full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Lucy Clayton: The true power of a good outfit

Unscramble the Blue Letters

I'm going to talk about ptilcoail protest and papier mache. (Laughter) But for any of this to make sense, I first need to conesfs something to you, something that might not be oiovubs just by looking at me. My name's Lucy, and I'm a sensible grown-up. I work hard. I'm a decent mother and a responsible member of my community. But I much prefer dressing up as someone else. You see, I have always loevd fancy dress. And since this picture - (Laughter) But since this picture was taken, I've ramped things up a bit. I've commissioned made-to-measure armor from a workshop in the Ukraine, imported professional Hollywood blood. I've nurtured a collection of 36 tiaras. I've had a fake wdinedg, complete with fake bridesmaids, fake vicar, fake husband. I hospitalized myself once after an incident with a Roman toga and some very hot glue. (leatughr) And I once sent my son to school looking like this. (Laughter) Now, the kind of fancy dress that I love is not the same as cosplay with its discipline and immersiveness and accuracy. They're the real deal. But what I aorde is the peculiar eccentricity of cardboard cut-outs, dodgy sewing, stapled seams. It's kitchen-table couture. The for-one-night-only aepcst, falling into bed drunk and dcaend out and still wearing the face paint. And there's nothing disciplined about that. So in order to have more fancy dress in my life - because, honestly, it's awful - you can't do it in supermarkets or on average Wednesdays. So I created a podcast about it. The only podcast about fhosian, fantasy, and fancy dress. Or costumes, as they prefer to call it in the US. It's a place to explore the elaborate themes, intricacies, and influence of costume in real life. Because I'm interested in the distinction between the performative and the pnraseol. Ordinary plpeoe in eaxrritadrnoy ottuifs. And what struck me more than any other subject we've encountered on the show is the way people use costume as a tool for protest. Now, you might be thinking, "What does dressing up have to do with the itmranpot business of piilctos?" (Laughter) And it does seem counterintuitive. Why dress silly in order to be taken seriously? But from caped crusaders to modern suffragettes, people are getting creative with costume to express their outrage and garner global attention. And it's working. It's worth saying here that fashion is often treated as a flimsy, garnleely female dtotiirsacn from the real issues of the day, and despite being a three-trillion-dollar irntusdy, it's often marginalized or diesmissd in commentary about cunrert aaiffrs. And yet, every day each one of us uses what we wear as a tool for constructing our sense of self, for literally fashioning our identities. If fashion is considered foiuovrls, then fancy dress is really frivolous. Right? But actually, it allows us to express the most extreme version of ourselves. It allows us to be something other. Something in-between, something in development. And historically, it's always had a rlitnhoiseap with hot topics. Here's a gown by wrtoh worn by Mrs. Vanderbilt in 1883, representing the spirit of electricity. More recently, there's been a decidedly less beautiful trend for dressing as the Millennial's favorite, the avocado. (Laughter) Sorry. (Laughter) Over the years, facny dress has playfully depicted controversial memnots, from this matchgirl factory-strike dress to Urban Outfitter's Halloween "Influencer" costume. It's satire and disruption and provocation. So I'm going to take us beyond slogan T-shirts to look at the ways bonkers sbvvisruee garments are being used to take on the establishment. Here, we can see an anarchic continuity from gpuonwder plot through to Occupy Wall Street. These masks taken from the comic book "V for Vandetta," are used as a plbiuc face of the anonymous movement. They're a variation on a Guy Folks theme, and they hark back to ancient cvrialans and masquerades where the usual societal rules don't apply, and everything is temporarily topsy-turvy. Here, "Handmaid's Tale" costumes are appropriated for demonstrations against the turmp administration, and we saw a lot at the Kavanaugh hearings - taking a moment in ficotin from Margaret Atwood's 1985 dystopia, and applying it to a very current conflict, lines of silent, hlihgy visible women outside courtrooms and the ciapotl. Hilariously, later, in a complete mdgesmnjuit of the cultural mood, the retailer Yandy prompted wide-spread disgust when they lhcuaend a sexy version of the Handmaid. (Laughter) I don't think they'd read the novel. (Laughter) Elsewhere, the visual language of the suffragettes is borrowed from new battle, plupre for dignity, white for pruity, green for hope. Powerful Pantones and a pre-hashtag way of blnidiug momentum. Sentiments like "Same shit, different century" are rendered ever so lady-like. (Laughter) The campaign group fhaerts for Justice uses a range of costumes in their sttuns from Batman to Santa. Clear statements in a contentious debate. By using classic icons of good, by hijacking the visual grammar of superheroism, they're trying to ikvnoe an almost an instinctive, nostalgic, sympathetic response in the viewer. The Pink Pussyhat Project took a traditional domestic skill and rendered it the opposite of calm or comforting. This open-source kinnttig pattern, this moment of craftivism - originally conceived the people who wanted to march but couldn't - was qiclkuy embraced by women's activists all over the world. Sarah Mower celald it a global cheerful symbol of feminist defiance in bistrih Vogue, and it's considered so important a moment in fashion history that the V&A's btrlialilny titled Rapid Response Collection have already acquired one. Now, imagine if you took the costumes away in all these examples. If they were just standing there in jeans and anoraks. What does that do the osoccian, the ahromestpe, the news cycle? Each of these examples uses cultural rnneefcierg to make a statement