Fashioning the Frame: Boundaries, Dress and the Body

Overview

The body has been the focus of much recent critical attention, but the clothed body less so. In answering the need to theorize dress, this book provides an overview of recent scholarship and presents an original theory of what dress means in relation to the body.

Identity relies on boundaries to individuate the self. Dress challenges boundaries: it frames the body and serves both to distinguish and connect self and ‘Other’. The authors argue that clothing is, then, both a ...

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Overview

The body has been the focus of much recent critical attention, but the clothed body less so. In answering the need to theorize dress, this book provides an overview of recent scholarship and presents an original theory of what dress means in relation to the body.

Identity relies on boundaries to individuate the self. Dress challenges boundaries: it frames the body and serves both to distinguish and connect self and ‘Other’. The authors argue that clothing is, then, both a boundary and not a boundary, that it is ambiguous and produces a complex relation between self and ‘not self’. In examining the role of dress in social structures, the authors argue that clothing can be seen as both restricting and liberating individual and collective identity.

In proposing that dress represents ‘a deep surface,’ a manifestation of the unconscious at work through apparently superficial phenomena, the book also questions the relationship between surface and depth and counters the notion of dress as disguise or concealment. The concept of the gaze and the role of gender are approached through a discussion of masks and veils. The authors argue that masks and veils paradoxically combine concealment and revelation, ‘truth’ and ‘deception’. Here the body and dress are both seen as forms of absence, with dress concealing not the body, but the absence of the physical body.

This provocative book is certain to become a landmark text for anyone interested in the intersection of dress, the body and critical theory.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"For initiates, a comprehensive and thought-provoking approach to its topic." —Choice

"Regardless of the boundary of postmodern discourse, to underestimate the implications of Fashioning the Frame for the future of dress studies would be impertinen t and wrong. Graduate students will find this book challenging reading, one that stretches their ideas of boundaries and margins of body and dress as it provokes battles between intellectual paradigms." —Dress

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859739815
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 10/28/1998
  • Series: Dress, Body, Culture
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Alexandra Warwick is at the University of Westminster.

Dani Cavallaro is Head of English, at the University of Westminster.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Notes on the Authors
List of Illustrations
Preface
Introduction: The Body in Philosophy and Theories of Representation 1
1 The Rim and the Abject 23
2 Shielding and Sprawling Garments 46
3 The Collective Body - Fashion, History, Commodities 95
4 Surface/Depth - Dress and the Mask 128
5 Clothes in Art - Painting In and Out of the Frame 157
Epilogue 202
Bibliography 207
Index 213
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