RESTAGING FASHION Digital contextualization of vestimentary sources

The interdisciplinary research and digitization project RESTAGING FASHION will elaborate new perspectives on historical dress. Thereby this research unites approaches and desiderata from three research areas: Art history (dress research), information sciences (digital knowledge organization) and computer science (information visualization). Dedicated to the cultural history of clothing, its appearance and (symbolic) character the project juxtaposes the triad of the sources image-text-dress as an approach to dress research that integrates multiple methods.

Based on images of Sammlung-Modebild, Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (CC-BY-NC-SA)

Forming the core of the project, the paintings collection of the Berlin publishers Franz and Frieda von Lipperheide holds 600 paintings and miniatures from the 15th to the 19th century. In the digital environment, this previously unpublished collection of the Lipperheide Costume Library (Lipperheidesche Kostümbibliothek – Sammlung Modebild, Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) will be juxtaposed with further 1000 prints and drawings from the collection, as well as textual sources, such as sumptuary laws. By generating 3D images of a selection of extant historical garments from the textile collection of Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, which resemble the dresses in the paintings, the data basis will be complemented for comparative analyses.

The research approach promises perspectives on the plurality of material and symbolic facets of the garments and their digital representations. The visualizations of the objects and their relations, the multi-perspective views and 3D visualizations of single objects provide a basis to reflect on different modes of visual granularity. The visual representations offer close-up perspectives and distant views on the research objects encouraging a reflection about digital imaging techniques and their impact on different research methods.

The expected result of the project is the web-based availability of three collections relevant for vestimentary research by means of digitization, content development and interface design. A substantial part of the research entails the interlinking of sources on the history and shape of clothing, fashion and costume. The collected contextual data and created digital data are made visible and usable for research using digital methods and tools. This is done by means of interactive visualizations and by publication in the databases of the partners involved. The resesearch is expected to yield transferable guidelines and scenarios for the handling of 3D objects, here historical garments, their digital capture, data processing and visualization on the web.

RESTAGING FASHION is a three year research project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung) and a cooperation with Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nürnberg.