without saying a word. It's free speech without seepch, the messages writ large on the body. And how do you express your flgieens about issues that are so cmopelx, so shifting, so delicate, so divvisie that sometimes luaangge eeulds even the very best of us? I just love her face in that picture. (Laughter) At a time when the words of experts are ridiculed and critics are trolled, when fake news rebrands truth as fiction, perhaps we need tools that are beyond language to securely assert our veuals. I think there's a link between fancy dress and aibtomin. It's why we love it growing up. You can be a ballet dancer and a firefighter, all in the same afternoon. But for the game to work, you have to do more than just put the clothes on. You need to aspire into those costumes. Fancy dress isn't just a tool to passively join in, but an opportunity to project our future selves, our heops. And I believe there's a relationship between the way we dress and how bvare we feel. I know that because it took me weeks to decide what to wear today. (Laughter) Perhaps, dressing up gives us courage to bahvee in ways we wouldn't otherwise. Here are some extreme illustrations of that. During the ariaemcn Civil War, Frances Clayton dressed as a male soldier, becoming Jack Williams. She fought with the Missouri Regiment in 17 battles before her identity was revealed. She used uniform first to disguise her gender, second as armor, a layering of costume that allowed her to elude the male gaze and instead train her eye to fgiht alongside them. Which, I wonder, was the more dungroeas? By winreag her warrior status, Frances was dressing up in order to be allowed in. A whole life born out of those clothes. The women of the 18th century often used the masquerades as an ooiuptnprty to elope or escape. Being masked and uacenhpnored gave them an unusual feoedrm, a slocialy sanctioned moment of disguise to pursue a life beyond the one ariescbd to them. The mask made them dangerous and daring. We know how extreme the psychology of this can be because the worst iaalgnmbie atrocities have been committed masked and in a kind of costume. A corrupt corauge. Cloaked and ciranmil. A group unietd as a clliinhg icon of hatred. cusmtoe isn't ilstrainnilcy innocent. And a disguise can free an innermost evil, too. Costume for unity can be seen in a completely different way here: where it says, "She is getting married, so we're having orinazegd compulsory fun." (Laughter) We've all been there. Or here, at the satte of the Union, where it says we are part of an eeproewmd tradition honoring the suffragettes' legacy. Simply put, when an activist puts their identity alongside a placard, they show that they, as an iidvdanuil, express a view. If they want to connect it with a wider movement, they can use a signifier, like the suffragette crools or the "hi-viz" vests of the fcnreh "Gilets jaunes." It's tbrail. Whereas in fancy dress, the costume subsumes the individual entirely into the view they're expressing. It's as if, bizarrely, when someone is concealed, their true values become completely visible. The aisrrnetg ptesort images I've shown you today, and of course there are many more, all, unequivocally, communicate collective hopes. By protesting in costume, these people are giving vcioe to their dratiomcec right to imagine a paitteonl future, to iinedfty with each other, and to eepsrxs their freedom. So costume has real potential to cahgnelle and confront, for distirpuon and dissent. By dressing outside ourselves, we trick the eye, attract the focus, demand recognition. We creatively tell the people in power that we're not comfortable cnmonrifog, that the collective issue is bigger than our personal perspective. Fancy dress is not bound by who you are or how you identify but by the message you want to embody. And those messages aren't constrained by the limits of your experience or your environment. Only by your imagination. And we have to iniagme our utopias before we can build them. It is imagination that sells thousands of cheap and cheerful Marilyn Monroe dresses every year. iimgintoaan that sends kids to school ccuhlintg hrary Potter wdans, and sales figures for grotesque rbebur presidential cdtindaae masks have correctly predicted U.S. election outcomes since Nixon. Isn't he handsome there? (Laughter) Unlike any other kind of getting dressed, fancy dress is fundamentally about infinite possibility. That's why we keep it alive, even when technology offers up far more sophisticated vehicles for experimenting or escapism. We still throw another party, hand down our treasured dressing-up boxes, those time capsules of ideas and interpretations. So if dressing together as one brilliant rainbow crew gives you a sense of strength and belonging, a patlete just about big enough to celebrate your pride, then use all the colors. Or if you wake up one morning thinking Brexit is a job for Wonderwoman ... (Laughter) you might be right. Or if you're mevod to rise up in sitiadlory in a crowd of pink hats that say in glorious, loving shorthand how your body is equal, how it is not there for grbnaibg, how it belongs fiercely to yourself, then get knitting. Just as children dnssreig as astronauts aren't trying out a future career, they're playing with an alternative reality. So we can use the freedom of fancy dsres to caniomtmuce an igmienad, better version of our lives. Because fancy dress says, "This tawdry reality isn't good enough for me." Think of it as dressing up for the job you want, not the job you have. Or for turning one night only into a blueprint for a maciagl tomorrow, too. Lets remember, fancy dress has a grown-up role to play beyond stag parties and Halloweens. Its principles even have a place at the State oneipng of Parliament and the State of the Union. From full get-up to subtle signifiers, this is about being emboldened. msisvae movements are born of micro demonstrations. Things that seem trivial or frivolous can be potent symbols of what you stand for, or what you won't stand for. There's real power in putnitg on those knitted ears, in choosing to wear a cape for good versus evil. Fancy dress has a ufniynig quality that we can use to fight for change, armed only with glue guns and goimptun. And if costume makes up braver, it gives us the courage to explore imaginative alternatives. The courage not just to turn up but to be noticed. So I hope we never grow out of it. Thank you. (Applause) (Cheers) (Whistles)

