Valerie Steele FIT Museum Director talks fashion history. ITS Arcademy Advisory Board interviews.

04 November 2021

 

Valerie Steele – Director & Chief Curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York – joins the ITS Arcademy Advisory Board. She will be part of our thinkers, our ambassadors, our antennas in the world.

In this interview Valerie tells us about how she ended up studying fashion history – after dropping out from school and joining a women’s commune in San Francisco – and why the ITS Archive is so relevant.

With a Ph.D from Yale, she is author and co-author of over 20 books (among which Fashion Designers A-Z – The Collection of the Museum at FIT, Fashion and Eroticism, Paris Fashion, Women of Fashion, Fetish: Fashion, Sex and Power, The Corset: A Cultural History, Gothic: Dark Glamour) as well as contributor to essays and other publications, she has triggered the birth of the modern field of fashion studies and constantly raises awareness on the cultural significance of fashion.

As the Director and Chief Curator of The Museum at FIT – Fashion Institute of Technology, she has organized more than 20 exhibitions since 1997, including The Corset, London Fashion, Gothic: Dark Glamour; Shoe Obsession, Daphne Guinness, A Queer History of Fashion, and Dance and Fashion. She is also founder and Editor-in-chief of Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture, the first peer-reviewed scholarly journal in Fashion Studies.

All of the above may lead one to think that in a fashion conversation Ms. Steele would outshine us mere mortals, rattling off complicated words and leaving us clueless.

Quite the contrary. She is a scholar with the rare ability to simplify knowledge, making it understandable for everyone. When she talks she is always sensitive to being understood by everyone and not just her peers.

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