The Englishness Of English Dress

The Englishness Of English Dress

by Christopher Breward
     
 

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Is there a peculiarly English ‘look' and if so how does one define it?

From the 'traditional' dress of the Victorian rural working class through to the contemporary collections of Vivienne Westwood and a younger generation of London-based designers, notions of Englishness, either real or imagined, have always been at play in considerations of English

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Overview

Is there a peculiarly English ‘look' and if so how does one define it?

From the 'traditional' dress of the Victorian rural working class through to the contemporary collections of Vivienne Westwood and a younger generation of London-based designers, notions of Englishness, either real or imagined, have always been at play in considerations of English fashion and clothing. This provocative book explores how far these fraught ideals can be applied to the dress of the past and present. English expressions of taste and creativity have had a profound influence on style over the last three centuries, and the pursuit and subversion of an English 'look' have shaped conceptions of fashionability from the pastoralism of the eighteenth-century through to the eras of Twiggy, Punk and beyond. But are these simply stereotypical characterizations that relate to an imagined 'Englishness', or is there some concrete basis for them? If the former, what has led to their development? If the latter, what definitions can be employed to unravel such complicated conceptions of national identity? What role has social decorum played in developing an 'English' style, and is this preoccupation with etiquette in fact unique to England ?

With chapters authored by leading scholars in the fields of costume history, social history and cultural studies, this is the first book to examine the ways in which fashion and dress might be considered in the context of national identities as they apply in England. Presenting an overview of how particular designers and consumer groups have striven to present or contest versions of Englishness through clothing from the 18th through to the 21st centuries, it will fascinate anyone interested in dress history, national and ethnic identity or English cultural history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“This highly illustrated text will fascinate anyone interested in dress history, national and ethnic identity or English cultural history.” —International Textiles

“A well-researched scholarly piece that is definitely worth reading ... highly recommended for those who are interested in dress, fashion, and cultural and national identity.” —ITAA Newsletter

The Englishness of English Dress is an intelligent, thoughtful and engaging collection of essays addressing the construction of national identity through dress and tradition ...Every essay in this book is worth reading - not always the case with collections of this sort. It should be on the bookshelf of anyone with an academic interest in the language of dress.” —Embroidery Magazine

“Every essay in this book is worth reading - not always the case with collections of this sort. It should be on the bookshelf of anyone with an academic interest in the language of dress.” —Embroidery Magazine

International Textiles

This highly illustrated text will fascinate anyone interested in dress history, national and ethnic identity or English cultural history.
ITAA Newsletter

A well-researched scholarly piece that is definitely worth reading ... highly recommended for those who are interested in dress, fashion, and cultural and national identity.
Embroidery Magazine

Every essay in this book is worth reading - not always the case with collections of this sort. It should be on the bookshelf of anyone with an academic interest in the language of dress.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781859735282
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date:
01/04/2002
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.49(d)

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Meet the Author

Edited by Christopher Breward, Professor in Historical and Cultural Studies, London College of Fashion, Becky Conekin, Lecturer and Senior Research Fellow in Historical and Cultural Studies, London College of Fashion and Caroline Cox, Fashion Journalist and Consultant.

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