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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 extensively in the fashion industry, as Studio Assistant for Alexander McQueen before going on to run her own label designing high end womenswear for boutiques worldwide. She went on to work as Creative Assistant to Jasmine Di Milo, Marketing Manager for designers such as Lezley George, and project managed lookbooks for Benetton and Levi's Vintage Clothing.

Pigalle is now established as a Creative Producer with over a decade’s expertise in designing experiences which merge art and science. She develops immersive environments which place audiences at the heart of the narrative. She has worked for leading cultural organisations such as the V&A, National Portrait Gallery, Wellcome Collection, and multi-arts festivals such as Latitude, Wilderness and Secret Garden Party. She has also developed experiential activations for brands such as Marmite, Yo! Sushi, Cinzano, and communications campaigns for the English National Ballet and the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Pigalle has been running the Experience Design short course at Central Saint Martins (CSM) with Susanne Buck for 6 years. Their joint expertise includes Experience Design, Audience, Participation, Story and Narrative. Pigalle is a visiting lecturer for London College of Communications.

Further work can be seen on hter website:

Available dates

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