Untangling the sartorial signifiers and unique style of public figures from various corners of the pop culture circuit-including Julian Schnabel, Dora the Explorer, Steve Jobs and Muammar al-Gadaffi-Dress assembles eleven essays by writers from the School of Visual Arts' pioneering Design Criticism MFA program, with illustrations by Peter Arkle.
Alan Rapp considers Metallica frontman James Hetfield's bogus descent from metal maverick to Armani-toting sellout; Stephanie Jönsson judges Pope Benedict XVI's wardrobe more aesthetic than ascetic; and Angela Riechers recalls the moment when Karl Lagerfeld lost the Fan-and the fat. Whether art directed by stylists or left to their own devices, each subject gives ample evidence that even if clothes don't make the man, they certainly have an impact on the way we perceive the man.
Dress, the second installment in D-Crit's chapbook series, includes essays generated in Criticism Lab, a course taught by Andrea Codrington Lippke, a writer specializing in visual culture and a regular contributor to the New York Times. Lippke edited Dress with D-Crit '11 graduate Aileen Kwun, a pop culture and design critic who received the Winterhouse Writing Award last fall for her analytical essay on the architectural nature of Lady Gaga's fashion sensibility. Dress was designed by Walker Design and Matthew Rezac in Minneapolis. The publication was officially launched with a series of readings and a party at the appropriately stylish Bumble and bumble headquarters in Manhattan's Meatpacking District.