Upcoming Exhibits:

"Poplin and Paper: Four Centuries of Fashion in Print"

18 May—9 September 2015

The term “fashion plate” is layered with meanings. It is a portrait depicting not an individual but rather an outfit that a clothier can supply. It is also frequently used to describe someone who wears the latest styles. But a plate is also a printing term, describing an illustration transferred to paper during the printing process.

This exhibition explores the interdependence between fashion and print to communicate ideas not only about what people wore, but also about those who produced and experienced these images. The exhibition begins with early modern surveys of national costumes, which sought to codify the diverse cultures that Europeans encountered around the world. It then traces emerging interrelationships among fashion plates and the periodical press, commercialism and the performing arts, and the subsequent evolution of various communities of readers and consumers. It culminates in the emergence of fashion photography, a new medium of expression for fashion in print that still shapes its viewers today.

The exhibition is curated by Anna Chen, Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts. The exhibition will be on view Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5pm, in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.