Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects



Additional Departmental Affiliation

Family and Consumer Sciences

Document Type



Scholars have long neglected the study of fashion as anything other than a socioeconomic and cultural phenomena that reflects the more substantial political and historical zeitgeist of a time period. This study takes up Gilles Lipovetsky’s plea for a “theoretical facelift” of the study of fashion. Using an original theoretical framework that delineates the communicative structures of fashion as fabric, drape, and accessory, this work analyzes the conceptual meaning of runway performances by designers Alexander McQueen and Marc Jacobs. Though conceptual fashion shows are often described as spectacles intended to stir up a label’s recognition and ultimately bolster sales, the author argues that the conceptual runway performance elements of time, title, marketing, location, set, soundtrack, and model appearance and behavior are used by designers to clarify and support the meaning their clothing communicates. Until now, in fashion reviews and retrospectives, conceptual fashion has only been described as “conceptual” and “experimental,” and no attention has been given to analyzing the specific concepts the clothing communicates nor how it does so. This study seeks to provide a framework with which to elucidate a language for fashion.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Elizabeth Alsop


Art and Design | Fashion Design | Modern Languages | Other English Language and Literature