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Paula von WachenfeldtDocent

Om mig

Min forskning tar sig två inriktningar, den ena är historisk och den andra är samtida och båda utgår ifrån skriftliga samt visuella representationer av mode och lyx i samhället. Ur det första perspektivet har jag undersökt 1700-talets idéhistoriska föreställningar om lyx och dess betydelse för den franska samhällskulturen. Enligt samma tankegång har jag även studerat hur modet och lyxen blev en social praktik i det pre-revolutionära Frankrike samt deras viktiga koppling till kreditverksamheten.

I ett pågående forskningsprojekt undersöker jag hur modefenomenet kom att förknippas med det kvinnliga könet och detta genom att undersöka de första franska modetidningar som lanserades från 1770-talet och framåt. Projektet syftar till att se hur meningsproduktionen kring kvinnor och mode ägde rum i tryckta medier och hur det kan ha gett upphov till nya kvinnliga estetiska och moraliska ideal. Min grundhypotes är att redan från mitten av 1700-talet och framåt, nya sociala och kulturella förutsättningar i Frankrike banade väg för en kvinnlig modekonsumtion där modemedier spelade en avgörande roll. En granskning av den tidiga franska modepressen kan avslöja födelsen av en ny typ av social diskurs som fördes fram av tryckta medier. Dessa ska, enligt min mening, ha gett upphov till en ny könsuppdelad syn på konsumtion som lever kvar än idag.

Ur ett samtida perspektiv har jag fokuserat på hur sociala medier har tagit över rollen från traditionella pappersmedier för att fortsätta ingjuta identitetsskapande praktiker. Medieringen av varumärken tillsammans med en uppvisning av en slösaktig livsstil i digitala medier visar på lyxens spridning i samhället vilket i sin tur påverkar konsumenternas smak och estetiska preferenser. 

I samma anda har jag undersökt hur lyxmärken livnär sig på den myt som omgärdar deras varor. Denna myt förstärks ytterligare genom deras ständiga exponering i digitala kommunikationskanaler samtidigt som det urholkar den prestigefyllda auran som omger dem.

För närvarande är jag medredaktör till antologin Luxury Fashion and Media Communication: Between the Material and Immaterial som ges ut 2023 av förlaget Bloomsbury. Utmaningen för denna volym består i att visa dels hur lyxen i olika kommunikationskanaler lätt blir ett kroppsligt anspråk på individens rätt till nöjen, och dels hur lyxen har utvecklats som en omfattande och mytomspunnen global industri. 

 

Forskningsprojekt

Publikationer

I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas

  • The Mediation of Luxury Brands in Digital Storytelling

    2019. Paula von Wachenfeldt. Fashion theory

    Artikel

    This paper considers the mediation of luxury fashion brands in the digital storytelling of the social media account named The Rich Kids of Instagram. Since 2012, Instagram users have been encouraged to use the hashtag #rkoi so photos of a lavish lifestyle can be collected together. The conspicuous consumption of these affluent young people from different countries also became Channel 4’s six-episode reality TV show Rich Kids of Instagram. The Instagram accounts and the TV show displaying well-known luxury fashion pieces, splendid cars and private jets are the object of this study.

    The motivation for this investigation comes from the need to reevaluate the idea of luxury and its dissemination in contemporary digital media. As is frequently exposed in social media, and in this particular case on Instagram, we aim to examine the outcome of this display. We intend to argue that the represented world on Instagram and the subsequent TV show distorts the expected or the lived experience of luxury as something distinctive and unique, and turns it into a kitsch object. Drawing on Baudrillard’s approach to mass-media culture (1998), we view kitsch as a category that is not to be confused with the real object (in this respect, the luxury one), but understood as a “pseudo-object” that represents an “aesthetics of simulation” of the original.

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  • Communicating Seduction: Luxury Fashion Advertisements in Video Campaigns

    2018. Paula von Wachenfeldt. Studies in Communication Sciences 18 (2), 353-363

    Artikel

    This study examines the different themes of communication that take place in video ad campaigns deriving from the French luxury fashion houses Louis Vuitton, Dior, Chanel, Cartier and Hermès. By using semiology as a method we were able to recognize the themes of adventure, seduction, love and play in the videos. This study explores also how the myth becomes an important meaning-maker of the luxury commodity and fills it with sensations and pleasure. Unlike all other ads, we could see that the meaning of luxury in the Hermès’ ones was not directly connected to the objects per se but to the experience of human senses in contact with nature. We could further conclude that the visual communication of the ads has no need to be logical as long as it can seduce with its positive signs. The object of luxury constitutes a strong communication tool helping the viewer to discover new places, to fall in love, to create magic and to experience the amusement of play. Embedded in recognizable social narratives, the objects in the moving image are provided with a seductive meaning able to support the eternal myth of luxury.

