Clothes and Accessories Made the 18th-century Man or Woman

From hats on the head to shoes on the feet, clothing accessories were as important in the past as they are today. In between the head and the toes, people wore kerchiefs, shawls, gloves, ruffles, aprons, purses, wallets, and jewelry as part of their ensembles. Accessories also can be used to explore history.

Scholars from the United States, Canada and England will present lectures providing invaluable details in the story of dress and adornment during the conference, Costume Accessories: Head to Toe, March 13-16, 2011, at Colonial Williamsburg’s DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.
On Sunday, March 13, Susan North, curator of fashions, 1550-1800, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, delivers the keynote address, “Not Just Another Pretty Hat! Studying and Curating Dress Accessories.”

Additional presenters include:
•Phil Dunning, material culture researcher, Parks Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, “Yeoman and Merchant: Clothing and Accessories from a 1690 New England Shipwreck.”
•Ann Bissonnette, assistant professor in materials culture and curatorship, and curator, clothing and textiles collection, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, “Off With Their Wigs! Traditions and Revolutions in Hairstyles, 1748-1804.” This program is underwritten by the Costume Society of America’s Midwestern Region.
•Susan North, curator of fashions, 1550-1800, Victoria and Albert Museum, “An Accessory to Health: Clean Linen and Its Role in Dress, Disease and Gentility.”
•Cynthia Cooper, head, collections and research, and curator, costume and textiles, McCord Museum of Canadian History, Montreal, Quebec.
Colonial Williamsburg staff delivering presentations during the conference includes:
•Linda R. Baumgarten, curator, textiles and costume, Colonial Williamsburg, “From Head to Toe: The Colonial Williamsburg Collection.”
•Mark Hutter, journeyman tailor, and Erik Goldstein, curator, mechanical arts and numismatics, “Dressed to the Hilt: The Production and Consumption of Men’s Accessories in the 18th Century.”
•D.A. Saguto, master boot and shoemaker, “From Medieval to Machine Age – A Revolution in Shoemaking.”
•Robin Kipps, supervisor, Pasteur and Galt Apothecary, “A Prescription for Health and Fashion.”
•Janea Whitacre, mistress of the millinery and mantua-making trades, “‘Of All Things Millinerial’: People, Product and Public Perception.”
•Elizabeth Myers, journeyman wigmaker, and the Colonial Williamsburg Wig Shop staff, “Celebrating the Mysteries of 18th-century Hair and Beauty Secrets.”
Colonial Williamsburg and the Costume Society of America are co-sponsoring this conference.

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