Dress: Fancy-logo

Dress: Fancy

Arts & Culture Podcasts >

Dress: Fancy explores the popularity, prevalence and power of fancy dress. Hosted by Lucy Clayton and Dr Benjamin Wild, the series looks at the social significance and psychology of people in costume. Episodes consider why fancy dress has been a constant theme throughout history; sometimes as an act of celebration or escapism, on other occasions as a form of protest or disruption.

Dress: Fancy explores the popularity, prevalence and power of fancy dress. Hosted by Lucy Clayton and Dr Benjamin Wild, the series looks at the social significance and psychology of people in costume. Episodes consider why fancy dress has been a constant theme throughout history; sometimes as an act of celebration or escapism, on other occasions as a form of protest or disruption.
More Information

Location:

United Kingdom

Description:

Dress: Fancy explores the popularity, prevalence and power of fancy dress. Hosted by Lucy Clayton and Dr Benjamin Wild, the series looks at the social significance and psychology of people in costume. Episodes consider why fancy dress has been a constant theme throughout history; sometimes as an act of celebration or escapism, on other occasions as a form of protest or disruption.

Language:

English


Episodes

Episode 12: Balls & Baubles – Jewellery at the Beistegui, Capote and Rothschild Costume Balls

12/20/2018
More
In this Season’s finale, Lucy and Ben talk with Levi Higgs about the jewellery worn at three of the twentieth-century’s most lavish and exclusive costume balls. Following Dress: Fancy’s patron saint, Cecil Beaton, who attended each of these events, this episode examines the significance of haute joaillerie and costume jewellery worn by the likes of Daisy Fellowes, Gloria Guiness and the inimitable Elizabeth Taylor. Links Bals: Legendary Balls of the Twentieth CenturyThe...

Duration:00:57:18

Bonus Episode: Sweating It Out – Reflections on the Christmas Sweater

12/13/2018
More
Fancy dress may be inherently unfashionable but it has found a home in the seasonal wardrobe of many people the world over – the British in particular – in the form of the Christmas sweater. On 14 December, Save the Children encourage mass festive sweater wearing to raise awareness and funds for their charitable work. If you’re going to take part, listen in: Funny and fearsome, the Christmas sweater is a curious example of fancy dress becoming mainstream (albeit briefly) and in this short...

Duration:00:15:16

Episode 11: Once more into the Breaches – Fancy Dress and Re-Enactment

12/6/2018
More
This week’s episode raises a potentially divisive question: is re-enactment a form of fancy dress? From historical associations and living history, to Steam Punk and Nordic Larpers, Lucy and Ben continue their rummage through the dressing up box by looking at the role and meaning of people who create other worlds – those that are realistic and those that are more romantic – into the present. Links CostumeCostume: Performing Identities Through...

Duration:00:39:55

Episode 10: Dressing the Part – the influence of literature on fancy dress

11/29/2018
More
Dressing the Part – the influence of literature on fancy dress. Episode 8 looked at how fancy dress shapes fictional stories, usually for the worse. This week’s show considers the fictional stories that shape fancy dress in real-life. From Alice lost her in Wonderland, to Hamlet lost in his mental anguish, via nursery rhymes and poetry, Lucy and Ben discuss the motivations and meanings behind our perennial desire to dress up as fictional and non-fictional characters. Sources Adventures...

Duration:00:32:06

Episode 9: Fashion Turns Ugly? – When Costume Meets Catwalk

11/22/2018
More
It is not contentious to connect costume and the catwalk: Alexander McQueen did in 1997 with his ‘It’s A Jungle Out There’ collection. However, few designers and fashion houses are as willing – or as brave? – to compare their collections with the dressing up box. In today’s fashion industry ‘Fancy Dress’ remains a dirty term. Why is this? Discussing recent commentary that considers ‘ugly’, ‘critical’ and ‘experimental’ fashions, alongside the presentation of fashion in photographers’ work –...

Duration:00:35:49

Episode 8: The Book was Better: The Realities of Fancy Dress in Fiction

11/15/2018
More
Between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, novelists seemed fascinated by fancy dress. From Defoe to de Maurier, Blyton to Poe, authors used costumed entertainments to drive narratives and to determine the fate of their lead characters. Always exhilarating, very often devastating, the place of fancy dress in literature reveals much about how this sartorial form was perceived by contemporaries. But why was dressing frequently considered malevolent? Were female characters in control, or...

