Nightgown Parties

Catriona McAra, Kate Bernheimer, Samantha Sweeting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


‘Nightgown parties’ is an experimental visual essay featuring a new fairy tale and previously unpublished images, a three-way collaborative ‘party’ between an artist, writer and curator. The curator, Catriona McAra, begins with a compact, comparative preface for the imaginative practices of the artist and writer which intersect at the lost moment of fairy-tale costume. Writer Kate Bernheimer has prepared a new story, ‘The Crown of Stars’ about a found photograph from artist Samantha Sweeting’s childhood, Golden Crown, in which the 4-year-old artist wears fancy dress and appears to be dancing with abandon. McAra argues that, for both, the fairy-tale costume functions as primary matter, with close reference to well-known tales that feature articles of clothing such as Charles Perrault’s ‘Peau d’Âne’ (‘Donkeyskin’), ‘Cinderella’, and ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. McAra’s context for this new tale and image brings together fairy-tale scholarship and costume studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253–263
Number of pages11
JournalStudies in Costume & Performance
Issue number1
Early online date23 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2023


  • embodied storytelling
  • family photography
  • feminism
  • girlhood
  • intertextuality
  • 'Donkeyskin'


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