Francesca Granata is Associate Professor in the School of Art and Design History and Theory at Parsons School of Design. Her research centers on modern and contemporary visual and material culture with a particular focus on fashion history and theory, gender and performance studies. Her monograph Experimental Fashion, Performance Art, Carnival and the Grotesque Body (Bloomsbury / I.B. Tauris, 2017) examines the way experimental fashion at the turn of the twenty-first century mediated shifting gender norms and the AIDS crisis.
Her forthcoming edited collection An Anthology of Fashion Criticism will be published by Bloomsbury in 2021. The first anthology of its kind, the book includes critics from the late 19th century (starting with Oscar Wilde) through the present. Among the authors anthologized are cultural critics and writers (including Susan Sontag, Angela Carter, Bebe Moore Campbell, Eve Babitz and Hilton Als) alongside fashion journalists, such as Vanessa Friedman, Robin Givhan and Guy Trebay. The anthology unveils how “fashion media discourse” not only mediated the fashion ideals of those periods, but to the extent to which it was constantly intertwined with discourses outside its fields it produced “truths” surrounding gender, race, and a host of other identity categories. The book argues that fashion criticism occupied a central role in negotiating shifting gender roles as well as shifting understandings of race.
Granata has published in the journals Fashion Theory, The Journal of Design History and Fashion Practice, in magazines such as The Atlantic, as well as in a number of books and exhibition catalogues. She is the editor and founder of the non-profit journal Fashion Projects (fashionprojects.org), a project fiscally sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts. She has been invited to lecture in museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA PS1, the Benaki Museum, Athens, and the Somerset House, as well as universities and design schools including Cornell University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and IUAV Venezia.
In 2019 Granata curated, with Charlene K. Lau, the exhibition “Otherworldly: Performance, Costume and Difference” at Parsons’s Aronson Gallery as part of the Performa 19 Biennial. “Otherworldly “examined the political work at the intersections of costume, fashion and performance produced by three artists: Machine Dazzle, Narcissister and Rammellzee. It received funding from the Coby Foundation and was highlighted in The New Yorker.Granata also co-curated, with Sarah Scaturro, "Ethics + Aesthetics," the first American exhibition exploring the interconnection between fashion and sustainability, and co-wrote the accompanying exhibition catalogue.
Prior to coming to Parsons, she taught in the Visual Arts Department at Goldsmiths College and at NYU’s Visual Arts department, and was a Polaire-Weissman fellow at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts. She has received grants from the University of the Arts London, the Coby Foundation, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
PhD, Visual and Material Culture, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London
MA, Cinema and Media Studies, Tisch , NYU
BA Art History, Tufts University
BFA Visual Arts, Tufts University
• Experimental Fashion: Performance Art, Carnival and the Grotesque Body, London and New York: Bloomsbury/I.B. Tauris, February 2017
o Russian translation forthcoming Moscow: New Literary Observer, September 2020.
• An Anthology of Fashion Criticism. London and New York: Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2021
Ethics + Aesthetics = Sustainable Fashion with Sarah Scaturro. Pratt Manhattan Gallery: New York, 2010
• “Fashioning Cultural Criticism: An Inquiry into Fashion Criticism and its Delay in Legitimization,” reviewed and accepted, published online April 2018, forthcoming in print Fashion Theory, 2019
• “Deconstruction Fashion: Carnival and the Grotesque,” The Journal of Design History, volume 26, number 2 (May 2013): 182-198
• “Fashion Studies In-Between: A Methodological Case Study and an Inquiry into the State of Fashion Studies” Fashion Theory, volume 16, number 1 (March 2012): 67-82.
