By: Jane Przybysz
Quilt-garment fashion shows have become a standard feature of contemporary quilt festivals. Since 1978, Fairfield Processing Corporation has invited contemporary quilters to design and construct pieced, quilted and hand-worked clothing for an annual fashion show mounted at what – over the years- has become the Houston International Quilt Festival. In the summer of ’88, Fairfield staged a ten-year retrospective of quilted garments that have been shown at the festival. This paper will survey the garments modeled at the retrospective and discuss how they reshape the female body, rehearse the body for particular kinds of action, and represent women as desiring subjects.
The paper will consider how the fashion show format- both the spatial constraints imposed on models and the verbal performance of the mistress of ceremonies – mediates and often mutes the disruptive potential of the body wrapped in quilted garments.