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Dressed for success

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Cassidy Zachary is ready for the challenge in front of her – and what a massive undertaking it’s going to be.

Cassidy Zachary, a fashion historian, of Corrales, with her book, “Fashion and the Art of Pochoir,” which she co-authored with April Calahan. The Illustrations on these pages are by George Barbier. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

The Corrales resident’s latest project is co-hosting the podcast “Dressed: A History of Fashion,” which airs on the How Stuff Works network.

It launched nearly six weeks ago, and is currently featured in the new and noteworthy section on iTunes.

“It’s kind of amazing,” she says. “There are just two of us. I co-host with April Calahan and we wrote a book together in 2015. It was about fashion illustration.”

Both Calahan and Zachary are fashion history buffs.

Calahan is curator of manuscript collections at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, where she is also an instructor in the history of art department.

Meanwhile, Zachary is the founder of the popular fashion history blog and Instagram The Art of Dress, which has more than 150,000 followers. She also works in film and TV as a costumer and costume designer. She is also a graduate of the University of New Mexico, where she studied costume design.

Each week, the women bring a new episode from dress and fashion history, digging into the rich historical and cultural background behind the clothes we all wear.

Zachary says it takes about 30-40 hours of research for each episode.

“We spend a lot of time crafting the episode together,” she says. “I’ll record inside my home studio and we’ll weave it together.”

And the ideas keeping coming in.

For its first episode, the duo decided to delve into the life of Charles Frederick Worth.

The 19th-century fashion designer is known as one of the founding fathers of haute couture.

The episode explores his career and legacy and the pair speaks with Hylan Booker, an American designer who sat at the helm of the house of Worth in the late 1960s.

“Everything (Worth) did was of high artistry and he set the standard for a new era of fashion design,” she says. “It’s about more than pretty clothes. We’re getting the stories behind the clothes we wear.”

Other episodes have included the pair exploring the birth of the modern dress, a revolution that occurred during the early 20th century when women radically altered the way they had been dressing for centuries.

Zachary has also delved into the history of designer logos – especially the power four of Louis Vuitton, Lanvin, Chanel and Louboutin.

The most recent podcast April 3 featured Hind Abdul-Jabbar speaking about the widespread practice of smuggling European fashion into the United States during the 19th century.

“I love fashion and I love history,” she says “Take someone like Alexander McQueen. He transcended fashion. He’s an artist. And it’s people like him that we want to tell their stories. We get dressed every day and don’t realize the journeys that have gotten us here. Fashion is an important art form.”

Zachary says being able to record a good portion of her podcast from her Corrales home helps keeps a lot of the stress at bay.

With hours of research ahead of both women on a weekly basis, she’s excited that the podcast is finding an audience.

“We got a 52-week contract and we’re just hitting the surface,” she says. “There are plenty of topics we can tackle. I’m honored to be part of this and putting my two passions together.”

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