Back To Schedule
Tuesday, February 26 • 11:05am - 11:35am
The Aesthetic of Opulence. Channeling Colour and Darkness in Early Costume and Fashion Film

Sign up or log in to save this to your schedule, view media, leave feedback and see who's attending!

Colour was unquestionably one of the key elements in the early displays of dress in cinema, and vice versa: costume was from the beginning a central cinematic device through which to showcase colour. Yet, the deliberate channelling of non-colour (as darkness, emptiness) was also enormously significant for fashion film – and was, as recent scholarship shows, much more than a stylistic footnote in the history of early cinema.

This paper considers both colour and darkness by linking ‘fashion films’ of the 1910s and 20s to earlier ‘costume films’ of the 1890s-1900s and, more broadly, certain visual spectacles of the popular stage of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With a particular reference to Ivo Osolsobe’s term ‘the aesthetic of opulence’, the paper also highlights some changes in discourses about ‘fantastical’ and ‘natural’ functions of colour in films that foreground dress.


Marketa Uhlirova

Senior Researcher and Director / Curator, Central Saint Martins and Fashion in Film Festival
Marketa Uhlirova is an art historian with an interest in the display, representation and mediation of fashion and dress, especially in the moving image. She is a co-founder and director of the Fashion in Film Festival, and a Senior Research Fellow at Central Saint Martins, University... Read More →

Tuesday February 26, 2019 11:05am - 11:35am GMT
NFT3/ BFI Southbank