Open Cloze

I'm going to talk about _________ protest and papier mache. (Laughter) But for any of this to make sense, I first need to _______ something to you, something that might not be _______ just by looking at me. My name's Lucy, and I'm a sensible grown-up. I work hard. I'm a decent mother and a responsible member of my community. But I much prefer dressing up as someone else. You see, I have always _____ fancy dress. And since this picture - (Laughter) But since this picture was taken, I've ramped things up a bit. I've commissioned made-to-measure armor from a workshop in the Ukraine, imported professional Hollywood blood. I've nurtured a collection of 36 tiaras. I've had a fake _______, complete with fake bridesmaids, fake vicar, fake husband. I hospitalized myself once after an incident with a Roman toga and some very hot glue. (________) And I once sent my son to school looking like this. (Laughter) Now, the kind of fancy dress that I love is not the same as cosplay with its discipline and immersiveness and accuracy. They're the real deal. But what I _____ is the peculiar eccentricity of cardboard cut-outs, dodgy sewing, stapled seams. It's kitchen-table couture. The for-one-night-only ______, falling into bed drunk and ______ out and still wearing the face paint. And there's nothing disciplined about that. So in order to have more fancy dress in my life - because, honestly, it's awful - you can't do it in supermarkets or on average Wednesdays. So I created a podcast about it. The only podcast about _______, fantasy, and fancy dress. Or costumes, as they prefer to call it in the US. It's a place to explore the elaborate themes, intricacies, and influence of costume in real life. Because I'm interested in the distinction between the performative and the ________. Ordinary ______ in _____________ _______. And what struck me more than any other subject we've encountered on the show is the way people use costume as a tool for protest. Now, you might be thinking, "What does dressing up have to do with the _________ business of ________?" (Laughter) And it does seem counterintuitive. Why dress silly in order to be taken seriously? But from caped crusaders to modern suffragettes, people are getting creative with costume to express their outrage and garner global attention. And it's working. It's worth saying here that fashion is often treated as a flimsy, _________ female ___________ from the real issues of the day, and despite being a three-trillion-dollar ________, it's often marginalized or _________ in commentary about _______ _______. And yet, every day each one of us uses what we wear as a tool for constructing our sense of self, for literally fashioning our identities. If fashion is considered _________, then fancy dress is really frivolous. Right? But actually, it allows us to express the most extreme version of ourselves. It allows us to be something other. Something in-between, something in development. And historically, it's always had a ____________ with hot topics. Here's a gown by _____ worn by Mrs. Vanderbilt in 1883, representing the spirit of electricity. More recently, there's been a decidedly less beautiful trend for dressing as the Millennial's favorite, the avocado. (Laughter) Sorry. (Laughter) Over the years, _____ dress has playfully depicted controversial _______, from this matchgirl factory-strike dress to Urban Outfitter's Halloween "Influencer" costume. It's satire and disruption and provocation. So I'm going to take us beyond slogan T-shirts to look at the ways bonkers __________ garments are being used to take on the establishment. Here, we can see an anarchic continuity from _________ plot through to Occupy Wall Street. These masks taken from the comic book "V for Vandetta," are used as a ______ face of the anonymous movement. They're a variation on a Guy Folks theme, and they hark back to ancient _________ and masquerades where the usual societal rules don't apply, and everything is temporarily topsy-turvy. Here, "Handmaid's Tale" costumes are appropriated for demonstrations against the _____ administration, and we saw a lot at the Kavanaugh hearings - taking a moment in _______ from Margaret Atwood's 1985 dystopia, and applying it to a very current conflict, lines of silent, ______ visible women outside courtrooms and the _______. Hilariously, later, in a complete ___________ of the cultural mood, the retailer Yandy prompted wide-spread disgust when they ________ a sexy version of the Handmaid. (Laughter) I don't think they'd read the novel. (Laughter) Elsewhere, the visual language of the suffragettes is borrowed from new battle, ______ for dignity, white for ______, green for hope. Powerful Pantones and a pre-hashtag way of ________ momentum. Sentiments like "Same shit, different century" are rendered ever so lady-like. (Laughter) The campaign group _______ for Justice uses a range of costumes in their ______ from Batman to Santa. Clear statements in a contentious debate. By using classic icons of good, by hijacking the visual grammar of superheroism, they're trying to ______ an almost an instinctive, nostalgic, sympathetic response in the viewer. The Pink Pussyhat Project took a traditional domestic skill and rendered it the opposite of calm or comforting. This open-source ________ pattern, this moment of craftivism - originally conceived the people who wanted to march but couldn't - was _______ embraced by women's activists all over the world. Sarah Mower ______ it a global cheerful symbol of feminist defiance in _______ Vogue, and it's considered so important a moment in fashion history that the V&A's ___________ titled Rapid Response Collection