Culture Costume and Dress

5-7th May 2021 Birmingham UK

“The symbologies of the typical costumes of the ‘Rainha Das Rosas’ competition in Barbacena, Minas Gerais, Brazil “ (Glauber Soares junior, Isadora F Oliveira, Fabiano E A Batista and Ítalo J M Dantas)

July 13th, 2021

Report by Robyn Westcott

The ‘Festa Das Rosas’ festival began in the city or Barbacena, Brazil in 1968. A flower festival, that honours the city’s culture and history with the title event being the ‘Rainha Das Rosas’ a pageant that crowns the queen of roses.

Isadora described that herself and fellow researchers were looking into symbols used in beauty contests and the evolutionary process of the costumes, whilst identifying how they reflect the time and place. She explained that they were to use the study of material culture, observational video graphic review as well as interviews to obtain information on the subject, specifically focusing on the case study of contestants in the ‘Rainha Das Rosas’ competition.

Rainha Das Rosas

When immigrants from Germany and Italy came to the city of Barbacena, to escape the European economic crisis following WW2, they began to grow flowers as a source of income. This became a key part of the economy of which the city still relies on today, as a major supplier to states such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Since the 1970’s, the city has become nationally-known as ‘the city of roses’.

In 1968 the ‘Festa Das Rosas’ festival began, honouring the important position that flowers have within the community. The event has many different activities and is has become a bustling and important practice since its conception. The main event is the ‘Rainha Das Rosas’ where women in the community dress up in beautiful, lavish costumes. Inspired by their heritage of European medieval peasants, they are adorned with roses to compete for the title of the ‘queen of roses’ – a symbol of tradition, beauty, glamour and status.

The competition over time has evolved, becoming more lavish, professional and glamourous as sponsors have become involved and the competition has become more prestigious. However, artifacts passed down through generations are still used and families tend to have major involvement in helping to choose the wearer’s costume, thus helping to retain its traditional and cultural roots. But, although our clothing is embedded within our culture, it still evolves and adapts over time, becoming diluted and the original heritage begins to slowly fade.

The research undertaken hopes to delve deeper into why certain symbologies are used and to better understand the influence culture has on costume used in pageantry and how these change over time to evolve to their social climate. I look forward to seeing the findings of this paper and learning more about the intricacies and influences involved in such costumes.

Watch the paper here: CCD2021 | » Symbolic Dress

Student Researchers- Part of the CCD Community!

June 28th, 2021

Where has the time gone?

It’s now six weeks since the Culture, Costume and Dress Conference on May 5th-7th. It’s been busy with assessments and marking work here at BCU so I felt that it was about time to add some of the student contributions from CCD 2021 to the blog.

A selection of level 5 and level 6 students were tasked with ‘reporting’ on a selection of the paper presentations given in the conference. The convening panel have, since the inauguration of the conference in 2017 been keen to ensure that our student undergraduate and post- graduate community should also be part of the, and contribute to the CCD research community.

Each year students have partaken in the conference in a variety of ways, including on- site support for registration and navigation of the conferences, in 2017 and 2019, and designing and contributing to the Cabinets of Costume exhibition in 2017. This year with the move to online delivery of the conference onto Zoom the ‘Student Round Table’ offered a valuable contribution to the conference- I leave this to Sian to explore more in her student’s blog post.

For the next six to eight weeks I will be handing over the blogosphere to our student researchers. This blog post is an introduction to our student reports to be featured as blog posts, I hope that you will read and support our early researchers in their reporting? I would like to welcome and thank them all for their contributions which include:

Jessica Boyd

Emma Davis

Lin Dou

Robyn Westcott

Abbie Wells

Week 1The symbologies of the typical costumes of the ‘Rainha Das Rosas’ competition in Barbacena, Minas Gerais, Brazil. (Glauber Soares Junior, Isadora F Oliveira, Fabiano E A Batista and Ítalo J M Dantas, 5th May 2021) Blog post written by Robyn Westcott. Watch it here: CCD2021 | » Symbolic Dress

Week 2: Covid -19 and online living: A recipe for a slow fashion lifestyle? (Hughes, 5th May 2021) Blog post by Abbie Wells. Watch it here: CCD2021 | » Lifestyle and identity

Week 3- Power and Wellbeing Through garment choice: Experimental garment design concepts for women who wear men’s clothing. (Jackson, 6th May 2021) Blog post by Abbie Wells. Watch it here: CCD2021 | » Cross-dressing and gender politics

Week 4- New Materiality and Phygital Dress: The performance of self through AR beauty filters. (Coffey, 7th May 2021) Watch it here: CCD2021 | » Identity and technology

More to follow…

If you would like to watch the paper conferences or key notes they are all now on the CCD Website CCD2021 | » Recordings

Louise Chapman
Senior Lecturer in BA Hons Costume Design and Practice
Ph.D. Candidate London College of Fashion