This book derives from a series of lectures organised by Kingston University in collaboration with the Italian manufacturer retailer MaxMara. The lectures, entitled ‘Perspectives in Fashion’, were launched in 1994 to explore emerging themes in the history and theory of fashion, with the objective of considering them in the context of contemporary industrial practice. Both Kingston and MaxMara shared the view that this would primarily benefit students of fashion design, opening their eyes to the intellectual significance of their chosen field, and would consequently be of service to the industry itself.
The lecture series represented an opportunity to consolidate the diverse lines of approach that were being pursued in the name of fashion, often in isolation. Since its inception, around five lectures have been presented each year by a broad spectrum of speakers: historians, academics and curators, designers, industrialists, magazine editors, journalists and public relations consultants. It was envisaged that this would constitute a multi-disciplinary arena which would enable the progressive formulation of a more useful, holistic view of this complex subject than single prescriptive approaches could allow. It was hoped that understanding of contributory disciplines would be enriched by the dynamic established between them.