    Läs mer om Communicating Seduction
  • The Myth of Luxury in a Fashion World

    2018. Paula von Wachenfeldt. Fashion, Style & Popular Culture 5 (3), 313-328

    Artikel

    If luxury is more relevant today it is perhaps due to its ubiquitous presence. This study examines the meaning of luxury and the myth that surrounds the exclusive goods. How do we classify luxury in relation to fashion? And how can we recognize a luxury item when most of the houses apply the same selling strategies as the ones of the fashion industry? A semiotic analysis of three luxury houses helps us to map out this blurry landscape and this by looking first at the sociocultural signs that are characteristic of a luxury brand, and second, by exploring today’s representations of luxury brands on the market. Findings indicate that the luxury label today can in reality only be restricted to a few houses while the myth of luxury is still trying to blow life in the consumer’s mind.

    Läs mer om The Myth of Luxury in a Fashion World
  • The Taste of the Good Life: Representations of Luxury in Swedish Media

    2016. Paula von Wachenfeldt. Luxury: History, Culture, Consumption 2 (2), 91-113

    Artikel

    Recognized as the welfare state with a protective social system based formerly on the idea of equality and concern, Sweden in the twenty-first century is undergoing a change in the attitude toward luxury consumption. This article examines the role of lifestyle magazines and social and visual media in creating idealized images that play on the idea of luxury. The discourse produced hereby indicates a remarkable change in the Swedish self-image and its approach to indulgence and excess.

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  • I lyxens tjänst: Borgerliga värderingar och ideal i den moderna tiden

    2015. Paula von Wachenfeldt. Det svenska begäret

    Kapitel
    Läs mer om I lyxens tjänst
  • I fiktionens gömmor döljer sig en modeskatt

    2013. Paula von Wachenfeldt. Parnass (1)

    Artikel

    Paula von Wachenfeldts artikel, I fiktionens gömmor döljer sig en modeskatt, är en av flera artiklar som på olika sätt berör hur kläder och utseende ger liv och karaktär åt litterära gestalter och hur författare genom historien har använt sig av mode för att definiera sina påhittade figurers sociala ställning, deras personlighet och deras politiska och estetiska värderingar.

    Läs mer om I fiktionens gömmor döljer sig en modeskatt
  • La fiction en doute: Le cas de La Petite Bijou de Patrick Modiano

    2008. Paula von Wachenfeldt. Moderna Språk 102 (2), 48-56

    Artikel
    Läs mer om La fiction en doute
  • Le paradis perdu et retrouvé: Étude de l'innocence et de la culpabilité dans l'oeuvre d'Albert Camus

    2003. Paula von Wachenfeldt.

    Avhandling (Dok)

    The aim of this dissertation is to investigate a recurrent idea that dominates the works of Albert Camus, namely the search for man’s innocence. A study of this notion, however, will to the same extent require an examination of guilt, since the signification of the first depends on the second and since both exist in Camus.

    The notion of innocence in Albert Camus’ works L’Étranger, Caligula, Le Malentendu, La Peste, La Chute, L’Exil et le Royaume, Les Justes and the posthumous novel Le Premier Homme appears in three different dimensions: ethical, theological and as a state of virginity. The first dimension refers to the state of the accused man who is not guilty of a given crime, the second represents the state of the first man before sin, according to Christian principles, and the third dimension is to be found particularly in the purity of a child and all acts beyond good and evil.

    Through an analysis of the novels, the plays and the short stories of Camus, it is possible to establish that all the main characters are struggling to find either their own innocence or mankind’s in general. However, their search collides with two different types of guilt, whose significance can be identified thanks to the definitions given by Paul Ricœur, namely ethical-legal (éthico-juridique) and psycho-theological (psycho-théologique) guilt. The first sense of this concept regards the connection between penalty and responsibility, while the second concerns the Christian consciousness of original sin. Moreover, it may be seen that the question of innocence in Camus strongly implicates the question of happiness which is clearly revealed in the plays Caligula and Le Malentendu. This investigation indicates that innocence and happiness belong together, i.e. to be happy “l’homme camusien” has to first feel his innocence.

    There is another crucial point observed in this thesis: the impact that the unfinished novel Le Premier Homme has on understanding Camus’ thought and all his previous production. For it is in this last, autobiographic novel that one can discover the source of all the needs that have been haunting his writing throughout his life. It is in Le Premier Homme in particular that the thirst for innocence investigated in this dissertation is finally extinguished. And this takes place via a return to the simplicity of the world of Camus’ childhood and the relationship to nature, beyond any philosophical or religious language.

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  • Jaget och föremålet: Föreställningar om lyx i reklamfilmer

    2021. Paula von Wachenfeldt. Modevetenskap. Perspektiv på mode, stil och estetik, 211-236

    Kapitel
    Läs mer om Jaget och föremålet
  • Rational Follies: Fashion, Luxury and Credit in Eighteenth-Century Paris

    2021. Paula von Wachenfeldt. Luxury, Fashion and The Early Modern Idea of Credit, 19-33

    Kapitel
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