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Fashion, Desire and Anxiety: Image and Morality in the Twentieth Century

Overview

Fashion, and the glossy magazines it inhabits, allows Western culture to dream. It permits a person to fantasize and to experiment with new identities. It flaunts glamour and success. Appearance becomes something to be perfected and admired.

These dreams and freedoms, Rebecca Arnold proposes, are contradictory. Fashion and its surrounding imagery elicit fear and anxiety in their consumers as well as pleasure. Fashion has come to incorporate the underside of modern life, with ...

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Overview

Fashion, and the glossy magazines it inhabits, allows Western culture to dream. It permits a person to fantasize and to experiment with new identities. It flaunts glamour and success. Appearance becomes something to be perfected and admired.

These dreams and freedoms, Rebecca Arnold proposes, are contradictory. Fashion and its surrounding imagery elicit fear and anxiety in their consumers as well as pleasure. Fashion has come to incorporate the underside of modern life, with violence and decay becoming a dominant theme in clothing design and photography.

Arnold draws on diverse written sources to explore the complex nature of modern fashion. She discusses a range of key themes: how fashion uses and abuses the power of wealth; the alienating promotion of "good" taste; the power plays of sex and display; and how identities can be blurred to disguise and confuse. In order to unravel the contradictory emotions of desire and anxiety they provoke, she never loses sight of the historical and cultural contexts in which fashion designers and photographers perform.

Generously illustrated, Fashion, Desire and Anxiety focuses on the last thirty years, from photographic works of the 1970s to the beginning of the twenty-first century.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Arnold (cultural studies and fashion history and theory, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London) draws from diverse sources to discuss such themes as how fashion uses and abuses the power of wealth, the alienating promotion of good taste, the power plays of sex and display, and how identities can be blurred to disguise and confuse. She focuses on photographs from the 1970s through the end of the century. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813529042
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 1,028,119
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Acknowledgements
Introduction
1 Status, Power and Display 1
Excess 4
Cruelty and Power 12
Simplicity 17
Imperfection 22
Eco 26
2 Violence and Provocation 32
Ultra Style/Ultra Violence 34
Gangsters 37
Gangstas 40
Skinheads 42
Punks 45
Heroin Chic 48
Decadence and Decay 55
3 The Eroticised Body 63
Underwear as Outerwear 66
Eroticism 71
Fetish 77
The Brutalised Body 80
Flesh 89
Skin 95
4 Gender and Subversion 99
New Woman 102
Dressing Up: Woman 106
Dressing Up: Man 111
Unisex 118
Androgyny 122
Conclusion 125
Notes 127
Bibliography 134
Filmography 139
Index 141
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