Against Fashion: Clothing as Art, 1850-1930

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $18.14
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 39%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (9) from $18.14   
  • New (6) from $18.14   
  • Used (3) from $20.76   


The late nineteenth-century invention of "fashion" as we understand it today inspired avant-garde artists of the period to create an art form to counter commercial fashion. These artists saw clothing not as a symbol of class distinction but as a force for shaping experience — an opportunity to make things new, to go beyond the traditional boundaries of art. For many artists, therefore, dress design was too important to be left to the fashion designers; they would appropriate clothing as an art form that could break through the traditional boundaries of "pure" art to act directly on life.

Against Fashion is the history of the modern relationship between artists and this ideal "anti-fashion." Radu Stern traces the development of clothes as art by artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He discusses contributions to the new art form by various artistic movements of the historical avant-garde,including Art Nouveau, the Werkbund, Cubism, Futurism, Constructivism, and the Bauhaus; he examines the work of such key figures as Henry van de Velde, Gustav Klimt, and Sonia Delaunay. The book includes more than 100 illustrations, many in color, as well as an anthology of essential writings and documents by artists and writers of the period, some of them translated into English for the first time. The artists and works examined display a diversity of styles and ideas, but all share the desire to reject the mercantile logic of commercial fashion and replace it with a utopian "anti-fashion."

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"'Thoughtwear' for a rainy day." Barbara Jacobs Booklist
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262693295
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 1,415,832
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Radu Stern is Director of Education at the Musée d'Elysée in Lausanne,Switzerland.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii
Against Fashion: The Avant-Garde and Clothing
Fashion and Modernity 2
Romanticism: From Eccentricity to Artistic Dress 4
Rational, Artistic, and Aesthetic Dress in England 5
Henry van de Velde and Germany 11
Klimt and the Wiener Werkstatte 23
Futurism and Dress 29
The Russian Avant-Garde and Dress 45
Sonia Delaunay 63
Notes 69
The New Dress 80
Dress Reform 82
A Lecture on Dress (1868) 83
Development in Dress 96
Of the Progress of Taste in Dress in Relation to Art Education 105
Slaves of Fashion 111
Woman's Dress 113
More Radical Ideas upon Dress Reform 115
The Relation of Dress to Art: A Note in Black and White on Mr Whistler's Lecture 120
The Individual Dress 122
The Artistic Improvement of Women's Clothing 125
A New Art Principle in Modern Women's Clothing 137
Artistic Dress and Personalized Dress 143
On the Becoming of Fashion 148
Questions of Fashion 151
Male Futurist Dress: A Manifesto 155
The Antineutral Dress: A Manifesto 157
Futurist Manifesto of Women's Fashion 160
The Futurist Manifesto of the Italian Hat 162
The Aesthetics of Dress: Sunny Fashion, Futurist Fashion 164
Manifesto for the Transformation of Male Clothing 167
The Futurist Manifesto of the Italian Tie 170
Present-Day Dress--Production Clothing 172
Concerning Contemporary Dress 174
The Russian Fashion 177
The Constructivist Dress 178
The Fortnight Review: The Reformers of Dress 181
On Her Dress She Has a Body 182
The Influence of Painting on Fashion 183
Artists and the Future of Fashion 186
Illustration Credits 189
Selected Bibliography 198
Index 202
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)