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History of Fashion - 20th Century

History of Fashion - 20th Century

Central Saint Martins
Taught by
Pigalle Tavakkoli


This course is for students who want to learn about key periods across 20th century fashion, and identify how female and male styles have evolved in response to the broader context of social, political and cultural changes. Set against a soundtrack of Jazz, rock n’roll, disco, hip hop and pop music, the course will provide an understanding on how these have evolved and lead to current contemporary fashion styles.

This course focuses on:

  • 1920s Jazz Age flappers – How the roaring twenties reflected the fight for civil rights, racial integration and female emancipation, the birth of the modern woman and a style revolution lead by designer Coco Chanel.
  • 1950s teenage rebels – Independence of young people from their parents, influence of rock n’roll and films such as The Wild One on the emergence of Greasers, Rockers, Teddy boys and girls, and the transformation of work wear denim and leather jackets into symbols of rebellion.
  • 1970s disco decadence – Era of excess when glamour, glitter and flamboyant sexual expression ruled discotheque dancefloors, bridging racial divides and influencing designers such as Halston and Diane von Furstenberg.
  • 1980s street style versus power dressing – How musical styles from hip hop, New Romantics, Goths to pop created a multitude of style tribes versus the rise of corporate power and conspicuous consumption in the city.

This structured course is based on illustrated lectures, visual handouts and group discussions. Fashion figure templates will be provided to draw over and create basic sketches of the key style elements from each era. These will be used towards producing a flip book with interchangeable sections which can be used after the course as inspiration for incorporating the history of fashion into your studies, personal practice or professional work. Also includes an off-site visit to a leading exhibition, gallery or museum.

This course presents a stimulating connection between theory and practice for students to develop intellectually and creatively. At the end of the course you will have developed as a researcher, critical thinker and communicator, increasing your professional skills and knowledge. By the end of the course you will also be inspired by the potential to incorporate the history of dress into your own studies, practice or work.

Please note: This course is for students aged 18 and older

Tutor Description

Pigalle Tavakkoli originally worked in the fashion industry as Studio Assistant for Alexander McQueen, followed by running her own label designing high end womenswear for boutiques worldwide. She went on to work as Creative Assistant to Jasmine Di Milo, Marketing and PR Manager for designers such as Lezley George, and project managing lookbooks for Benetton and Levi’s Vintage Clothing. Pigalle is now established as a Senior Experience Designer with over a decade producing events, installations and campaigns. She develops multisensory story worlds driven by audience participation, to transform the way they feel, think and behave. She has worked for leading cultural organisations and museums across the UK and internationally. These have included the V&A, National Portrait Gallery, Wellcome Collection, Barbican Centre and Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture (Russia), as well as multi-arts festivals such as Latitude, Wilderness, Secret Garden Party and Electric Picnic (Ireland). She is a visiting lecturer at London College of Fashion and London College of Communications.

Available dates

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