The global high fashion industry is a crucial site of cultural production. This course focuses on contemporary European and American high fashion to explore how clothes as well as bodies are produced and valued on the runways of New York, London, Milan and Paris. We will consider the roles and meanings of body and gender through the runway spectacle, taking the model’s laboring body as our point of departure. Drawing on a diverse array of popular and academic sources, this course places into dialogue the material and representational dimensions of high fashion. Critical and feminist literature will help us read recent films, autobiographies and journalistic accounts of high fashion that examine the industry from the inside. The course also incorporates psychology and psychoanalysis to enrich our discussions and student writing. Texts include Young’s On Female Body Experience , Bauman’s Wasted Lives , and Freud’s seminal 1917 essay, “Mourning and Melancholia”.