Cleopatra: Fact to Fiction, From Film to Fashion

LIM College

Amanda Hallay is a professor of fashion and cultural history at LIM College, a consultant for the Museo de la Moda in Santiago, Chile, and a consultant for the movie, TV, and gaming industries. She was formerly the European Trend Analyst for The Doneger Group, the International Fashion Editor for Couture and Men Mode magazines, and the Paris correspondent for International Textiles.

 

Overview

Cleopatra: Queen of the Nile. Cleopatra: Egypt’s last great pharaoh. Cleopatra: feminist icon of the ancient world, or hedonistic harlot who ended an empire? Synonymous with pyramids, temples, hieroglyphs, and a lot of gold jewelry, every cliché associated with Ancient Egypt has found its place in the myth of Cleopatra. In reality, the woman herself lived two thousand years after the last pyramid was built. And, as a Ptolemaic Greek with both political and romantic attachments to Rome, Cleopatra most probably dressed not in the black wigs and gold headdresses we associate with her filmic depictions, but in the Greco-Roman style of the period.

Yet herein lies the magic of Cleopatra. The political maneuvers of her life are well documented, but the woman herself remains something of a mystery, thus making her an ideal blank screen on which to project whatever we want her to be. From Shakespeare’s tragic heroine to Elizabeth Taylor’s decadent diva, every era has its “own” Cleopatra–and in her we find the societal concerns and aesthetic ideas of its zeitgeist.  In this talk, costume and cultural historian Amanda Hallay discusses varying interpretations of the ancient world’s most glamorized ruler, and how she would become history’s distorted mirror upon which to reflect its own image.

 

 

Reviews

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Ron Bernstein

Very engaging and informative!

I had very little interest in the title, but know enough about ODU and its terrific stable of presenters that I should tune in. So glad I did! Great presenter, who was wonderful, informative and entertaining!

8 months ago
Richard Eadie

Great Presentation

I began a review a short time ago, but I must have hit the wrong letter and it disappeared. This can either be the end of the previous review or maybe it will be the only one from me. In any event, I enjoyed to presentation very much, very interesting and fun to listen to. Thanks!

7 months ago
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