Fairy Tale Fashion

Colleen Hill, with Patricia Mears, Ellen Sampson, and Kiera Vaclavik
New Haven: Yale University Press, in association with the Fashion Institute of Technology, 2016

Dress plays a crucial role in fairy tales, signaling the status, wealth, or vanity of particular characters, and symbolizing their transformation. While fairy tales often provide little information beyond what is necessary to a plot, clothing and accessories are often vividly described, enhancing the sense of wonder integral to the genre. Cinderella’s glass slipper is perhaps the most famous example, but it is one of many enchanted or emblematic pieces of dress that populate these tales.

This is the first book to examine the history, significance, and imagery of classic fairy tales through the lens of high fashion. A comprehensive introduction to the topic of fairy tales and dress is followed by a series of short essays on thirteen stories: “Cinderella,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” “The Fairies,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Snow White,” “Rapunzel,” “Furrypelts,” “The Little Mermaid,” “The Snow Queen,” “The Swan Maidens,” Alice in Wonderland, and The Wizard of Oz. Generously illustrated, these stories are creatively and imaginatively linked to examples of clothing by Comme des Garçons, Dolce and Gabbana, Charles James, and Alexander McQueen, among many others.

Colleen Hill is associate curator of accessories at the Museum at FIT.

Exhibition Schedule

Fairy Tale Fashion
Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
Special Exhibitions Gallery
January 15–April 16, 2016

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