Episodes

June 7, 2019

Episode 22: Fandoms & Self-Fashioning: Into the World of Cosplay

This week, Dress: Fancy speaks with Professor Therèsa M. Winge from Michigan State University to explore the compelling, complicated and challenging world of cosplay. A distinct form of fancy dress, cosplay is unique for enabling people to explore themse

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May 31, 2019

Episode 21: Adolescent Avatars: the power and powerlessness of costum…

Children playing dress-up is age-old and innocent. Or is it? Lucy and Ben go behind the seams to consider if children really do enjoy fancy dress as much the coaxed smiles in family photos suggest. Are these kids really avatars, …

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May 24, 2019

Episode 20: Your Culture, Their Costume? Fancy Dress and Cultural App…

In 2011, Teen Vogue drew attention to harmful consequences of insensitively chosen fancy dress costumes that reduce beliefs, cultures and people to garish stereotypes. In previous episodes of Dress: Fancy, Lucy and Ben have considered the painful conseque

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May 17, 2019

Episode 19: The Campest Christmas Eva!

The pink carpet has been walked and Lucy and Ben reflect on the costume highs and lows of this year’s Met Gala held on 6 May 2019. Were the outfits sufficiently camp? Why is Ben falling out of love with …

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May 10, 2019

Episode 18: Ethereal Excess – Carlos de Beistegui’s Venetian Ball

Described, in all seriousness, as the ‘Ball of the Century’, the Beistegui Ball of 1951 was a fancy dress event like no other: the guest list, the costumes, the late-running pre-party rehearsal – everything was taken to an extreme. But …

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May 3, 2019

Episode 17: Camper Than Christmas? A Preview of the Met Gala Ball

Aside from Halloween, the only other date that gets Lucy and Ben excited is the first Monday in May, when the Metropolitan Museum, New York, hosts its gala ball to raise funds for its Costume Institute. Although not strictly a …

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March 14, 2019

Episode 16: Aesthetes and the Avantgarde: Costume Balls at the Chels…

In this special ‘on location’ episode, Lucy and Ben visit the archives of the Chelsea Arts Club to explore the creativity, chaos and controversy that was Chelsea Arts Club annual fancy dress ball. Illustrated invitations, letters of outrage and contem

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March 7, 2019

Episode 15: The Wonderful World of Weldon’s, Or How to Hire the Best …

The adage, ‘They don’t make them like they used to’, is especially apt for the object at the centre of this week’s episode: a fancy dress catalogue from London costume supplier Weldon’s. Join Lucy and Ben as they leaf through …

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Feb. 28, 2019

Episode 14: Hassle, Heartache, and Hagrid: Reflections on World Book …

Love it or loath it, World Book Day has become an important date in family calendars as toddlers, teenagers and just about any other young person under an adult’s influence, is dressed up and decorated to resemble a character from …

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Feb. 21, 2019

Bonus Episode - Lights, Camera, Gucci!

Gucci’s SS19 campaign is an unashamedly glitzy and joyous celebration of 1950s Americana, as relayed through Hollywood and Kodachrome photography. It also looks, and feels, a lot like fancy dress costume. In this mini episode, Lucy and Ben reflect on …

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Feb. 8, 2019

Bonus Episode - Live at the Royal Academy: The Costume Parade to the …

In the second of two special episodes recorded live at the Royal Academy’s Klimt-Schiele Cabaret Night in January, follow Lucy and Ben as they talk with costumed revellers, lead the Academy’s first costume parade, and award some incredibly coveted ros

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Feb. 1, 2019

Bonus Episode: Live at the Royal Academy

Join hosts Lucy Clayton & Dr Benjamin Wild live at the Royal Academy, as part of the RALates series for a discussion about Klimt, Schiele & the Viennese Secession - in this special, mini episode we explore the crossover between …

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Dec. 20, 2018

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

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,

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Dec. 13, 2018

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

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 …

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Dec. 6, 2018

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

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 look

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Nov. 29, 2018

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

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 …

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Nov. 22, 2018

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

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 …

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Nov. 15, 2018

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

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 exhila

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Nov. 8, 2018

Halloween Bonus Episode

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, …

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Nov. 1, 2018

Episode 7: Winter is Coming – Romanovs, Unrest and the Costume Ball o…

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 …

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Oct. 18, 2018

Episode 6: Terror, Trauma, Tantrums: Reflections on Halloween Past an…

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 …

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Oct. 11, 2018

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

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 …

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Oct. 4, 2018

Episode 4: Warriors and Wigs – Fancy Dress in Wartime

Today Lucy and Benjamin 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 tension

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Sept. 27, 2018

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

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 fi

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