The American Look: Fashion and the Image of Women in 1930s and 1940s New York

Overview

Drawing on a wonderful array of sources, from fashion magazines such as Harper's Bazaar and Vogue to department store records and surviving garments, The American Look presents a rich and multi-faceted exploration of the development of a distinct New York fashion style in the 1930s and 1940s.

Tracing the growth of the sportswear fashion industry from its functional origins to its adoption as casual wear for all occasions by career women and housewives alike, author Rebecca ...

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Overview

Drawing on a wonderful array of sources, from fashion magazines such as Harper's Bazaar and Vogue to department store records and surviving garments, The American Look presents a rich and multi-faceted exploration of the development of a distinct New York fashion style in the 1930s and 1940s.

Tracing the growth of the sportswear fashion industry from its functional origins to its adoption as casual wear for all occasions by career women and housewives alike, author Rebecca Arnold shows how New York's emergent style in the interwar period was both dynamic and modern—much like the city itself. She argues that its essence was expressive of the American ideal of athletic, long-limbed figures and related to theories of body image, gender and class; that its designers such as Claire McCardell, Clare Potter and Tina Leser, were themselves embodiments of the modern, active woman; and that its style was connected not just to ideals of patriotism and democracy, but to notions of cleanliness and hygiene.

Beautifully illustrated, The American Look offers a unique insight into fashion, modernity and ideas of Americanness in the twentieth century.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781860647635
  • Publisher: I. B.Tauris & Company, Limited
  • Publication date: 2/17/2009
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 983,532
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Rebecca Arnold is Research Fellow in the History of Design Department at the Royal College of Art in London. She was Guest Professor in Fashion Studies at Stockholm University, 2006-2007. As Senior Lecturer at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, University of the Arts, she established the first UK undergraduate degree in Fashion History & Theory. She has lectured and written widely on twentieth-century fashion. Her first book, Fashion, Desire & Anxiety: Image & Morality in the Twentieth Century was published by I.B. Tauris in 2001.

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Table of Contents

* List of Illustrations
• Acknowledgements* Introduction
• New York and the Evolution of Sportswear
• New York City
• Sportswear
• Modern Sportswear Aesthetic I
• American Body Culture
• Body Image/Body Culture
• Health and Hygiene
• Exercise and Dance
• Sports Body
• Sportswear and the New York Fashion Industry
• During the Depression
• Effects of the Depression
• Career Women
• Fashion Group
• Sportswear’s Promotion During the 1930s
• New York Department Stores
• Fashion Media
• The Monastic Dress and the Sportswear Promotion in the late 1930s
• Sportswear and the New York Fashion Industry
• During the Second World War
• Effects of the Second World War
• Sportswear Design and Representation
• Modern Sportswear Aesthetic II *The American Look and the Rise of the Designer
• The American Look
• New York Sportswear Designers and Consumerism * The Woman of Fashion 1947
• Conclusion
• Bibliography *

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