September 25–December 15, 2017
A letter is the smallest unit in an alphabetic system of writing, though this is only one of many systems for recording and transmitting language. Letterforms also have meaning beyond the speech sounds they represent. Their formal and material qualities bear witness to a long tradition of abstract symbols enabling the exchange of ideas. The flourish of a pen stroke or particular angle of a serif reveals technological constraints and stylistic conventions. The lines of letterforms are marks of re-creation, refinement, and reinterpretation.
Yale Library now provides access to the Fashion Photography Archive, searchable through the Bloomsbury Fashion Central platform (which includes the Berg Fashion Library). This means that 250,000 fashion photographs spanning the 1970s-2000s will now appear in searches alongside encyclopedia entries, academic articles, e-book chapters, and historical fashion images, with more to come in future updates until 750,000 images are included. An interactive timeline displays these images with contemporaneous historical and cultural events and lets you expand to see other images from the same runway collection, designer, etc. Valerie Steele (who got her Ph.D. here at Yale, studying the history of the corset) is the editor-in-chief of the FPA collection, and Niall McInerny, who photographed fashion for four decades, is the photographer.