o Reprinted in Fashion Theory - Russia number 32 (Summer, 2014)
• “Multiple Systems and Composite Identities in New York Fashion: An Interview with Mary Ping” Fashion Practice, volume 1, number 2 (November 2009): 227-237
• “Subverting Assumptions of Female Beauty: An Interview with Ann-Sofie Back,” in Fashion Theory, volume 11, number 4 (December 2007)
o Reprinted in Contributor Magazine issue 6 (2012): 391-401
Articles in Books
• “Between Performance and Performativity: Leigh Bowery” in Fashion Performance and Performativity edited by Andrea Kollnitz and Marco Pecorari, forthcoming 2021
• “Exploring the Female Gaze: An Interview with Roxane Danset,” in Ane Lynge-Jorlén edited, Fashion Stylists: History, Meaning and Practice. London and New York: Bloomsbury, August, 2020
• Chapter from Experimental Fashion reprinted as "Martin Margiela's Carnivalized time: Margiela's Theatrical Costume Collection" in Time in Fashion: Industrial, Antilinear and Uchronic Temporalities, Edited by Caroline Evans and Alessandra Vaccari. New York and London: Bloomsbury, 2020
o "Il Tempo Carnevalizzato. Margiela e la Collezione di Costume," Il Tempo della Moda. Edited by Caroline Evans and Alessandra Vaccari. Milano e Udine: Mimesis Edizioni, 2019
• “Afterward” to Scot D. Ryersson and Michael Orlando Yaccarino’s Marchesa Casati: Infinite Variety The Life and Legend of the Marchesa Casati, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, November 2017
• “Fitting Sources – Tailoring Methods: A Case-Study of Martin Margiela and the Temporalities of Fashion” in Fashion Studies: Research Methods, Sites and Practices, in Heike Jenss ed., London: Bloomsbury, 2016
• “Mikhail Bakhtin: Fashioning the Grotesque Body” in Thinking Through Fashion: A Guide to the Key Theorists, in Agnes Rocamora and Anneke Smelik ed., London: I.B. Tauris, 2015
• Fashion Projects, number 5 (2018), on Fashion Curation
• Fashion Projects, number 4 (2013), on Fashion Criticism
• Fashion Projects, number 3 (2010), on Fashion and Memory
• Fashion Projects, number 2 (2008), on Art and Fashion Collectives, and Collaboration
• Fashion Projects, number 1 (2005), on Authenticity and Forgery
Articles in Exhibition Catalogues
• “Martin Margiela and New Materialism” in Martin Margiela. Paris: Lafayette Anticipations, 2021
• Fashion Unbound” in Clash: Counterculture in Fashion, Denmark: Horning Museum of Contemporary Art, 2014
• Decentering Fashion: Carnival, Performance and the Grotesque Body,” Not a Toy: Radical Character Design in Fashion and Costume, in Vasisilis Zidianakis ed., Berlin and Athens: Atopos Contemporary Visual Culture and Pictoplasma, October 2011
• Bernhard Willhelm and Jutta Kraus, co-authored with Ingeborg Hams and Sue-an Van der Zijpp accompanying Willhelm and Krauss’ retrospective at the Groninger Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. NAI Publishers: Amsterdam, 2010
• “Fashion of Inversions: The Grotesque and the Carnivalesque in Contemporary Belgian Fashion” in Modus Operandi: State of Affairs in Current Research on Belgian Fashion, ModeMuseum: Antwerp, 2009
Articles in Magazines (selected)
• “The Alienating Garments of Rei Kawakubo,” The Atlantic, May 7, 2017
• “Consider the Garment” An Interview with Paola Antonelli, Disegno, number 16, 2017
• “Why Fashion Criticism Matters,” Form Magazine for Nordic Architecture and Design, 2013
• “Women’s Work”: An Interview with Judith Thurman,” Fashion Projects, number 4, 2013.
o Reprinted in Design Observer, 2013
• Transdisciplinary Practices: An Interview with Stefano Tonchi.” Fashion Projects, number 4, 2013
visual and material culture, fashion history, fashion theory, gender studies, performance studies, curation, sustainability
Awards And Honors
The Coby Foundation
Polaire Weissman Art History Fellowship, the Metropolitan Museum of Art,
Belgian-American Education Foundation
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council
University of the Arts London