Description: A written research report about a fashion designer (see attached list to select from-one student per designer). Report must include visuals of the designer’s work from magazines or newspapers published during the time period that the designer worked.

Part I: What does history say about your designer?

Research the designer’s background (family, education, design inspiration, what are the iconic things for which they are remembered, etc.) Two excellent books from which to start are: Couture by Caroline Milbank and Who’s Who in Fashion a Fairchild Publication. Do not end your search here, however. Biographical information about you designer must come from multiple books and limited websites.

Give proper citation to all the sources you used to research your designer—use MLA (Modern Language Association) style format in your bibliography as well as your internal citations within your paper. When it doubt cite your information. I’d rather see too much citation than not enough. An MLA handbook can be found at the library and online.

Include a bibliography, alphabetical order by author’s last name or title of book/magazine (if no author or editor is given). Again, use MLA format for compiling your bibliography. Include an introduction, discussion, and conclusion in your report.

Edit yourself for typos, misspelled words and grammatical errors.  These errors are minus 1 point for each typo, misspelled word, or grammatical error. These points add up and can reduce an A research paper to a B, a B to a C, etc.

Your report must be typed, double-spaced with 1” margins. Please use 12 point font. Include a title page. A minimum of 5-10 pages of text (not counting the title page and bibliography is a good length—longer is ok.).

This portion of the project will be graded and returned to you. Therefore, any mistakes or errors noted should be corrected for the final submission.

Part II- Contemporary Context

Review fashion magazines (ie. Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, or Glamour) during the time in which your designer worked. Find illustrations of his/her work from magazines and/or newspapers. The more sources that an average person of the time would be exposed to the better. Find at least 15-20 good illustrations-make sure they are large enough and clear enough to see after you have photocopied or scanned them. For example, if your designer made their biggest contributions to fashion from 1960-1974 then find examples from a spread of the years—not just from one or two years.

A strong word of advice—this section of the project usually CANNOT be completed overnight—some magazines needed may be in the ISU library repository or may need to be acquired through interlibrary loan. This requires several days delivery time. You will very likely need to go through lots of magazines to find the minimum number of illustrations. So plan and work ahead of the date!

Place you illustrations in a binder, arrange them in a chronological order by year. Type up a list of the illustrations and their source—for example:

Illustration #1-March 31, 1965, Vogue Illustration #2-October, 32, 1970, Vogue

Turn in the binder and the list of Illustrations. Points will be deducted if:

  • the images are not from sources representative of a span of years unclear
  • the images are too small to review
  • reproduction quality is poor
  • images are not presented using professional standards

Many of these magazines can be found in the regular stacks, in the reserve stacks or on microfilm. The online catalog will only help you to find the location of the particular magazine or newspaper. You must go to the stacks or the microfilm and go through the magazines looking for your designer’s work.

It is imperative for you to find images of your designer’s work within the context of what is taking place in both the fashion industry, popular culture and everyday life of their times. Only by spending time with primary sources from the era, will you be able to piece together some context for why the designer was truly influential.

Part II, also, will be returned to you with comments on what should be corrected or added for full points in the final grading.

Part III-Analysis
This is your analysis of you findings from the magazines and/or newspapers. Do you agree with how history remembers your designer? In this section you note whether you agree or disagree with what secondary sources comment about your designer’s work as it relates to what you found in the visuals. What is your analysis of the designers work: strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, what do you think this designer’s contributions to fashion are during his/her time period? Are there innovation from this individual that are uncredited or given to someone else? Etc.

This paper follows the same criteria of Part I:

  • Edit yourself for typos, misspelled words and grammatical errors.
  • report must be typed
  • double-spaced with 1” margins
  • 12 point font.Include a title page
  • A minimum of 5 pages of text (not counting the title page and bibliography.
  • All sources used in this section should also be cited.

Part III, also, will be returned to you with comments on what should be corrected or added for full points in the final grading.

Part IV-Final Presentation
This includes all three previous parts (I, II, and III). This should be organized into the sections with all of their parts (title page, bibliography, etc). Any necessary corrections should be made at this time.

Be prepared to share your research with the class in an oral presentation with visual aids. Powerpoint is recommended.

You also must include 5 test questions regarding your designer and their contributions to the evolution of fashion. These questions may be included on the Final Exam for this course.

Part IV will be graded on:

  • following directions
  • corrections made from initial grading of Part I, II and III
  • neatness
  • completeness
  • organization
  • accuracy and detail of information
  • variety of sources used
  • number of years covered by the visuals
  • professional appearance of the overall presentation (being creative is fine),
  • proper formatting of citations and bibliography,
  • clearness & preparation of information presented to class.
  • absence of grammatical errors, spelling errors and typos.
  • inclusion of 5 test questions.


each student in the course will have a unique designer. See you instructor to claim your subject and prevent duplicate coverage. If there is a designer you would like to investigate that is not present here, consult with your instructor as to whether said person is viable for this project.

  • Cristobal Balenciaga
  • The Callot Souers
  • Oleg Cassini
  • Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel
  • Andre Courreges
  • Jacques Doucet
  • Christian Dior
  • Jacques Fath
  • Mariano Fortuny
  • Hubert de Givenchy
  • Donna Karen
  • Jeanne Lanvin
  • Lucien Lelong
  • Clare McCardell
  • Jeanne Paquin
  • Jean Patou
  • Paul Poiret
  • John Redfern
  • Elsa Schiaparelli
  • Madeleine Vionnet
  • Charles Frederick Worth