Tanya Wetenhall

photo of Tanya Wetenhall
Assistant Professor of Design History
Suite 103, Building XX
814 20th Street, NW
Washington, DC, District Of Columbia 20052
[email protected]


A specialist in dress history, Professor Wetenhall’s teaching encompasses fashion and costume history, world dress practices, ballet design history, material culture and the decorative arts. Her research explores the manifestation of national identity in design and the aesthetic and cultural intersections of Russia, France, and Great Britain in the late modern period. Wetenhall has published and presented on Russian dress and textiles of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and Russian tapestry-technique shawls. She has worked at the ModeMuseum (MoMu), Antwerp, The Wolfsonian-FIU, Miami Beach and has taught in graduate programs at the Fashion Institute of Technology and New York University. She also lived for ten years abroad working as a cultural liaison to the USSR and Eastern Europe and at the American Embassies in Moscow and Rome.


Current Research

"How Ballet Design Revealed the Values of Nation: 1925-1955"



  • Wetenhall, T. ‘Russia’, in Jill Condra (ed.), "Encyclopedia of National Dress: Traditional Clothing Around the World", Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, 2013.

Papers/Public Lectures:

  • "​​How Ballet Design Revealed the Values of Nation: 1925-1955", presented at the History of Art Postgraduate Symposium, The University of Glasgow, School of Culture and Creative Arts, Glasgow, Scotland, May 4, 2017
  • Che Bellezza!: 20th-Century Italian Designers and the Ebony Fashion Fair Gallery talk in the exhibition, Imagining Beauty: Fifty Years of Ebony Fashion Fair, The Textile Museum, Washington, DC, April 27, 2017
  • Miami City Ballet Open Barre: Dance + Drama: A conversation and presentation with playwright Tarrell Alvin McCraney and MCB Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez on the dramatic direction in George Balanchin's A Midsummer Night's Dream with performance excerpts by MCB dancers at Miami City Ballet Studios, Miami Beach, February 5 + 6, 2016
  • "Uncovering Timeless Stitches: Russian Dress and Textiles in the Collection ​of the Hillwood Museum" presented at "Fact" The Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) Annual Convention, Philadelphia, November 19, 2015
  • Miami City Ballet Open Barre: Dance + Design: A conversation and presentation with artist, Michele Oka Doner, and MCB Artistic Director, Lourdes Lopez, on the reimagining of costumes and sets for George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream and with performance excerpts by MCB dancers at Miami City Ballet Studios, Miami Beach, October 29 + October 30, 2015 
  • "Fashion Project: Talks Fashioning the Ballet a Conversation" with Lourdes Lopez, Miami City Ballet Artistic Director at Fashion Project, Bal Harbour, July 21, 2015
  • "Fashion and the Masters: Dress in Paintings" at the National Gallery of Art Gallery talk in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, October 10, 2014                                             
  • "The Diamond-Studded Circle: Ballet Costume, Body Type, and the bel étage" presented at "Reflecting Forward: forty years of CSA" Costume Society of America's 40th Annual Meeting and National Symposium, Baltimore, May 29, 2014
  • Continued Research on a Thesis: Russian Handwoven Tapestry-Technique Shawls 1825-1855 presented at “Textiles and Settlement: From the Plains Space to Cyber Space,” Textile Society of America 12th Biennial Symposium, Lincoln, Nebraska, October 6-9, 2010



BA in Slavic Studies: Russian Language and Literature, Minor in Fine Art, New York University
MA in Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, and Museum Practice, The Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY)
PhD Candidate in Art History, The University of Glasgow


Professional Organizations

  • Appraisers Association of America, Inc. (AAA) 2002-2011
  • International Council for Museums (ICOM) - Costume Committee
  • Textile Society of America (TSA)
  • The Costume Society (UK)
  • The Costume Society of America (CSA)