have already acquired one. Now, imagine if you took the costumes away in all these examples. If they were just standing there in jeans and anoraks. What does that do the ________, the __________, the news cycle? Each of these examples uses cultural ___________ to make a statement without saying a word. It's free speech without ______, the messages writ large on the body. And how do you express your ________ about issues that are so _______, so shifting, so delicate, so ________ that sometimes ________ ______ even the very best of us? I just love her face in that picture. (Laughter) At a time when the words of experts are ridiculed and critics are trolled, when fake news rebrands truth as fiction, perhaps we need tools that are beyond language to securely assert our ______. I think there's a link between fancy dress and ________. It's why we love it growing up. You can be a ballet dancer and a firefighter, all in the same afternoon. But for the game to work, you have to do more than just put the clothes on. You need to aspire into those costumes. Fancy dress isn't just a tool to passively join in, but an opportunity to project our future selves, our _____. And I believe there's a relationship between the way we dress and how _____ we feel. I know that because it took me weeks to decide what to wear today. (Laughter) Perhaps, dressing up gives us courage to ______ in ways we wouldn't otherwise. Here are some extreme illustrations of that. During the ________ Civil War, Frances Clayton dressed as a male soldier, becoming Jack Williams. She fought with the Missouri Regiment in 17 battles before her identity was revealed. She used uniform first to disguise her gender, second as armor, a layering of costume that allowed her to elude the male gaze and instead train her eye to _____ alongside them. Which, I wonder, was the more _________? By _______ her warrior status, Frances was dressing up in order to be allowed in. A whole life born out of those clothes. The women of the 18th century often used the masquerades as an ___________ to elope or escape. Being masked and ____________ gave them an unusual _______, a ________ sanctioned moment of disguise to pursue a life beyond the one ________ to them. The mask made them dangerous and daring. We know how extreme the psychology of this can be because the worst __________ atrocities have been committed masked and in a kind of costume. A corrupt _______. Cloaked and ________. A group ______ as a ________ icon of hatred. _______ isn't _____________ innocent. And a disguise can free an innermost evil, too. Costume for unity can be seen in a completely different way here: where it says, "She is getting married, so we're having _________ compulsory fun." (Laughter) We've all been there. Or here, at the _____ of the Union, where it says we are part of an _________ tradition honoring the suffragettes' legacy. Simply put, when an activist puts their identity alongside a placard, they show that they, as an __________, express a view. If they want to connect it with a wider movement, they can use a signifier, like the suffragette ______ or the "hi-viz" vests of the ______ "Gilets jaunes." It's ______. Whereas in fancy dress, the costume subsumes the individual entirely into the view they're expressing. It's as if, bizarrely, when someone is concealed, their true values become completely visible. The _________ _______ images I've shown you today, and of course there are many more, all, unequivocally, communicate collective hopes. By protesting in costume, these people are giving _____ to their __________ right to imagine a _________ future, to ________ with each other, and to _______ their freedom. So costume has real potential to _________ and confront, for __________ and dissent. By dressing outside ourselves, we trick the eye, attract the focus, demand recognition. We creatively tell the people in power that we're not comfortable __________, that the collective issue is bigger than our personal perspective. Fancy dress is not bound by who you are or how you identify but by the message you want to embody. And those messages aren't constrained by the limits of your experience or your environment. Only by your imagination. And we have to _______ our utopias before we can build them. It is imagination that sells thousands of cheap and cheerful Marilyn Monroe dresses every year. ___________ that sends kids to school _________ _____ Potter _____, and sales figures for grotesque ______ presidential _________ masks have correctly predicted U.S. election outcomes since Nixon. Isn't he handsome there? (Laughter) Unlike any other kind of getting dressed, fancy dress is fundamentally about infinite possibility. That's why we keep it alive, even when technology offers up far more sophisticated vehicles for experimenting or escapism. We still throw another party, hand down our treasured dressing-up boxes, those time capsules of ideas and interpretations. So if dressing together as one brilliant rainbow crew gives you a sense of strength and belonging, a _______ just about big enough to celebrate your pride, then use all the colors. Or if you wake up one morning thinking Brexit is a job for Wonderwoman ... (Laughter) you might be right. Or if you're _____ to rise up in __________ in a crowd of pink hats that say in glorious, loving shorthand how your body is equal, how it is not there for ________, how it belongs fiercely to yourself, then get knitting. Just as children ________ as astronauts aren't trying out a future career, they're playing with an alternative reality. So we can use the freedom of fancy _____ to ___________ an ________, better version of our lives. Because fancy dress says, "This tawdry reality isn't good enough for me." Think of it as dressing up for the job you want, not the job you have. Or for turning one night only into a blueprint for a _______ tomorrow, too. Lets remember, fancy dress has a grown-up role to play beyond stag parties and Halloweens. Its principles even have a place at the State _______ of Parliament and the State of the Union. From full get-up to subtle signifiers, this is about being emboldened. _______ movements are born of micro demonstrations. Things that seem trivial or frivolous can be potent symbols of what you stand for, or what you won't stand for. There's real power in _______ on those knitted ears, in choosing to wear a cape for good versus evil. Fancy dress has a ________ quality that we can use to fight for change, armed only with glue guns and ________. And if costume makes up braver, it gives us the courage to explore imaginative alternatives. The courage not just to turn up but to be noticed. So I hope we never grow out of it. Thank you. (Applause) (Cheers) (Whistles)

