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Professor Caroline Evans

Central Saint Martins
Email address
Researcher Research
Caroline  Evans


Professor Evans studied art history at University of Sussex and taught at a number of London art schools, including Middlesex, Goldsmiths and the RCA, before joining CSM as a cultural studies lecturer in 1994. She has been instrumental in developing the discipline of fashion history and theory, publishing 7 books and over 40 scholarly articles in the field.

Professor Evans has lectured widely at international design schools and universities, including Università Iuav di Venezia, Chicago University, Art Institute of Chicago, Parsons the New School for Design, FIT New York, Universities of Sao Paolo, Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro, National School of Art and Design Oslo, Theatre Academy of Russia, and was a Visiting Professor in the Centre for Fashion Studies at Stockholm University (2010-17).

She has acted as specialist consultant on fashion exhibitions at international museums, including The Victoria & Albert Museum London, Musée Galliéra de la Mode de la Ville de Paris, Museum of London, and Musée de la civilization, Québec, and sits on the editorial/advisory boards of several journals including Fashion Theory, Vestoj,Film, Fashion and Consumption, The International Journal of Fashion Studies, dObra[s], and Fashion Studies (Ryerson), and is an Academic Advisor for the Bloomsbury Fashion Photography Archive. Professor Evans was awarded a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship in 2007-2010.

My research interests are rooted in my long experience of teaching history and theory in the art school. I explored dress, gender and identity in Women and Fashion: A New Look (Quartet Books, 1989), and my continuing absorption in the intellectual and critical framing of contemporary fashion design, and in finding methodologies and voices with which to investigate it, culminated in Fashion at the Edge: Spectacle, Modernity and Deathliness (Yale University Press, 2003), an examination of the ways in which contemporary fashion is haunted by the ghosts of modernity.

Growing directly from that project, The Mechanical Smile (2013) was a more archival and historical investigation into modernism and the first fashion shows. The research for that book galvanised two new lines of enquiry: the importance of film to fashion; and the performative potential of fashion. I am currently exploring them both in four very different ways.

Firstly, I’m writing a short monograph on ‘fashion gesture’. Secondly, I’m co-editing an Italian anthology with Professor Alessandra Vaccari of Università Iuav di Venezia on fashion and time (Mimesis, 2018), which we hope subsequently to publish in an English-language edition. Thirdly, in the AHRC-funded research project Archaeology of Fashion Film I’ll consider how fashion history might benefit from media archaeological methods. Fourthly, in the AHRC-funded research project Exploding Fashion: Cutting, Constructing and Thinking Through Things, I plan to explore how the cultural idea of technologies of the body might interface with the actual technology of pattern-cutting.

Grants and awards

(Figures indicate amount awarded to UAL)

  • Arts and Humanities Research Council, Collaborative Doctoral Partnership with Victoria & Albert Museum, £63,510.00, (2017-2020)
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council, Exploding Fashion: Cutting, Constructing and Thinking Through Things, £253,674.41, (2018-2020)
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council, Archaeology of Fashion Film (updated costing), £298,224.96, (2017-2018)
  • Leverhulme Trust, Modernism, national identity and gender in early 20th century fashion shows, £117,169.00, (2007-2010)

Research Outputs

Conference, Symposium or Workshop item

  • Evans C. The Modernist Body: Mechanization, Motion and the Missing Part (2012)
  • Evans C. The graveyard of fashion: towards an archaeology of the wardrobe: Denise Poiret’s robe de minute (2011)
  • Evans C, Costin S, Gauthier C, Hori K. The Catwalk: A debate (2011)
  • Evans C. Early fashion shows and the “cinema of attractions,” c. 1900-1925 (2011)
  • Evans C. Queens of the catwalk: fashion models in the modernist period (2010)
  • Dirix E, O'Neill A, Evans C. Antwerp Avant-Garde (2010)
  • Evans C. Fashion Thoughts (2008)



Current research students

  • Sally Anne Bolton, The fashion Image: collaborative practice and convergence from 1990-2017 (Lead supervisor)
  • Cassandra Davies-Strodder, Wardrobes: The challenge of personal collections of clothing in fashion studies and art and design Museums (Lead supervisor)
  • Tamara Tyrer, Of Space and Time: Film and the Female Performer. (Joint supervisor)
  • Vija Vilcins, Framing the garden through a nostalgic lens: representations of class and gender in English film during the period 1980 to 1990. (Joint supervisor)
  • Rosemary Wallin, Sustainable Luxury: Technology and Value (Lead supervisor)

Past research students

  • Shinsuke Nakano, Reweave Refold Reveal: fashion design through an archaeological investigation of material memory systems in clothes production (1760-2017). (Lead supervisor)