Luckily, the lesson was learned by my classmates. Today the rest of us had to do our presentations, and everyone stayed within the time limit. Well, one woman was running close to twenty minutes, but I think she noticed some Significant Looks being directed her way, because her ending was rushed and sudden. Good.
Since the theme of the semester was "What is an artist?", I decided to focus my research on the intersection of art and fashion, and address whether fashion is art. Dr. J thought I should focus it on a single fashion designer, if possible, so I used Karl Lagerfeld as my main "character", so to speak. Since I knew most of my classmates wouldn't be familiar with the history of fashion, I spent the first five minutes of my presentation briefly running through artist/fashion designer collaborations of the early 20th century, like Dali and Schiaparelli or men like Andy Warhol, who established themselves both in the art world and the fashion world. Then I rushed through a brief biography of Lagerfeld before discussing his spin on the fashion designer as artist. Lagerfeld himself has said, multiple times, that the fashion designer is not an artist, but he has also collaborated with artists many times and participated in art shows, so what does he really think? I think I finished at just under fifteen minutes - whew!
It wasn't a great presentation, but I think it went pretty well - mainly due to the audience's lack of expertise in fashion design. That was part of why I chose that topic. Since I was one of only two undergraduates in a class full of masters students, I didn't want to risk picking something that would be someone's thesis and end up getting picked to pieces. Plus, I still have a healthy interest in fashion, even if I gave up on the idea of being a fashion designers years ago.
The presentation has to be followed up by a formal paper, which is due by the beginning of next week. I'll have to go into greater depth than I did for the oral presentation, but at this point I think the tough part is over since the biggest challenge I faced was figuring out how to arrange my thoughts, and going through the speech helped iron that out.