Solution

  1. unifying
  2. affairs
  3. politics
  4. imagination
  5. democratic
  6. grabbing
  7. putting
  8. unchaperoned
  9. french
  10. political
  11. occasion
  12. language
  13. united
  14. hopes
  15. identify
  16. launched
  17. individual
  18. divisive
  19. outfits
  20. magical
  21. knitting
  22. massive
  23. current
  24. imaginable
  25. distraction
  26. dismissed
  27. candidate
  28. freedom
  29. arresting
  30. loved
  31. referencing
  32. subversive
  33. fight
  34. colors
  35. fathers
  36. chilling
  37. personal
  38. eludes
  39. danced
  40. invoke
  41. moments
  42. complex
  43. relationship
  44. highly
  45. ascribed
  46. purity
  47. wedding
  48. speech
  49. fancy
  50. stunts
  51. generally
  52. brilliantly
  53. disruption
  54. aspect
  55. important
  56. feelings
  57. protest
  58. capitol
  59. worth
  60. brave
  61. communicate
  62. palette
  63. state
  64. dangerous
  65. purple
  66. imagine
  67. extraordinary
  68. costume
  69. wands
  70. obvious
  71. trump
  72. frivolous
  73. wearing
  74. moved
  75. empowered
  76. quickly
  77. confess
  78. voice
  79. gumption
  80. express
  81. people
  82. adore
  83. fashion
  84. public
  85. building
  86. harry
  87. misjudgment
  88. industry
  89. courage
  90. laughter
  91. opportunity
  92. organized
  93. intrinsically
  94. called
  95. potential
  96. gunpowder
  97. opening
  98. carnivals
  99. british
  100. atmosphere
  101. solidarity
  102. conforming
  103. criminal
  104. challenge
  105. behave
  106. ambition
  107. fiction
  108. clutching
  109. american
  110. dressing
  111. tribal
  112. rubber
  113. imagined
  114. socially
  115. values
  116. dress

Original Text

I'm going to talk about political protest and papier mache. (Laughter) But for any of this to make sense, I first need to confess something to you, something that might not be obvious just by looking at me. My name's Lucy, and I'm a sensible grown-up. I work hard. I'm a decent mother and a responsible member of my community. But I much prefer dressing up as someone else. You see, I have always loved fancy dress. And since this picture - (Laughter) But since this picture was taken, I've ramped things up a bit. I've commissioned made-to-measure armor from a workshop in the Ukraine, imported professional Hollywood blood. I've nurtured a collection of 36 tiaras. I've had a fake wedding, complete with fake bridesmaids, fake vicar, fake husband. I hospitalized myself once after an incident with a Roman toga and some very hot glue. (Laughter) And I once sent my son to school looking like this. (Laughter) Now, the kind of fancy dress that I love is not the same as cosplay with its discipline and immersiveness and accuracy. They're the real deal. But what I adore is the peculiar eccentricity of cardboard cut-outs, dodgy sewing, stapled seams. It's kitchen-table couture. The for-one-night-only aspect, falling into bed drunk and danced out and still wearing the face paint. And there's nothing disciplined about that. So in order to have more fancy dress in my life - because, honestly, it's awful - you can't do it in supermarkets or on average Wednesdays. So I created a podcast about it. The only podcast about fashion, fantasy, and fancy dress. Or costumes, as they prefer to call it in the US. It's a place to explore the elaborate themes, intricacies, and influence of costume in real life. Because I'm interested in the distinction between the performative and the personal. Ordinary people in extraordinary outfits. And what struck me more than any other subject we've encountered on the show is the way people use costume as a tool for protest. Now, you might be thinking, "What does dressing up have to do with the important business of politics?" (Laughter) And it does seem counterintuitive. Why dress silly in order to be taken seriously? But from caped crusaders to modern suffragettes, people are getting creative with costume to express their outrage and garner global attention. And it's working. It's worth saying here that fashion is often treated as a flimsy, generally female distraction from the real issues of the day, and despite being a three-trillion-dollar industry, it's often marginalized or dismissed in commentary about current affairs. And yet, every day each one of us uses what we wear as a tool for constructing our sense of self, for literally fashioning our identities. If fashion is considered frivolous, then fancy dress is really frivolous. Right? But actually, it allows us to express the most extreme version of ourselves. It allows us to be something other. Something in-between, something in development. And historically, it's always had a relationship with hot topics. Here's a gown by Worth worn by Mrs. Vanderbilt in 1883, representing the spirit of electricity. More recently, there's been a decidedly less beautiful trend for dressing as the Millennial's favorite, the avocado. (Laughter) Sorry. (Laughter) Over the years, fancy dress has playfully depicted controversial moments, from this matchgirl factory-strike dress to Urban Outfitter's Halloween "Influencer" costume. It's satire and disruption and provocation. So I'm going to take us beyond slogan T-shirts to look at the ways bonkers subversive garments are being used to take on the establishment. Here, we can see an anarchic continuity from gunpowder