Resume

 

Introduction

 

For 30 years Kathleen McDermott has popularized History and Culture, the last 20 years as a teacher of fashion history and women’s history.

 

As a Consulting Historian from 1986 to 1998, she authored illustrated histories of large American fashion, beauty, and consumer product companies including Max Factor, Butterick Patterns, Kinney Shoe, Timex, Buxton Wallets, Sherwin-Williams, and Price Waterhouse (Harvard Business School Press).

 

As a Fashion History Instructor from 1998 to present at Massachusetts College of Art and Design and concurrently for five years at Rhode Island School of Design, she has presented visual slideshows and lectures on 500 years of fashion, culture, and art history to hundreds of undergraduates and fashion design certificate students.  Her classes are designed to create informed and activist adults passionate about women’s history, fashion history, and art museums.  She wrote, illustrated, and published in 2010 an accessible fashion history student handbook Style for All:  Why Fashion, Invented by Kings, Now Belongs to All of Us.  See her resume below for all public speaking and museum gallery talks as well as her fashion history TV, radio, and print commentary.

 

Since 2001, Kathleen has created and sold more than 200 fashion-history-inspired handmade hats and accessories to private clients and to Boston Lyric Opera as donor gifts.  See Kathleen’s Hats About Town photoblog for the visual record.

 

In 2009, Kathleen created Diva Museum: How Opera Singers Changed the World, 1700-1920, a multi-media art and education platform featuring the pathbreaking role of opera singers in Western women’s empowerment.  Incorporating all of Kathleen’s developed strengths as artist, teacher, and historical popularizer, Diva Museum’s broad range of communication tools and public activities are designed to reach the widest possible audience and influence the cultural dialogue. Diva Museum lists all her Diva history videos and courses, public speaking, and museum performances.  Santa Fe, Glimmerglass, and Minnesota Opera shops have sold her Diva biographical notecards.  In March 2017 she produced Diva Salon, a sold-out evening of Diva song and feminist history.  She serves as Diva research advisor to artistic staff and cast for OperaHub’s all-new Diva opera Trunk Show! A Fashionable Fantasia of Women on the World Stage, premiering at the BCA in Boston June  21-July 1, 2018.

 

HAUTE HISTORY: 1997 to PRESENT

Hat Art and Design

 

Photoblog: Hats About Town

 

Since 2001, sold 150 handmade hats and accessories: one-half purchase price donated to charity of buyer's choice.

 

During 2002-2006; 2016: created 75 commissioned hats, masks, accessories, and costumes for Boston Lyric Opera General Director and staff, donors, and guests.

 

Since 2003, Hat judge at Mayor's annual Hats Galore contest,  Boston Parks Department ParkARTS benefit, Rose Garden, The Fenway.

Fashion History Teaching

 

Instructor, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, 1998 to present.  Courses created: Fashion and Society: America, 1750 to Present and Fashion and Art in the 20th Century.

 

Instructor, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island. Apparel Design Department, 2005 through 2011.  Course created: History of Dress.

 

 

Fashion History Pundit

 

Public Radio

 

Your White Summer Pants: Summer Staple Or Power Play?  WGBH-News: The Curiosity Desk.  Interview with Edgar Herwick. May 29, 2016.

 

Political Threads, NPR's On the Media by WNYC-NY. Interview with Brooke Gladstone. February 1, 2008.

 

Television

 

Kate's Dress: Like? Dislike? NECN: New England Cable Network News. April 9, 2011, day of royal wedding. Discussing Kate's dress and fascinator popularity.

 

"Indo-Chic," Urban Update, WHDH Boston, Channel 7: October 28, 2001.

 

Web and Print

 

BU Today

 

On the historical appearance of stiletto heels: "The modern connection between fashion and pain traces to the 1950s, when designer Christian Dior unveiled his "New Look," pointy shoes with a steep, thin heel. By contrast, World War II era shoes," says Kathleen McDermott, a fashion historian and instructor at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, "were blunt in the toe, sensible, and not intended to be sexy. Dior wanted women to be like flowers, dainty and feminine,"' she says. 'It was the exact opposite of the utilitarian design that came before it. And a stiletto heel was a big part of that change.' " Stylish Shoes Have a Serious Price Tag: BU Study Shows It's Heels Today, Pain Tomorrow, BU Today, November 16, 2009.

