Hill Memorial Library hosts Victorian New Orleans fashion talk Sept. 12

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South

BATON ROUGE – Danielle Reaves, a Ph.D. student in textiles, apparel design and merchandising at LSU, will present “Fashion and Prostitution in Victorian New Orleans,” in LSU’s Hill Memorial Library on Thursday, Sept. 12, at 3:30 p.m.

Using E.J. Bellocq’s photographs of Storyville prostitutes from the time as illustrations, Reaves will discuss the history of Victorian New Orleans prostitution and how its practitioners’ fashion choices influenced mainstream styles then and now.

Followers of fashion have traditionally looked to the upper class to see what clothing styles and fabrics are in style. In the last several decades, however, fashion designers have increasingly been influenced by clothing decisions of the less affluent to find inspiration for their designs.

Reaves’ research indicates that though this “trickle-up” theory is now an accepted part of the fashion sphere, the clothing and appearance of the Victorian prostitute of New Orleans is often overlooked as one of the earliest “trickle-up” fashion influences.

Reaves holds a master’s degree in apparel and textiles and a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications and film, both from the University of Alabama.

The talk is being held in connection with LSU Libraries Special Collections’ current exhibition, “Centuries of Style: A Retrospective of Dress,” on display in Hill Library through Oct. 19. Both the talk and exhibition are free and open to the public.

Hill Memorial Library is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. When classes are in session, the library is open Tuesday evenings until 8 p.m. For more information, visit the Special Collections’ Web site at www.lib.lsu.edu/special or email special@lsu.edu.