9781474250658

Sex and Suits The Evolution of Modern Dress

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781474250658

  • ISBN10:

    1474250653

  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 8/25/2016
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

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Summary

Since the dawn of western fashion in the Middle Ages, women's dress has never stopped evolving, yet menswear has seen far fewer style revolutions. At the centre of the male wardrobe is the suit: relatively unchanged since the 17th century, its cut and cloth suggest athleticism, seriousness, sexuality and strength qualities which contrasted with the perceived superficiality and frivolity of female dress, and eventually led to the adoption of the suit into the female wardrobe where it remains to this day.

In Sex and Suits brilliant essayist and art critic Anne Hollander charts the development of men's and women's fashion from their divergence in the medieval period to their convergence through to the late 20th century. Challenging the idea that the suit's success is merely down to its practicality, this trailblazing book argues that men have been fashion's true style-setters and that as women's fashion has taken on elements of men's style through tailoring, so men have reclaimed the embellishment and colour of past eras.

First published in 1994 to great acclaim, this classic text is as fresh and provocative as ever and remains a must-read for students, scholars and anyone fascinated by the history of fashion and gender.

Author Biography

Anne Hollander was an independent scholar and critic whose work changed the way we look at fashion and art. A fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities and former president of PEN American Center, she was the author of several influential books on the subject of costume and fabric in art, including Seeing through Clothes, Sex and Suits and Fabric of Vision. She also published Moving Pictures about the influence of painting on cinema, and Feeding the Eye, a selection of essays. Her highly innovative books are rigorous, stylish, provocative and insightful.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

1. INTRODUCTION
Sex and the Modern Form
What Fashion Is

II. THE WORK OF FASHION
Fashion, Non-fashion and Anti-fashion
Meaning in Fashion
Form and Sexuality
Early Fashion History
Later Changes
Female Invention

III. THE GENESIS OF THE SUIT
The Great Divide
Reason and Fantasy
Sobriety and Simplicity
Antique Natural Nudity
Heroes in Wool
Neo-classic Erotics
Ready-made Men
The Once and Future Suit

IV. MODERNITY
Worth and His Effects
Reforming Women
Stays
Redesigning Women
Modern Transformations
Recent Revolutions

V. NOWADAYS
Informalities
Sexualities
Revelations
Anxieties
Perceptions

Select Bibliography

Index

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