Biography: Michele Majer
Michele Majer is assistant professor at the Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture. Her research and teaching explore European and American clothing and textile history from the 18th through the 20th centuries. In addition to an appreciation for the importance of the material object and what it can tell us, Majer’s interests encompass the context in which clothing and textiles were made, sold, worn or used, experienced, and perceived. Her work draws on social, cultural, art, economic, and political history, as well as literature. She recently opened a Focus Gallery exhibition at the BGC and contributed to and edited the accompanying catalog. The exhibition and publication, Staging Fashion, 1880–1920: Jane Hading, Lily Elsie, Billie Burke, examine the phenomenon of actresses as internationally known fashion leaders at the turn of the 20th century. They also highlight the printed ephemera (cabinet cards, postcards, theater magazines, and trade cards) that were instrumental in the creation of a public persona and that contributed to, and reflected, the rise of celebrity culture.