, also, is just the conversation about silhouettes in fashion. And so, we have here the really wonderful Are Clothes Modern book that Rudofsky had created, actually shortly after his shows, in 1947. And the show itself was 1944 at MoMA. But you can see in this, really, a better picture that will come up during the module itself. The silhouettes, he commissioned four of these sculptures. They were meant to show people who came to his exhibition, that silhouettes have really constricted our bodies and changed them. And when we say they, on our, mostly womens' actually he was talking about. So here, you have four different styles of dress. And the bodies that would have had to have been biologically beneath them, to support them. And even actually, thinking about silhouettes, he was also thinking about footwear too. So not just about the kind of garments that you might use, but accessories too that shape our body. So we're going to talk about shape, certainly. But also about conforming, right? >> Yeah, so think about how many times you might have metaphorically poured yourself into a garment, right? You're buttoning, sucking in, etc. And in a lot of examples of fashion items, this is precisely what we are doing. A key example of making one's body conform to a fashionable silhouette is the pencil skirt. The pencil skirt is essentially a very straight narrow skirt, often below the knees. It had a particular moment in the 1960s as a key component of professional work wear. And we're going to be looking at an example of the pencil skirt that was worn by the character of Joan, on Mad Men. Somebody who very much so had to negotiate her position in the office place. And her wearing of a pencil skirt at once lent her this sort of degree of power, because of the way it made her body look. But, on the other hand, in a very literal way, it kind of detracted from her agency. Because it was something that was sort of difficult to walk in. So these are sort of the things we think about when we're conforming our body to different pieces of clothing. What does it allow us to do? But also, what does it hinder us from doing? >> One of the things that we'll look at after conforming, is about augmenting the body. And silhouettes allowing us to be bigger than we perhaps are. And one of my favorite items, I think, in the course, is the Wonderbra. The Wonderbra was around from the 1960s, and it sold pretty steadily throughout its lifetime, until in the early 1990s. Lots of different cultural things came together, especially in the West, to suggest that an enhanced cleavage was something that was inherently fashionable at a particular moment. And the advertising campaign really enshrined this bra as the cleavage enhancing bra of the decade, and perhaps of all time. And so, to augment a silhouette is also an important conversation we'll have. We'll finish up by looking at freeing. So thinking about the ways in which the body has been freed through the silhouette. Whether its through capri pants, the idea of women being able to take on a bifurcated pant. And in the mid-century what that meant to move out of something more constricting, into a garment, or a silhouette, that allowed them to move more. We'll look at the kaftan for some of the same reasons. And then also the zoot suit, a really important suit moment in the 30s and 40s in particular. They gave not only a freedom of movement, but also freedom of expression to the people that wore it. And then to conclude, we're going to have a conversation that brings us into the contemporary moment. >> Alexandra Waldman who is the founder of a brand called Universal Standard, which essentially looks at sizing through a more realistic perspective. And Lauren Downing Peters, who is a scholar in the area of plus-size fashion and its history, particularly in the 20th century. >> So we hope you enjoy this week's offerings, and that you participate in the discussion forums.