Today, Nacha Van Steen at Europeana Fashion partner Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels (KMKG), explains how the Fashion Thesaurus that is being developed under the guidance of KMKG will help you explore fashion in the Europeana Fashion portal.
What springs to mind when I say ‘fashion’? Exactly, an immense variety of images, clothes, shoes, magazines, lifestyle choices, as diverse and complex as your own imagination. Now imagine trying to capture all of that in words, and worse still, structure…
And yet, that is exactly what the Europeana Fashion project has set out to do in creating a thesaurus on fashion, a reference that assembles all things fashion in a controlled, structured hierarchy, including synonyms and antonyms. The result will be a tree-like structure with branches for every topic within the world of fashion, ready to be discovered, explored and used for research or entertainment.
The thesaurus will be used to enrich metadata (information about digitised objects) within the Europeana Fashion project and to provide high quality disclosure of fashion-related content within Europeana itself. Moreover, the thesaurus will be made publicly available on the project’s own website, ready to be used by all interested.
Because it will exist as a digital reference only, it can serve as a starting point for fashion researchers, can be expanded as the need arises and will encompass the richness and complexity that the fashion industry, from creator to manufacturer to buyer and collector, has to offer.
The benefits are numerous: the vocabulary is controlled, can be translated (the Europeana Fashion Project offers 10 languages!), and the information can be retrieved in a fast, complete and orderly manner. Relationships become clear, data entry is simplified and a vast amount of knowledge is gathered in a logical, structured, organised way.
For you, as a Europeana user, Europeana Fashion’s thesaurus will give you the opportunity to search for fashion-related content in each of the 10 represented languages – English, Dutch, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Greek, Swedish and Serbian.
Nevertheless, creativity – the base, the building block of fashion – always comes up with new takes on existing concepts. This means that any thesaurus, especially one on fashion, will need to be looked after and updated or become outdated.
This is why we base our thesaurus on existing international standards, such as the Getty Research Institute’s Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT), and we strive to add new concepts in this existing structure where possible.
We aim to provide users with a myriad of search options, to help you find what you need, to keep you informed, interested and curious, and to help the fashion domain to publish its work.
Pucci is one of the illustrious names in the Europeana Fashion consortium of partners. At Pitti Uomo (organized by yet another Europeana Fashion partner, Pitti Immagine), Pucci celebrated the second edition of the fashion book “Decades”, in which Emilio Pucci has an important presence.
The famous brand of Florentine luxury has opened the doors of its headquarters Palazzo Pucci to Pitti 83. Guest star was Cameron Silver and his “Decades: A Century in Fashion”, a lucky opus that after one month and a half has already sold more than 10.000 copies and is at its second edition.
The book tells about fashion since 1900 through formely unreleased pictures divided in decades. Each chapter starts with the two opposite most important trends of a period and ends with the most representative fashion designer of that period positioned next to one of his best creations, spiced up with his clever and lively comments.
During the cocktail party, in an open dialogue with Laudomia Pucci, the king of L.A.’s vintage has declared his passion for Italian fashion and its importance in style choices in every decade, pointing out the presence of Emilio Pucci’s pieces inside the book.
Special guests to the event were, among others, Suzy Menkes, Ferruccio Ferragamo, Raffaello Napoleone, Sibilla della Gherardesca, Cristina Morozzi, Tiziana Marchi of Polimoda, Alessandra Arezzi, Maria Luisa Frisa, and other representatives of fashion institutions in Florence.
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In The Europeana Fashion of.. we explore the unique role of each partner in the Europeana Fashion project. In this edition, an interview with Emmanuelle Beuvin, documentation manager at Les Arts Décoratifs collections mode et textile (LAD) in Paris.
How would you describe your institution’s role in the Europeana Fashion project?
LAD fulfills in the French cultural landscape a unique role to showcase the skills of craftsmen down the centuries, the evolution of styles, technological innovation and the creativity of artists. Extending this role, LAD will provide to the portal fashion-related digital objects, ranging from historical dresses to contemporary garments, accessories, drawings, representing the French fashion heritage. Users will benefit from the most outstanding and rich materials coming from LAD. Besides providing content, LAD will also contribute to the fashion thesaurus, providing a French translation for the terms in the thesaurus
What aspect of Europeana Fashion are you most excited about?
To make fashion heritage accessible on the Internet means that collections can be used and re-used for education and research and by the cultural heritage, leisure and creative industries.
How do you think Europeana Fashion will contribute to awareness of fashion heritage?
Europeana Fashion will make Europe’s fashion heritage more available and usable online. Europeana Fashion will provide direct access to objects in a database fed by the digital fashion archives of 22 partners in 12 European countries.
What is your future vision of digitization and fashion heritage?
Digitization will offer fashion heritage to users wherever they are and whenever they want it. Mobile devices such as phones and tablet computers provide seamless access to cultural portals on the web. Sharing information and reusing data in an unlimited way is a great perspective for users that will facilitate creativity, social cohesion and the democratization of culture in general. Additionally, digital information also requires authoritative sources and high quality content. The Europeana Fashion aggregator facilitates knowledge transfer of huge amounts of data from trusted sources as the Europeana fashion partners represent Europe’s leading fashion institutions.
What is your favorite object in the LAD collection and why?
My favorite object is a navy blue sweater by Elsa Schiaparelli, made of knitted jacquard wool, because of the fantasy of the “trompe l’oeil” bow.
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