plot through to Occupy Wall Street. These masks taken from the comic book "V for Vandetta," are used as a public face of the anonymous movement. They're a variation on a Guy Folks theme, and they hark back to ancient carnivals and masquerades where the usual societal rules don't apply, and everything is temporarily topsy-turvy. Here, "Handmaid's Tale" costumes are appropriated for demonstrations against the Trump administration, and we saw a lot at the Kavanaugh hearings - taking a moment in fiction from Margaret Atwood's 1985 dystopia, and applying it to a very current conflict, lines of silent, highly visible women outside courtrooms and the Capitol. Hilariously, later, in a complete misjudgment of the cultural mood, the retailer Yandy prompted wide-spread disgust when they launched a sexy version of the Handmaid. (Laughter) I don't think they'd read the novel. (Laughter) Elsewhere, the visual language of the suffragettes is borrowed from new battle, purple for dignity, white for purity, green for hope. Powerful Pantones and a pre-hashtag way of building momentum. Sentiments like "Same shit, different century" are rendered ever so lady-like. (Laughter) The campaign group Fathers for Justice uses a range of costumes in their stunts from Batman to Santa. Clear statements in a contentious debate. By using classic icons of good, by hijacking the visual grammar of superheroism, they're trying to invoke an almost an instinctive, nostalgic, sympathetic response in the viewer. The Pink Pussyhat Project took a traditional domestic skill and rendered it the opposite of calm or comforting. This open-source knitting pattern, this moment of craftivism - originally conceived the people who wanted to march but couldn't - was quickly embraced by women's activists all over the world. Sarah Mower called it a global cheerful symbol of feminist defiance in British Vogue, and it's considered so important a moment in fashion history that the V&A's brilliantly titled Rapid Response Collection have already acquired one. Now, imagine if you took the costumes away in all these examples. If they were just standing there in jeans and anoraks. What does that do the occasion, the atmosphere, the news cycle? Each of these examples uses cultural referencing to make a statement without saying a word. It's free speech without speech, the messages writ large on the body. And how do you express your feelings about issues that are so complex, so shifting, so delicate, so divisive that sometimes language eludes even the very best of us? I just love her face in that picture. (Laughter) At a time when the words of experts are ridiculed and critics are trolled, when fake news rebrands truth as fiction, perhaps we need tools that are beyond language to securely assert our values. I think there's a link between fancy dress and ambition. It's why we love it growing up. You can be a ballet dancer and a firefighter, all in the same afternoon. But for the game to work, you have to do more than just put the clothes on. You need to aspire into those costumes. Fancy dress isn't just a tool to passively join in, but an opportunity to project our future selves, our hopes. And I believe there's a relationship between the way we dress and how brave we feel. I know that because it took me weeks to decide what to wear today. (Laughter) Perhaps, dressing up gives us courage to behave in ways we wouldn't otherwise. Here are some extreme illustrations of that. During the American Civil War, Frances Clayton dressed as a male soldier, becoming Jack Williams. She fought with the Missouri Regiment in 17 battles before her identity was revealed. She used uniform first to disguise her gender, second as armor, a layering of costume that allowed her to elude the male gaze and instead train her eye to fight alongside them. Which, I wonder, was the more dangerous? By wearing her warrior status, Frances was dressing up in order to be allowed in. A whole life born out of those clothes. The women of the 18th century often used the masquerades as an opportunity to elope or escape. Being masked and unchaperoned gave them an unusual freedom, a socially sanctioned moment of disguise to pursue a life beyond the one ascribed to them. The mask made them dangerous and daring. We know how extreme the psychology of this can be because the worst imaginable atrocities have been committed masked and in a kind of costume. A corrupt courage. Cloaked and criminal. A group united as a chilling icon of hatred. Costume isn't intrinsically innocent. And a disguise can free an innermost evil, too. Costume for unity can be seen in a completely different way here: where it says, "She is getting married, so we're having organized compulsory fun." (Laughter) We've all been there. Or here, at the State of the Union, where it says we are part of an empowered tradition honoring the suffragettes' legacy. Simply put, when an activist puts their identity alongside a placard, they show that they, as an individual, express a view. If they want to connect it with a wider movement, they can use a signifier, like the suffragette colors or the "hi-viz" vests of the French "Gilets jaunes." It's tribal. Whereas in fancy dress, the costume subsumes the individual entirely into the view they're expressing. It's as if, bizarrely, when someone is concealed, their true values become completely visible. The arresting protest images I've shown you today, and of course there are many more, all, unequivocally, communicate collective hopes. By protesting in costume, these people are giving voice to their democratic right to imagine a potential future, to identify with each other, and to express their freedom. So costume has real potential to challenge and confront, for disruption and dissent. By dressing outside ourselves, we trick the eye, attract the focus, demand recognition. We creatively tell the people in power that we're not comfortable conforming, that the collective issue is bigger than our personal perspective. Fancy dress is not bound by who you are or how you identify but by the