EVENT

Unsuitable w/ Eleanor Medhurst

24 Jul 2024 – 19:00 PM
Social Refuge
27 Great Ancoats Street
Ancoats
M4 5AJ
Manchester

Join Social Refuge for an evening of exploration, celebration, and revelation as we launch Unsuitable: A History of Lesbian Fashion by Eleanor Medhurst.

This groundbreaking work delves into the rich and often overlooked world of lesbian fashion, uncovering the ways in which clothing has been used to express identity, find community, and challenge societal norms. Despite its significance, the concept of ‘lesbian fashion’ has been largely ignored in historical discourse—until now.

About the book

The way we dress can show or hide who we are; make us fit in, make us stand out, or make our own community. Yet ‘lesbian fashion’ has been strangely overlooked. What secrets can it reveal about the lives and status of queer women through the ages?

The lesbian past is slippery: often deliberately hidden, edited or left unrecorded. Unsuitable restores to history the dazzlingly varied clothes worn by women who love women, from top hats to violet tiaras. This story spans centuries and countries, from ‘Gentleman Jack’ in nineteenth-century Yorkshire and Queen Christina of seventeenth-century Sweden, to Paris modernism, genderqueer Berlin, butch/femme bar culture and gay rights activists—via drag kings, Vogue editors and the Harlem Renaissance.

This book is a kaleidoscope of the margins and the mainstream, celebrating trans lesbian style, Black lesbian style, and gender nonconformity. You don’t have to be queer or fashionable to be enthralled by this hidden history. Unsuitable lights it up for the world to see, in all its finery.

About the author

Eleanor Medhurst is a historian of lesbian fashion and author of the blog Dressing Dykes. She has worked on Brighton Museum’s exhibitions Queer Looks and Queer the Pier, and been interviewed by Grazia, Cosmopolitan, Cameron Esposito’s Queery and Gillian Anderson’s What Do I Know?! This is her first book.

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