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Dressed to Protest: What Women Wore to the Revolution

DRESSED TO PROTEST: What Women Wore to the Revolution
by Cornelia Powell

In celebration of the Suffrage Centennial in the United States, from June 2019 (one hundred years after Congress passed the 19 th Amendment) to August 2020 (one hundred years after it was ratified), guest speaker, writer and fashion historian Cornelia Powell presents 'Dressed to Protest: What Women Wore to the Revolution.'

With entertaining stories and historical images, Cornelia shows how, in the decades-long campaign for the vote, women used costume as 'political armor.' Fashionista and UK suffrage leader Emmeline Pankhurst, like many of her American counterparts, encouraged their followers 'to use their style to further the cause—to be the most elegant ladies in the public sphere.' Sharing ways that fashion shaped a revolution (with topics from 'losing the
corset and gaining the vote' to 'the little white dress and other costumes of the resistance' to 'hats and feathers in the voting booth'), Cornelia sets the tone of a time and place in history—and what women wore while changing it! King Louis XIV of France said that 'fashion is the mirror of history' and in Cornelia’s storyteller imagination, she reveals how the most entertaining 'history lessons' can be told through this 'Who-Wore-What-When-and-Why' mirror. ~

This is part of a larger ongoing series of programs that we will be holding at the Jackson County Public Library regarding the centennial of the 19th amendment. If you have any questions or would like to help with this year long celebration please call the Reference Desk at 586-2016

A Little more about our renowned speaker:


Wedding Folklorist, Fashion Historian, Author and Guest Speaker

As a writer and popular guest speaker, Cornelia Powell shares captivating stories of goddess legends and bridal mythology, royal ceremonies and rituals of the heart, costume history, women’s history and creative self-expression—all combined with a hint of cosmic mystery. Her latest book, The End of the Fairy- Tale Bride: For Better or Worse, How Princess Diana Rescued the Great White Wedding, spotlights the archetypal princess’ influence on the world of weddings and the lingering effects of the 'princess myth' in popular culture. She is also the author of Amazon bestseller The Bride’s Ritual Guide: Look Inside to Find Yourself and The Handkerchief Has Been Thrown! Something Old & Something New for Same-Sex Couples.
(Cornelia is at work on a new book, tentatively titled, A Memory of Love: The Spiritual Mission of a Princess, which explores how the life and death of a heart-centered princess affects today’s women’s movement.)

Ms. Powell has been the keynote speaker at the prestigious Winterthur Museum in Delaware; on Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina; at the Goodwood Museum in Tallahassee, Florida; and at other venues around the country. Whether the focus of her talks and PowerPoint presentations—full of charming commentary and stunning images—is Downton Abbey, American Heiresses and the London Season, Princess Brides, the Coronations and Weddings of Queens, Gilded Glamour Aboard the Titanic, the costume of ‘revolution and protests’, or how corsets shaped women’s bodies as well as their minds, her audiences love the ‘fashionably’ historical journey she takes them on. King Louis XIV of France said that 'fashion is the mirror of history.' And in the imagination of a good storyteller with a bit of costume savvy, the most entertaining 'history lessons' are told through this 'Who-Wore-What-When-and-Why' mirror!

In addition, Cornelia’s magazine articles and blog posts also become intimate views into these distinctive woman-centric moments in history.
Ms. Powell first made headlines in the world of weddings with her nationally celebrated bridal art-to-wear shop in Atlanta, Georgia, in the 1980s and ‘90s. Opened on the glittering wave following the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer—and in recognition of the emerging 'modern woman'—her store helped reshape the bridal design industry. During this time both Ms. Powell and her shop were featured in numerous magazines and books including Hearst Publication’s The Business of Bliss: How to Profit from Doing What You Love, introducing women entrepreneurs as presented in Victoria magazine.

Cornelia Powell is a former associate fashion editor at Vogue magazine ('the hardest work and the best training ever') and served for years as a member of the Costume Society of America’s Board of Directors. After 30 years in Atlanta, Cornelia moved to the Western North Carolina Mountains in 2008 and now looks out at the world and its ever-inspiring landscape from her writing loft nestled on a steep, green mountain ridge. She claims growing up on a farm in south Alabama, including visits 'up the road' with two extraordinary grandmothers, gave her a 'wondering' quality about finding beauty in the everyday of Mother Nature.
Tuesday, June 18, 2019 - 6:00pm


Jackson County Public Library

310 Keener St
Sylva NC

Telephone: 828-586-2016