Duration:00:36:48

Halloween Bonus Episode

11/8/2018
More
Halloween Headlines – The fancy dress day of the year, Halloween provides an opportunity for people the world over to get creative with glue guns, sequins and, if you’re Heidi Klum, latex and fluorescent green make-up. From A-listers to Z-listers, Disney to divas, the very best to the shocking worst, Lucy and Ben offer their thoughts on Halloween 2018 in this short ‘bonus’ episode.

Duration:00:17:05

Episode 7: Winter is Coming – Romanovs, Unrest and the Costume Ball of 1903

11/1/2018
More
On 11 and 13 February 1903, the Winter Palace, St Petersburg, was the venue for one of the most opulent costumed entertainments hosted by a Russian Tsar. It was also to be the last. In reviving the spectacle of the Romanov’s gilded past, Nicholas II, his family and court, demonstrated the untenable gulf that existed between their privilege and the poverty of their subjects. The golden, bejewelled and furred costumes worn at the Ball symbolise a moment, at once triumphant and tragic, just...

Duration:00:33:31

Episode 6: Terror, Trauma, Tantrums: Reflections on Halloween Past and Present

10/18/2018
More
For Heidi Klum, and many more people besides, Halloween is ‘the’ fancy dress event of the year. Since the 1950s, the opportunity to wear bold and brash, creative and creepy costumes on 31 October has inspired fun, provoked fear and caused the young and young-at-heart to get creative with cloth, PVC and the glue gun. Originating in the Celtic festival of Samhain, Halloween remains a liminal event today, and provides a rare moment for people to express more of their character. For this very...

Duration:00:32:17

Episode 5: The Hero Inside Yourself – Fantasy Costumes and Film

10/11/2018
More
Like fancy dress, movies are adept at conveying the zeitgeist. And just like fancy dress, the Silver Screen can reassure us, motivate us, and inspire us. It is no wonder, then, that movie-themed dress up has become a staple of costumed parties the world over, from caped crusaders and femmes fatales, to the fantastic and the fierce. But is the imitation of movie characters and clothing always joyful? Are movie-inspired costumes transforming, or do they reinforce social and gendered norms?...

Duration:00:37:38

Episode 4: Warriors and Wigs – Fancy Dress in Wartime

10/4/2018
More
In today’s episode Lucy Clayton and Dr Benjamin Wild analyse how people’s social, political and gendered roles are disrupted by war. Fancy dress costume, which offers escapism and self-reflection by enabling its wearer to become somebody or something else, can mediate these tensions. From women who dressed as men to fight in America’s Civil War, to allied sailors who survived a Mid-Atlantic torpedo attack dressed as Nazi officials in WWII, Lucy and Ben consider the harrowing and heartening...

Duration:00:33:32

Episode 3: Nazis, Pirates, Tarts – Fancy Dress in Bad Taste

9/27/2018
More
Join Lucy Clayton and Dr Benjamin Wild for another eye-opening episode, as they explore a British phenomenon in popular culture, stating that fancy dress costume is inherently unfashionable and frequently in questionable taste. Photographs of authority figures and supposed role models in dubious dress-up regularly appear in newspapers to be excoriated by pundits and public alike. A memorable scene in Bridget Jones’ Diary, which featured Renée Zellweger wearing a Playboy bunny suit to an...

Duration:00:30:17

Episode 2: Barbaric Splendour – The Devonshire House Ball, 1897

9/20/2018
More
In the second episode of a new series that explores the prevalence, potency and politics of fancy dress costume, Lucy Clayton and cultural historian Dr Benjamin Wild discuss the Devonshire House Ball. Held on 2 July 1897 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, during an époque when dressing up was more than just an entertaining occasion, the night-long festivity was extravagant and spectacular. From goddesses to mythic monarchs, the social elite caroused in creative and costly...

Duration:00:30:29

Episode 1: Who’s Laughing Now? - Fancy Dress in Protest

9/12/2018
More
In the first of a new series that looks at the social significance and psychology of dressing up, Lucy Clayton and cultural historian Dr Benjamin Wild discuss the global prevalence of fancy dress protests. From slogan covered T-shirts to city-wide marches, pussy hats to power aprons, an increasing number of people are getting creative with costume to give voice to opinions they feel are not being heard. Why are concerned, angry, passionate people from around the world taking to their sewing...

Duration:00:27:20