The Editor's Column: Masters and Students
6 November, 2017
  • fashion
  • fashion

Fashion is a discipline that requires passion, ability, and focus. On a more practical level, what is central to fashion is a solid training. For designers, the learning experience of the apprenticeship is one of the most important moments for their professional life, shaping the way in which they they will then deal with their practice. This month is dedicated to how the infamous couples of masters and students populate the history of fashion.

Dress by Yves Saint Laurent, 1958, Courtesy Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris, All Rights Reserved

School sometimes is not just a physical and institutionalised place, especially considering the history of fashion training, which developed on different channels. All those spaces where designers have the possibility to see, learn and experience something about their work can be regarded as ‘schools of fashion’, whose definition is linked to the kind of work that is carried out and, above all, to the people who lives these spaces, and the relations these professionals entertain with one another. 

The stories of the relationship between students and their teachers are fascinating, and often offer glimpses into the approach these people had towards dress and design in general. They are also useful in understanding how, especially in the last century, fashion has come to be recognised as cultural and social force, whose relation to the present-tense is always fundamental to its value. 
This November, on the Europeana Fashion blog, we will deal with some of the most important cases of in fashion history. As usual, we will try to recall these experiences by looking at the objects these designers produced, in order to understand from their practice the kind of lessons they listened to, learned or - in some interesting cases - rejected.

Cape by Ungaro, 1969, Courtesy CER.ES: Red Digital De Colecciones De Museos De España, All Rights Reserved

looking at cases of this kind is surely compelling for both students of fashion and people passionate about biographies, above all because the professional relationships quite often move into personal ones; most times, the teacher becomes a mentor, whose influence remains present even when the apprenticeship comes to an end. All these experiences talk about the formation of a creative mind, but also about the personal growth of individuals, who learn about themselves through their practice, and reflecting on the world that surrounds them.

In this scenario, fashion becomes a territory where this growth happens, and where the very identity of designers - students, but also teachers - mutates, contributing to the creation of the personae we now regard as icons.