×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The culture of fashion: A New History of Fashionable Dress
     

The culture of fashion: A New History of Fashionable Dress

by Christopher Breward
 

See All Formats & Editions


This illustrated survey of 600 years of fashion investigates its cultural and social meanings from medieval Europe to 20th-century America. It provides a guide to the changes in style and taste, and challenges existing fashion histories, showing that clothes have always played a pivotal role in defining a sense of identity and society, especially when concerned

Overview


This illustrated survey of 600 years of fashion investigates its cultural and social meanings from medieval Europe to 20th-century America. It provides a guide to the changes in style and taste, and challenges existing fashion histories, showing that clothes have always played a pivotal role in defining a sense of identity and society, especially when concerned with sexual and body politics. With a chronological structure, each chapter focuses on both male and female fashion of a specific period, covering its fascinating developments. It discusses: andrognous dressing; body piercing; fabrics, clothing and the rise of city life; dress, and the changing shape of the human body; controversies surrounding trousers and leg wear for both men and women; exposure of flesh; fashion and social status; and the dissemination of fashion through travel, film, magazines and catwalk shows.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
English design and fashion historian Breward constructs an informative history of Western European fashion that draws equally on established scholarship (based primarily on formal developments) and more recent critical theories. Starting with the Middle Ages, each chapter is devoted to a different century and paradigm, from how fashion shaped the body during the 14th century to the impact of consumer culture in this one. The effect is akin to watching one of those time-lapse sequences of flowers blooming, as hemlines rise and fall, corsets squash and squeeze, flounces come and go and colors grow florid and fade while listening to a learned commentary on the social, political and cultural significance of this seemingly arbitrary activity. Indeed, there are many voices, as Breward quotes generously from period documents as well as from contemporary scholars. This is one of the book's strengths, along with its focus on men's fashions and the politics of gendermale homosexuality in particular. Some weaker aspects are the author's prose style, which can be inelegant, and the uneven picture research. When it comes to this century's fashions, the book's English bias also proves problematic. (The current street fashion is summed up by a picture of a bloke in a baseball cap and flight jacket.) Otherwise, this is a solid survey of dress and the issues currently surrounding itthere's much to know about a farthingale. (June)
Booknews
Discusses the social and cultural significance of male and female fashion from medieval Europe to 20th-century America. Some topics include androgynous dressing; fabrics; clothing and the rise of city life; dress and the changing shape of the human body; and exposure of flesh. Fine b&w illustrations; a few in color. Distributed by St. Martin's Press. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780719041259
Publisher:
Manchester University Press
Publication date:
03/28/1995
Series:
Studies in Design Series
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
9.40(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.50(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews