Alistair O'Neill

Profile image of Professor of Fashion History and Theory; Pathway Leader, Fashion Programme; Member of PARC Research Centre

Professor of Fashion History and Theory; Pathway Leader, Fashion Programme; Member of PARC Research Centre

Central Saint Martins

Research interests

Twentieth century and contemporary fashion, fashion photography in relation to visual culture, fashion curation and histories of display, London as a centre for fashion cultures.

Research statement

I am a writer and curator working in the field of fashion history and theory. My research concerns the representation of twentieth and twenty-first century fashion cultures and the role of surviving material culture and photography as sources.

My work is motivated by working in a fashion programme in an art school, as it offers a mode of interpretation closely aligned to the concerns of design and make. My teaching is closely aligned to my research projects and my students participate as part of their course. I also contribute to Aperture and Disegno magazines.

From April 2018 I am Co-Investigator on the AHRC funded research project, Exploding Fashion: Cutting, Constructing and Thinking Through Things, with my colleague, Professor Caroline Evans as Principal Investigator.

Recent exhibitions

Fully Fashioned: the Pringle of Scotland Story, The Serpentine Gallery, London, 22 February 2015; National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh, 10 April – 16 August 2015; Reel Shanghai, 1-31 October 2015 - Curator.

Fully Fashioned: the Pringle of Scotland Story, Michael Clark Company commission, three projection film for exhibition; live performance Galleria Carla Sozzani, Milan, 22 June 2015 - Curator.    

Guy Bourdin: Image Maker, Somerset House, London, 27 November 2014- 15 March 2015 - Principal curator with Shelly Verthime, curator of Guy Bourdin Estate.

Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!, Somerset House, London, 20 November 2013 – 04 March 2014 - Principal curator, with Shonagh Marshall, Assistant Curator, Somerset House.

Valentino: Master of Couture, Somerset House, London, 29 November 2012- 03 March 2013 - Co-Curated with Patrick Kinmonth and Antonio Monfreda.

SHOWstudio: Fashion Revolution, Somerset House, London, 17 September – 23 December 2009 - Co-Curated with Penny Martin, London College of Fashion and Claire Catterall, Somerset House.


Current students and thesis titles

Sally Bolton, The Death of the Fashion Image.

Nathalie Khan, An Examination of the Role of Contemporary Fashion Media on the Representation of Surviving Dress.

Matteo Molinari, Crocheting Cultures: contemporary craft practice in Italy and United Kingdom

Completed students and thesis titles

Francesca Granata, The Bakhtinian Grotesque in Fashion Design from 1980 to the Present. PhD completed 2010.

Maria Jose Sacchetti, Minimal aesthetic: The relationships between fashion and retail architecture in New York and Paris, from 1964 to the present day. PhD completed 2014.


Selected research outputs

  • Staging Fashion in London

    O'Neill, Alistair (2016) Staging Fashion in London. In: Fashion and the Museum, 5 May 2016, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, Netherlands.

  • Detours and Sideshadows

    O'Neill, Alistair (2016) Detours and Sideshadows. In: Reflections on Archives, Museum and Special Collections. University of the Arts London, p. 64. ISBN 9781906908423

  • Yves Saint Laurent: perfume, fashion, films

    O'Neill, Alistair (2015) Yves Saint Laurent: perfume, fashion, films. In: Filming Fashion: Fashioning Film, 24 October 2015, The Bowes Museum, County Durham, UK.

  • The Shining and Chic

    O'Neill, Alistair (2015) The Shining and Chic. In: Alexander McQueen. V&A Publishing, London, UK, pp. 261-280. ISBN 9781851778270

  • Fully Fashioned: The Pringle of Scotland Story

    O'Neill, Alistair (2015) Fully Fashioned: The Pringle of Scotland Story. [Show/Exhibition]

  • Guy Bourdin: Image Maker

    O'Neill, Alistair (2014) Guy Bourdin: Image Maker. [Show/Exhibition]

  • Uneasy Bedfellows

    O'Neill, Alistair (2014) Uneasy Bedfellows. In: Aperture. Aperture Foundation, New York. ISBN 978-1-59711-282-6

  • Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!

    O'Neill, Alistair and Marshall, Shonagh (2013) Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! [Show/Exhibition]

  • A Rose is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose: Essay

    O'Neill, Alistair (2013) A Rose is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose: Essay. In: Valentino Master of Couture: A Private View. Rizzoli, New York. ISBN 9780847840601

  • Valentino: Master of Couture

    O'Neill, Alistair and Kinmonth, Patrick and Monfreda, Antonio (2012) Valentino: Master of Couture. [Show/Exhibition]