 

The Boston Globe

 

On the rush of fashion designers to dress Olympic athletes: "The Olympics are one of the last places where designers haven't aggressively worked to get their name out there,' says Rhode Island School of Design fashion historian and author Kathleen McDermott. "So of course fashion is storming in. Here are all these fabulous athletes we can idolize, while admiring the designs." High End Designers Competing For Gold, Boston Globe, July 25, 2012.

 

On the difference between Yves St. Laurent and Tom Ford: "Kathleen McDermott, fashion history professor at MassArt, insinuates that Ford is out to give investors confidence more than the people who wear his clothes, and she says the difference between the namesake and the man who carries the brand into this new century is remarkable. Saint Laurent was a classic designer with artistic vision; Ford is a stylist." "'One is painstakingly creating a garment from the ground up,' McDermott says, 'and the other has a very clever sense of what will sell.' "  "Vision Can't Be Refashioned," Boston Globe, January 10, 2002, D3.

 

On wearing white before Memorial Day: "It really goes back to what is proper dress set by the upper class, and followed slavishly by the middle class," said Kathleen McDermott, fashion historian at the Massachusetts College of Art.  "Shades of a Different Color Define a New Dress Code," Boston Globe, May 2, 2002, D3.

 

Women’s Wear Daily, NYC

 

On the connection between consumer spending and housing prices: "We've been in this long boom where people who own homes are getting breaks from refinancing that, over time, may give them more income to spend on clothes." "The Consumers behind the Money," WWD, November 7, 2002, 12.

 

Kansas City Star

 

With men out of jobs [in the 1930s], women emerged as a strong force to keep families together.  They worked as they could, often taking in laundry and sewing to feed their families.  "No woman could afford to be weak."  "A Good Front,"  Kansas City Star, October 14, 2001, G3.

 

The print explosion is a symptom of today's eclectic postmodern culture with little significance beyond surface decoration.  "It's as if designers are rummaging through the closets of fashion history. They're picking what they like and mixing it up. It's an endless recycling and rejuvenation."  "Your Prints Have Come," Kansas City Star, March 11, 2001, G3.

 

Uneven hemlines first surfaced in the 1920s, a period of transition when skirts were on the move from long to short and back to long.  "It was a way to accustom the eye to a new length.  And women were able to have a little bit of both worlds."  "Do You Have a Handkerchief?" Kansas City Star, July 16, 2000.

 

The 1920s and 1960s were periods when women rebelled against traditional clothing and cast off provincial thinking.  Women of the 1960s were "picking up the threads their grandmothers had agitated for" in the late 1910s and 1920s.  These "were two periods of enormous freedom, and we are still living with those implications."  "From Corsets to Casual: The 20th Century," Kansas City Star, November 14, 1999.

 

Beading was popular in the 1920s when fashion took a turn toward straight-lined flapper silhouettes.   "When shapes simplify, clothes [surfaces] become more ornate."  Beading provides "a place for the eye to go."  "Getting a Bead," Kansas City Star, October 10, 1999.

 

The decade of the 1960s "was the first time in our century when fashion bubbled up from the streets."  "Peasant Thoughts," Kansas City Star, May 16, 1999.

 

The Oregonian

 

On uses of the American flag in fashion history: "In the 1960s, people started appropriating flag images on T-shirts, incorporating it into clothing . . . using the flag as overt political theater."   "Patriotic Fervor Hits Fashion,"  The Oregonian, September 30, 2001, L7.

 

 

Fashion History and Style Writing

 

Style for All:  Why Fashion. Invented by Kings, Now Belongs to All of Us.  Lulu Press, 2010.

 

"Fashion Statements," Boston Sunday Globe, Fifty-Five Plus, April 23, 2000, 12.

 

"Vive la Différence" and "In Her Fashion," Boston Sunday Globe Magazine, Your Home, Feb. 27, 2000, 48, 56.

 

"E-Commerce and Kitsch of Christmas Past," Boston Globe (Dec. 23, 1999), 11.

 

"Design Coup," Boston Sunday Globe Magazine, Your Home (Sept. 26, 1999), 5.

Fashion History Public Speaking and Gallery Talks

 

Guest Instructor and MFA Gallery Tour, Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Natick, MA.  Classroom slide lecture and gallery tour. Course created: Fashion and Art in the Time of Fauré's "Requiem."

 

Style For All. Cloud Place, Boston. 2011. Gallery talk/Book launch.

 

WorkWorkWorkWorkWork: The Art of Charles LeDray. Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, 2010. Gallery talk.

 

Hats and Fashion History, 1830-1930, Colonial Dames of Eastern MA, William Hickling Prescott House, Boston. May 2006. Lecture/gallery talk.

 

Chic Clicks: Creativity and Commerce in Contemporary Fashion Photography, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston: 2002. Lecture/gallery talk.

 

 

Fashion History Exhibitions

 

All for One and One for All! Uniforms in Fact and Fantasy, American Museum of Textile History, Lowell, MA: 2002. Design team.

 

À la Mode, 1795 to 1920, Fashion Plates from the Boston Public Library’s Department of Rare Books: 2001. Curated exhibition, wrote all exhibition text, and photographed all images for exhibition website.

 

A Life in Fashion: 1960-2000, Alfred Fiandaca Retrospective, Massachusetts College of Art: 2000. Wrote all exhibition text and researched images; oral history video interview of Alfred Fiandaca.

 

Dressing for Social Change: 1900 to 1925, Boston Public Library: 1999. Curated exhibition, selected garments, and wrote all exhibition text for historical costumes.

DIVA MUSEUM, 2009 to PRESENT

 

Website: DIVA Museum

 

 

Diva Consultant

 

Advisor to artistic staff and cast for OperaHub’s Diva opera Trunk Show! A Fashionable Fantasia of Women on the World Stage, premiering at the BCA in Boston June  21-July 1, 2018.

 

 

Author-Illustrator:  Notecards and Book

 

A Diva's Dozen, 1750-1914: 13 Singers Whose Genius Surmounted All Barriers and Made Them Immortal. 13-notecard set. DIVA Museum, 2013.

 

A Dazzle of Divas: 13 Singers Whose Genius Surmounted All Barriers and Made Them Immortal. 13-notecard set. DIVA Museum, 2014.  (Both notecard sets sold at Minnesota, Glimmerglass, and Santa Fe Opera shops.)

 

A Diva Story-Book: 26 Singers Whose Genius Surmounted All Barriers and Made Them Immortal..  DIVA Museum, 2014.

 

 

Producer: Video

 

Triumphant Women 8-Video Diva History Playlist

 

 

 

Producer:  Diva Salon in collaboration with performers

 

Feminism and Social Change in Song and Story: Lives and Music of Adelina Patti and Olive Fremstad, Community Music Center of Boston, March 2017.  With Chelsea Beatty and Patricia Au.

 

Bringing Her Back: Life and Music of Sissieretta Jones, November 2016.  With Arielle Rogers and Mathew Fehr.

 

 

Public Speaking

 

Triumphant Women: How Opera Divas Changed the World: 1700-1920

 

       All-Newton Music School, Nov. 2015.

       New England Opera Club, Nov. 2014, October 2017.

 

 

Courses

 

Triumphant Women: How Opera Divas Changed the World: 1700-1920.  Beacon Hill Seminars: 8 hours. March 2016, March 2015.

 

 

Museum Art and Performance: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Living Room Host

 

Divas à la Mode, 1700-1920, February 2017.

A Diva's Cabinet of Curiosities, December 2015.

