Against Fashion: Clothing as Art, 1850-1930

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Overview

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."

The MIT Press

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"'Thoughtwear' for a rainy day." Barbara Jacobs
Booklist

The MIT Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262693295
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 368
  • 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.
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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
Texts
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
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