Rachel Getz Solomon

PhD candidate

Prof Ezri Tarazi
Prof Tamar Elor

Rachel Gets Salomon is a Doctoral candidate in the Design Department of the Architecture Faculty at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology. She has a Research M.A. in Cultur Studies from The Open University, Tel-Aviv Campus, summa cum laude, and B.F.A. in Art and Design from the Jewelry and Fashion Design Department of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem. Rachel is a Curator of fashion and identity exhibitions, and the curator of the International Stone Sculpting Symposium in Israel. As of 2015 she is a member of the Experimental Art and Architecture Lab in the Technion. Rachel is teaching courses in Basic Design A, Basic Design B, at the Architecture Faculty, the Technion

Research: Dressed for War – the Metamorphosis of the Military Skirt

This research project examine the relationship between form, material, and self experience through a specifically designed object – the skirt. Over the course of history, the skirt has become a feminine item. In pre-modern fashion as well as in the modern one, except for ethnic and folkloristic appearances such as the Scottish skirt, a proposal for a masculine skirt did not exist. Since the end of the last century, postmodern fashion has formulated several such proposals, although they have not yet become widespread and accepted. The transformation of the skirt into a feminine clothing item has led to the skirt being perceived to be associated with femininity to the point of turning it into a metonymy for femininity. In the cultural sphere, the skirt is located in different fields of gender-related reference, which also relate to ethnic, sectoral and personal characteristics.

The skirt is one of the most ancient, varied and long-lived forms of clothing. Throughout history, skirts were an item of clothing that involved masculinity and its demonstration. They exposed the male leg to display the body part that symbolizes masculine bravery. In ancient Egypt, the men wore short skirts known as Shendyt, that was adopted into ancient Egyptian culture from the clothing repertoire of the ancient hunter, for whom the skirt was the ultimate garment, that allowed maximum freedom of movement. The skirt was the exclusive and most common item of masculine dress and was excluded from female attire.

In the early Middle Ages in Europe, warriors from all combat units wore skirts. For some reasons, in the late Middle Ages, the skirt gradually entered the female wardrobe and became an important item in it. Ultimately, the skirt transformed from the ideal item for war, to a “feminine” item that asserts inability to fight and marks the defamiliarization and exclusion from the combat units. Its design changed from a liberating comfortable clothing to a movement-limiting object that attests to the person wearing it as inability  to fight  and even asserts her confinement to specific and “feminine” roles within the military establishment. The research examine the metamorphosis of the skirt – from the ultimate clothing item for war, to a “feminine” item of clothing that asserts the inability to fight and marks the defamiliarization and exclusion from the combat units. This is how it appears in popular representations of women fighters such as Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, Electra, Jessica Jones, Captain Marvel and more, as they are depicted in pants or underpants, but not in skirts.

skirt, military skirt, warriors, women in the army, medieval dress, women’s wear, Wonder Woman