Alistair O'Neill

Reader in Fashion 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

My research as a writer and curator deals with the representation of metropolitan fashion cultures and the role of surviving material culture and photography in this account. London- after a fashion (Reaktion Books, 2007) considers the relationship between fashion and modernity in twentieth century London.

I have worked as a curatorial consultant for Somerset House Trust since the implementation of its contemporary exhibitions programme in 2008. This has centred on fashion exhibitions including the co-curation of SHOWstudio: Fashion Revolution (2009), Valentino: Master of Couture (2012), Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! (2013) and Guy Bourdin: Image Maker (2014)

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, engaging theories and practices. My teaching is closely aligned to my research projects and my students participate as part of their course.

I am currently working on two major exhibitions for 2017/18 for Somerset House and the Design Museum, London.


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