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Phantom Threads: Haute Couture in the Philippine Camelot of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos

Thursday, November 2, 2023 at 12:20pm

Rockefeller Hall, 374
Central Campus

Gatty Lecture Series

Join us for a talk by Talitha Espiritu, (Associate Professor of Film and New Media, Wheaton College), who will discuss the myth-making of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos’ conjugal dictatorship in the Philippines.

This Gatty Lecture will take place at the Rockefeller Hall 374. Lunch will be served, and this event is co-sponsored by the Department of Performing and Media Arts. For questions, contact

About the Talk

My talk will explore the sartorial in the myth-making of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos’ conjugal dictatorship in the Philippines (1965-1986). I will focus on fashion designer Christian Espiritu, Imelda Marcos’ chief couturier, who created her iconic image dressed in the Philippine terno, the traditional women’s formal wear, which she wore in all her state visits and state events. I will reconstruct and unpack the elevation of the terno into a state sign and the creative input of fashion designers in the public culture and cultural policy of the dictatorship.

About the Speaker

Talitha Espiritu teaches in the Film and New Media department at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, where she also co-chairs the college’s Diversity, Equity and Access Leadership Team. Her book, Passionate Revolutions: the Media and the Rise and Fall of the Marcos Regime is available from Ohio University Press. Recent publications include a round table article on the 2022 Philippine elections for Contemporary Southeast Asia and she was recently interviewed about the Marcos regime on NPR’s Throughline podcast series.

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