VALERIE STEELE 1998
Valerie Steele (Ph.D., Yale University) is Chief Curator of The
Museum at the Fashion
Institute of Technology and Editor of the quarterly journal
Dr. Steele is the author of numerous books, including
- Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture.
She also co-edited
- Fifty Years of Fashion: New Look to Now (Yale University Press, 1997),
- Fetish: Fashion, Sex and Power (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996),
- Women of Fashion: 20th-Century Designers (Rizzoli, 1991 ),
- Paris Fashion: A Cultural History (OUP, 1988; second edition, Berg, 1999), and
- Fashion and Eroticism (OUP, 1985), as well as the forthcoming
- Shoes: A Lexicon of Style (Rizzoli, 1999) and
- China Chic: East Meets West (Yale University Press, 1999).
She has contributed essays
to many periodicals ranging from Aperture and Artforum to
Irisionnaire and hogue, including
- Men and Women: Dressing the Part with Claudia Kidwell (Smithsonian,
Since she was appointed Chief Curator of The Museum at the
Fashion Institute of
Technology in 1997, Dr. Steele has organized several major
- Dress, Costume, and The Yale Journal of Criticism.
Forthcoming in 1999 are
exhibitions on China Chic
- Fifty Years of Fashion: New Look to Now,
- Isabel and Ruben Toledo: A Marriage of Art and Fashion, and Claire McCardell and The American Look.
She has appeared on "Good Morning America," "The Today Show,"
Television," "The Oprah Winfrey Show," and the PBS special,
"The Way We Wear," after which
The Washington Post described her as one of "fashion's
brainiest women." She was prominently
featured on the four-part television series, Undressed. The
Story of Fashion (produced by
England's Channel 4), and she will soon appear in
Unmentionables: A Brief History of
Underwear (Arts & Entertainment). Frequently quoted in the
media, she was herself the subject
of a profile in Forbes (8/3/92): "Fashion Professor."
have been reviewed by dozens of
periodicals and newspapers as diverse as the Italian fashion
magazine Donna ("originale...molto
interesanti...brilliante"), The New York Times (both Sunday and
daily editions), and the front page
of The Los Angeles Times Book Review ("required reading").
Dr. Steele has lectured widely on subjects such as "Youthquake:
The Fashions of the
1960s" (Kimbell Art Museum), "Dressing for Work" (Valentine
Museum), "Uniforms and Sexual
Stereotypes" (American Studies Association), "The Myth of the
16-Inch Waist" (American
Historical Association), "The Italian Look" (Fordham
University), "Fashion and Fragrance"
(Chicago Historical Society), "Erotic Fashion Photography"
(Seminar on the History of
Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The New York
Hospital-Cornell Medical Center), "Fashion,
Sex and Power" (Association of Women in Apparel Resources), and "Women in Fashion" (World
Congress of Sociology, Madrid).
Writing in Dress (1989), Robert Riley declared that "Anne
Hollander, Valerie Steele, and
Bill Cunningham are members of a small band of American critics
and scholars now writing and
talking about fashion with a knowledge of the business, the
craft, and the art. They know its
history and its meaning...They are bright-eyed independents.
Above all they respect their
profession and grant it due importance." Valerie Steele has
served on the board of directors of
the Costume Society of America and the advisory board of the
Association. She is a member of The Fashion Group International.