Presented by Michele Majer, assistant professor at the Bard Graduate Center in New York, the subject of “Staging Fashion, 1880 – 1920: Jane Hading, Lily Elsie, Billie Burke” focuses on three leading actresses of the theatre who were internationally known fashion leaders at the turn of the 20th century. The illustrated Tea & Talk will be presented at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum on Saturday, May 4 at 3:00 pm, followed by a Victorian Tea.
Majer will cover “Staging Fashion” utilizing the photographic images that made these three women fashion icons found in newspapers, magazines and especially a relatively new source, the postcard. The period 1880 to 1920 epitomized the increasing acceptance of the stage actress as someone to admire, not the woman of questionable character distained and distrusted by previous generations.
These three were attractive individuals whose elegant wardrobe and lifestyles reflected the highest aspirations of the general public. The emerging mass media of the period dismantled the social boundaries between public and private life. Through an unprecedented proliferation of photographic images these actresses enabled a yearning public to satisfy an insatiable appetite for images of celebrities.
Majer curated the original 2012 Bard Graduate Center exhibition of the same title and served as the overall research associate for the accompanying catalogue. The idea for the show came about through a seminar she gave on fashion and theater at Bard. She is also a research associate at the Cora Ginsburg Gallery in New York, dealing in antique clothing and textiles. She has contributed articles, reviews and essays to many publications.
Tickets for the Majer Tea & Talk are $16 per person for non-members and $14 for members. Reservations are highly recommended as seating is limited. For reservations, please call Ventfort Hall at 413-637-3206.