message you want to embody. And those messages aren't constrained by the limits of your experience or your environment. Only by your imagination. And we have to imagine our utopias before we can build them. It is imagination that sells thousands of cheap and cheerful Marilyn Monroe dresses every year. Imagination that sends kids to school clutching Harry Potter wands, and sales figures for grotesque rubber presidential candidate masks have correctly predicted U.S. election outcomes since Nixon. Isn't he handsome there? (Laughter) Unlike any other kind of getting dressed, fancy dress is fundamentally about infinite possibility. That's why we keep it alive, even when technology offers up far more sophisticated vehicles for experimenting or escapism. We still throw another party, hand down our treasured dressing-up boxes, those time capsules of ideas and interpretations. So if dressing together as one brilliant rainbow crew gives you a sense of strength and belonging, a palette just about big enough to celebrate your pride, then use all the colors. Or if you wake up one morning thinking Brexit is a job for Wonderwoman ... (Laughter) you might be right. Or if you're moved to rise up in solidarity in a crowd of pink hats that say in glorious, loving shorthand how your body is equal, how it is not there for grabbing, how it belongs fiercely to yourself, then get knitting. Just as children dressing as astronauts aren't trying out a future career, they're playing with an alternative reality. So we can use the freedom of fancy dress to communicate an imagined, better version of our lives. Because fancy dress says, "This tawdry reality isn't good enough for me." Think of it as dressing up for the job you want, not the job you have. Or for turning one night only into a blueprint for a magical tomorrow, too. Lets remember, fancy dress has a grown-up role to play beyond stag parties and Halloweens. Its principles even have a place at the State Opening of Parliament and the State of the Union. From full get-up to subtle signifiers, this is about being emboldened. Massive movements are born of micro demonstrations. Things that seem trivial or frivolous can be potent symbols of what you stand for, or what you won't stand for. There's real power in putting on those knitted ears, in choosing to wear a cape for good versus evil. Fancy dress has a unifying quality that we can use to fight for change, armed only with glue guns and gumption. And if costume makes up braver, it gives us the courage to explore imaginative alternatives. The courage not just to turn up but to be noticed. So I hope we never grow out of it. Thank you. (Applause) (Cheers) (Whistles)

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
fancy dress 14

Important Words

  1. accuracy
  2. acquired
  3. activist
  4. activists
  5. administration
  6. adore
  7. affairs
  8. afternoon
  9. alive
  10. allowed
  11. alternative
  12. alternatives
  13. ambition
  14. american
  15. anarchic
  16. ancient
  17. anonymous
  18. anoraks
  19. applause
  20. apply
  21. applying
  22. appropriated
  23. armed
  24. armor
  25. arresting
  26. ascribed
  27. aspect
  28. aspire
  29. assert
  30. astronauts
  31. atmosphere
  32. atrocities
  33. attention
  34. attract
  35. average
  36. avocado
  37. awful
  38. ballet
  39. batman
  40. battle
  41. battles
  42. beautiful
  43. bed
  44. behave
  45. belonging
  46. belongs
  47. big
  48. bigger
  49. bit
  50. bizarrely
  51. blood
  52. blueprint
  53. body
  54. bonkers
  55. book
  56. born
  57. borrowed
  58. bound
  59. boxes
  60. brave
  61. braver
  62. brexit
  63. bridesmaids
  64. brilliant
  65. brilliantly
  66. british
  67. build
  68. building
  69. business
  70. call
  71. called
  72. calm
  73. campaign
  74. candidate
  75. cape
  76. caped
  77. capitol
  78. capsules
  79. cardboard
  80. career
  81. carnivals
  82. celebrate
  83. century
  84. challenge
  85. change
  86. cheap
  87. cheerful
  88. cheers
  89. children
  90. chilling
  91. choosing
  92. civil
  93. classic
  94. clayton
  95. clear
  96. cloaked
  97. clothes
  98. clutching
  99. collection
  100. collective
  101. colors
  102. comfortable
  103. comforting
  104. comic
  105. commentary
  106. commissioned
  107. committed
  108. communicate
  109. community
  110. complete
  111. completely
  112. complex
  113. compulsory
  114. concealed
  115. conceived
  116. confess
  117. conflict
  118. conforming
  119. confront
  120. connect
  121. considered
  122. constrained
  123. constructing
  124. contentious
  125. continuity
  126. controversial
  127. correctly
  128. corrupt
  129. cosplay
  130. costume
  131. costumes
  132. counterintuitive
  133. courage
  134. courtrooms
  135. couture
  136. craftivism
  137. created
  138. creative
  139. creatively
  140. crew
  141. criminal
  142. critics
  143. crowd
  144. crusaders
  145. cultural
  146. current
  147. cycle
  148. danced
  149. dancer
  150. dangerous
  151. daring
  152. day
  153. deal
  154. debate
  155. decent
  156. decide
  157. decidedly
  158. defiance
  159. delicate
  160. demand
  161. democratic
  162. demonstrations
  163. depicted
  164. development
  165. dignity
  166. discipline
  167. disciplined
  168. disguise
  169. disgust
  170. dismissed
  171. disruption
  172. dissent
  173. distinction
  174. distraction
  175. divisive
  176. dodgy
  177. domestic
  178. dress
  179. dressed
  180. dresses
  181. dressing
  182. drunk
  183. dystopia
  184. ears
  185. eccentricity
  186. elaborate
  187. election
  188. electricity
  189. elope
  190. elude
  191. eludes
  192. embody
  193. emboldened
  194. embraced
  195. empowered
  196. encountered
  197. environment
  198. equal
  199. escape
  200. escapism
  201. establishment
  202. evil
  203. examples
  204. experience
  205. experimenting
  206. experts
  207. explore
  208. express
  209. expressing
  210. extraordinary
  211. extreme
  212. eye
  213. face
  214. fake
  215. falling
  216. fancy
  217. fantasy
  218. fashion
