Conference: The Look of Austerity

Date: 11-12 September 2015

Venue: Museum of London, London Wall

Tickets: £20-£90

Recognising the recent surge of interest in austerity aesthetics across contemporary culture, this two-day conference will explore the effect of post-war austerity on the appearance of people and cities.


The Look of Austerity seeks to challenge myths surrounding the immediate post-war period, not least those that have grown up around Dior’s New Look.

A number of separate speakers consider developments that anticipated this new opulence, or trace the complex ways in which the New Look was represented, disseminated, copied and understood. Other contributions focus on the relationship between European fashion culture and the increasingly significant influence of American glamour and style, particularly in the images of affluence and optimism projected by Hollywood.

The conference also investigates the everyday experience of making, buying and wearing clothes in post-war austerity, examining everyday cultures of repair, recycling and second-hand clothing in different European contexts.

Speakers include: Dr Rebecca Arnold, Oak Foundation Lecturer in History of Dress & Textiles, Courtauld Institute of Art; Dr Geraldine Biddle-Perry, Associate Lecturer Cultural Studies, Central Saint Martins; Prof Amy de la Haye, Rootstein Hopkins Chair of Dress History and Curatorship, London College of Fashion; Dr Irene Guenther, Professor of History, The Honors College, University of Houston; Prof Lynda Nead, Department of History of Art, Birkbeck; University of London; Dr Dominique Veillon, Directeur de Recherche CNRS, Paris; Elizabeth Wilson.

Further details of the programme and booking process can be found at: