Please upgrade your browser

For the best experience, you should upgrade your browser. Visit our accessibility page to view a list of supported browsers along with links to download the latest version.

Student Showcase Archive

Lucy Gundry

PhD Work

PhD work

Dress Sense: Haptic Aesthetics of the Dressed Body in the Contemporary Exhibition Space

Today dress is exhibited on transferable real and representational bodies: from model to mannequin to avatar. Dress in post-modernity represents a fragmented aesthetic extension of the self and body. Dress is also referred to as our ‘second skin’. We share an intensely sensory relationship with dress, as the material interface between our interior and exterior worlds experienced through touch.

The original context for dress is on the living body, but when body and dress are separated and dress is re-constructed on a mimetic body, as in the exhibition, what happens to dress? Current curatorial debates centre on ‘enlivening’ dress. My doctoral research will look into the debates that envision the way dress might ‘embody’ liveliness in the exhibition space, specifically looking at touch. When we enter a dress exhibition, we enter as a dressed body to view ‘other’ dressed bodies. How much of our own sense of being a living dressed body feeds into our ‘reading’ of the mimetic dressed body? What role does touch play?

In our daily lives we inhabit, consume and construct our identities around dress through touching the materiality of the object with our hands, eyes and imagination. Yet, when we enter the exhibition space we enter a code of conduct: Do Not Touch. My research investigates to what extent dress in the exhibition context can embody a sense of touch without physically touching, within a framework of phenomenological discourse. This is supported by observational and qualitative research data gathered from seminal dress exhibitions, interviews with curators and experiments exploring the haptic aesthetic relationship between the living and mimetic ‘dressed body’: viewer and viewed. 



  • Lucy Gundry
  • PhD


    School of Arts & Humanities


    Critical & Historical Studies, 2010–

  • Lucy Gundry is an associate lecturer in textile theory (University of the Arts, London), researcher and writer, contributing editorial and articles for the Journal of Textile Design Research and Practice and Textile: Journal of Cloth & Culture.

    Lucy has an (AHRC) MA in Museums and Contemporary Curating, specialising in dress, and degrees in Textile Art and History of Design.  Lucy has worked as pedagogic researcher (textiles/fashion) for University for the Creative Arts, as textile manager for Contemporary Applied Arts Gallery and in costume for television and film.