Francesca Granata: Experimental Fashion Book Launch

Thu 06 Apr 2017
Screening Room
South Wing

The Fashion Research Network and Somerset House invite you to a lecture by Francesca Granata on her highly anticipated new book, Experimental Fashion: Performance Art, Carnival, and the Grotesque Body published by I.B. Tauris.

Experimental Fashion traces the proliferation of the grotesque and carnivalesque within contemporary fashion and the close relation between fashion and performance art, from Lady Gaga’s raw meat dress to Leigh Bowery’s performance style. The book examines the designers and performance artists at the turn of the twenty-first century whose work challenges established codes of what represents the fashionable body.

These innovative people, the book argues, make their challenges through dynamic strategies of parody, humour and inversion. It explores the experimental work of modern designers such as Georgina Godley, Bernhard Wilhelm, Rei Kawakubo and fashion designer, performance artist, and club figure Leigh Bowery. It also discusses the increased centrality of experimental fashion through the pop phenomenon, Lady Gaga.

After the lecture, attendees will have the chance to meet with Granata over a complimentary glass of wine in the Somerset House bookshop, the book Experimental Fashion: Performance Art, Carnival and the Grotesque Body is out now published by I.B Taurus.

Leigh Bowery, Look 9, July 1989, photograph by Fergus Greer (Courtesy of the artist)


Dr Francesca Granata is Director of the MA Fashion Studies and Assistant Professor in the School of Art and Design History and Theory at Parsons School of Design. Her research centres on 20th-century and contemporary visual and material culture with a particular focus on fashion history and theory, gender and performance studies.

She is the editor and founder of the non-profit journal Fashion Projects and has been invited to lecture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA PS1, IUAV Venezia, the Benaki Museum, Athens and Cornell University. She has published in the journals Fashion Theory, The Journal of Design History and Fashion Practice as well as in a number of book collections and exhibition catalogues.

The Fashion Research Network (FRN) is a collaborative venture led by Nathaniel Dafydd Beard, Ellen Sampson, Alexis Romano and Lucia Savi to promote and share the work of PhD and early career researchers in fashion and dress studies. Recognising the interdisciplinarity of these fields, the FRN provides a space for meeting, discussion and collaboration for researchers with a range of backgrounds, including contemporary, practice-based and historical fashion studies. To date, they have staged a variety of symposia, reading groups, artist lectures, exhibition and studio tours that have led to discussions about not only fashion research but the nature of fashion itself.


Header image © Merce Cunningham, Scenario, with costumes by Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, BAM Brooklyn, 1997 (Courtesy of the Merce Cunningham Archives)