  219. fashioning
  220. fathers
  221. favorite
  222. feel
  223. feelings
  224. female
  225. feminist
  226. fiction
  227. fiercely
  228. fight
  229. figures
  230. firefighter
  231. flimsy
  232. focus
  233. folks
  234. fought
  235. frances
  236. free
  237. freedom
  238. french
  239. frivolous
  240. full
  241. fun
  242. fundamentally
  243. future
  244. game
  245. garments
  246. garner
  247. gave
  248. gaze
  249. gender
  250. generally
  251. giving
  252. global
  253. glorious
  254. glue
  255. good
  256. gown
  257. grabbing
  258. grammar
  259. green
  260. grotesque
  261. group
  262. grow
  263. growing
  264. gumption
  265. gunpowder
  266. guns
  267. guy
  268. halloween
  269. halloweens
  270. hand
  271. handmaid
  272. handsome
  273. hard
  274. hark
  275. harry
  276. hatred
  277. hats
  278. hearings
  279. highly
  280. hijacking
  281. hilariously
  282. historically
  283. history
  284. hollywood
  285. honestly
  286. honoring
  287. hope
  288. hopes
  289. hospitalized
  290. hot
  291. husband
  292. icon
  293. icons
  294. ideas
  295. identify
  296. identities
  297. identity
  298. illustrations
  299. images
  300. imaginable
  301. imagination
  302. imaginative
  303. imagine
  304. imagined
  305. immersiveness
  306. important
  307. imported
  308. incident
  309. individual
  310. industry
  311. infinite
  312. influence
  313. innermost
  314. innocent
  315. instinctive
  316. interested
  317. interpretations
  318. intricacies
  319. intrinsically
  320. invoke
  321. issue
  322. issues
  323. jack
  324. jaunes
  325. jeans
  326. job
  327. join
  328. justice
  329. kavanaugh
  330. kids
  331. kind
  332. knitted
  333. knitting
  334. language
  335. large
  336. laughter
  337. launched
  338. layering
  339. legacy
  340. lets
  341. life
  342. limits
  343. lines
  344. link
  345. literally
  346. lives
  347. lot
  348. love
  349. loved
  350. loving
  351. lucy
  352. mache
  353. magical
  354. male
  355. march
  356. margaret
  357. marginalized
  358. marilyn
  359. married
  360. mask
  361. masked
  362. masks
  363. masquerades
  364. massive
  365. matchgirl
  366. member
  367. message
  368. messages
  369. micro
  370. misjudgment
  371. missouri
  372. modern
  373. moment
  374. moments
  375. momentum
  376. monroe
  377. mood
  378. morning
  379. mother
  380. moved
  381. movement
  382. movements
  383. mower
  384. news
  385. night
  386. nixon
  387. nostalgic
  388. noticed
  389. nurtured
  390. obvious
  391. occasion
  392. occupy
  393. offers
  394. opening
  395. opportunity
  396. order
  397. ordinary
  398. organized
  399. originally
  400. outcomes
  401. outfits
  402. outrage
  403. paint
  404. palette
  405. pantones
  406. papier
  407. parliament
  408. part
  409. parties
  410. party
  411. passively
  412. pattern
  413. peculiar
  414. people
  415. performative
  416. personal
  417. perspective
  418. picture
  419. pink
  420. placard
  421. place
  422. play
  423. playfully
  424. playing
  425. plot
  426. podcast
  427. political
  428. politics
  429. possibility
  430. potent
  431. potential
  432. potter
  433. power
  434. powerful
  435. predicted
  436. prefer
  437. presidential
  438. pride
  439. principles
  440. professional
  441. project
  442. prompted
  443. protest
  444. protesting
  445. provocation
  446. psychology
  447. public
  448. purity
  449. purple
  450. pursue
  451. pussyhat
  452. put
  453. puts
  454. putting
  455. quality
  456. quickly
  457. rainbow
  458. ramped
  459. range
  460. rapid
  461. read
  462. real
  463. reality
  464. rebrands
  465. recognition
  466. referencing
  467. regiment
  468. relationship
  469. remember
  470. rendered
  471. representing
  472. response
  473. responsible
  474. retailer
  475. revealed
  476. ridiculed
  477. rise
  478. role
  479. roman
  480. rubber
  481. rules
  482. sales
  483. sanctioned
  484. santa
  485. sarah
  486. satire
  487. school
  488. seams
  489. securely
  490. sells
  491. sends
  492. sense
  493. sentiments
  494. sewing
  495. sexy
  496. shifting
  497. shit
  498. shorthand
  499. show
  500. shown
  501. signifier
  502. signifiers
  503. silent
  504. silly
  505. simply
  506. skill
  507. slogan
  508. socially
  509. societal
  510. soldier
  511. solidarity
  512. son
  513. sophisticated
  514. speech
  515. spirit
  516. stag
  517. stand
  518. standing
  519. stapled
  520. state
  521. statement
  522. statements
  523. status
  524. street
  525. strength
  526. struck
  527. stunts
  528. subject
  529. subsumes
  530. subtle
  531. subversive
  532. suffragette
  533. suffragettes
  534. superheroism
  535. supermarkets
  536. symbol
  537. symbols
  538. sympathetic
  539. talk
  540. tawdry
  541. technology
  542. temporarily
  543. theme
  544. themes
  545. thinking
  546. thousands
  547. throw
  548. tiaras
  549. time
  550. titled
  551. today
  552. toga
  553. tomorrow
  554. tool
  555. tools
  556. topics
  557. tradition
  558. traditional
  559. train
  560. treasured
  561. treated
  562. trend
  563. tribal
  564. trick
  565. trivial
  566. trolled
  567. true
  568. trump
  569. truth
  570. turn
  571. turning
  572. ukraine
  573. unchaperoned
  574. unequivocally
  575. uniform
  576. unifying
  577. union
  578. united
  579. unity
  580. unusual
  581. urban
  582. usual
  583. utopias
  584. values
  585. vanderbilt
  586. vandetta
  587. variation
  588. vehicles
  589. version
  590. vests
  591. vicar
  592. view
  593. viewer
  594. visible
  595. visual
  596. vogue
  597. voice
  598. wake
  599. wall
  600. wands
  601. wanted
  602. war
  603. warrior
  604. ways
  605. wear
  606. wearing
  607. wedding
  608. wednesdays
  609. weeks
  610. whistles
  611. white
  612. wider
  613. williams
  614. women
  615. wonderwoman
  616. word
  617. words
  618. work
  619. working
  620. workshop
  621. world
  622. worn
  623. worst
  624. worth
  625. writ
  626. yandy
  627. year
  628. years