 

 

Press

 

WGBH-News.com.  Before Women's Lib, Opera Divas Weighed Down By Diamonds And Haute Couture.

Interview by Amanda Kersey, February 2015.

 

BUSINESS HISTORIAN AND LAWYER, 1982-2001

 

Partner and Corporate Counsel, The Winthrop Group, Inc., Cambridge, MA: 1986 to 1997.

 

Assistant Attorney General, Government Bureau, Department of the Attorney General, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston, MA: 1984 to 1986.

 

Law Clerk, U.S. Magistrate, U.S. District Court, Boston, MA: 1982 to 1984.

Business History Publications and Exhibitions

 

 

Timexpo Museum, Waterbury, CT. Research and conceptualization team, 2001.

 

Timex: A Company and its Community, 1854-1998 (Middlebury, CT: Timex Corporation), 1998.

 

Buxton: A Century of Innovation, 1898 to 1998 (Springfield, MA: Buxton, Inc.), 1998.

 

Kinney Shoe Centennial Exhibit, Disney World, FL: 1995. Exhibition text panels.

 

Retail Revolutionary: Kinney Shoe Corporation’s First Century in Footwear (New York: Kinney Shoe Corporation), 1994.

 

The MetLife Archives Museum (New York: MetLife), 1994. Museum brochure and text panels.

 

The MetLife Archives Museum, New York, NY: 1994. Video oral histories of four MetLife chief executive officers deposited in MetLife Archives.

 

Underwriting America’s Success: 125 Years of Metropolitan Life, 1868-1993 (New York: MetLife), 1993.

 

Accounting for Success: A History of Price Waterhouse in America, 1890-1990 (Boston: Harvard Business School Press), 1993. With D. Allen.

 

The Competitive Advantage of Nations, D. Dyer and A.M. Webber, eds. 40-page magazine accompanying HBS professor Michael Porter’s four part video (Boston: Harvard Business School Management Productions), 1993. On writing team.

 

Time-Based Competition, D. Dyer and A.M. Webber, eds. 32-page magazine accompanying three part video (Boston: Harvard Business School Management Productions), 1993. On writing team.

 

America’s Paint Company: A History of Sherwin-Williams (Cleveland: Sherwin-Williams Corporation), 1991. With D. Dyer.

 

"Pressure on the Price Waterhouse Partnership: Decisions of the 1960s and Implications for Today," in Business and Economic History, Vol. 22 (Fall 1993), pp. 295-304.

 

"The Development of the Massachusetts District Courts: 1821-1922," 15 Historical Journal of Massachusetts (June 1987).

 

"Massachusetts, the Constitution, and the Supreme Court," 31 Boston Bar Journal (Sept./Oct. 1987). With T. A. Barnico.

 

EMPLOYMENT HISTORY

 

Instructor, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Graduate and Continuing Education Division, 1998 to present.  Courses created: Fashion and Society: America, 1750 to Present and Fashion and Art in the 20th Century.

 

Instructor, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island. Apparel Design Department, five years: 2005 through 2011.  Course created: History of Dress.

 

Partner and Corporate Counsel, The Winthrop Group, Inc., Cambridge, MA: 1986 to 1997.

 

Assistant Attorney General, Government Bureau, Department of the Attorney General, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston, MA: 1984 to 1986.

 

Law Clerk, U.S. Magistrate, U.S. District Court, Boston, MA: 1982 to 1984.

EDUCATION

 

School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; 30 courses in studio arts Diploma program, 1989 to present.

 

Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA: LL.M. Legal History, 1982.

 

School of Law and Jurisprudence, State University of New York at Buffalo: J.D., 1981.

 

Alfred University, Alfred, NY: Double B.A. in English Literature and European History, magna cum laude, 1978.

COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP

 

Board of Incorporators, Community Music Center of Boston, 2003 to present.

 

Chair, Bay Village Architectural Commission, 2017-2018; commissioner 2011 to present.

 

Executive Committee, Bay Village Neighborhood Association, 2001 to 2013.  Editor, The Bay Village News: 50 issues.