Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, About the Series, Other Works in the Series

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

Many individuals contributed to the success of this book. First and foremost I wish to thank those who were directly involved with its production. Christine Sprengler inspired me during the crucial first phases of developing the book proposal, reading material and offering invaluable advice and feedback. ...

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Introduction: Origins and Issues

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pp. xi-xxxiv

During the 1870s and 1880s, an unconventional form of clothing known as Aesthetic dress crossed over from artistic circles to mainstream fashion culture in Victorian Britain. Romantic and whimsical, it was characterized by its looseness and lack of structure, natural waist, disavowal of the corset, and artistic referencing of sartorial features from earlier periods. ...

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1 | Dress Reform and the Authority of Art in Victorian Aesthetic Culture

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pp. 1-34

What exactly is Aesthetic dress? Although I ultimately argue that this question is not easily answered, this chapter explores Aesthetic dress as a definable category in the fashion and art literature of the Aesthetic movement. Inherent in its design, production, and presentation were three main principles: an implicit critique of mainstream fashion, ...

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2 | Aesthetic Dress in the Work of James McNeill Whistler

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pp. 35-69

In the 1860s and 1870s, James McNeill Whistler made several paintings exploring aspects of Aesthetic dress, among them two of his White Girl series from the 1860s, as well as Symphony in Flesh Colour and Pink. In the growing Aesthetic climate of 1870s London, these works served as a focal point for erudite audiences interested in alternative modes of dress. ...

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3 | The Grosvenor Gallery: Context and Climate for Artistic Dressing

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pp. 70-101

During the 1870s and 1880s, the Grosvenor Gallery functioned as more than a central site for the exhibition and sale of Aesthetic works of art: it provided a significant spatial realm for the enactment of Aesthetic ideals through the practice of sartorial display and experimentation. ...

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4 | Popular Culture and the Fashioning of Aestheticism

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pp. 102-140

Throughout the 1880s, a fascination with Aesthetic dress grew alongside the wider proliferation of Aesthetic culture across a broad range of audiences. The critical attention focused on the self-fashioning of Grosvenor Gallery patrons illustrates this growing interest in Aestheticism as more than just an art movement to be followed visually. ...

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5 | The Artful Containment of the Aesthetic Female Body

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pp. 141-160

In the closing years of the nineteenth century, critics and writers began to document a growing instability in dress among the fashionable elite. They recorded new levels of anxiety and concern over what constituted good taste in clothing and, throughout the 1880s, targeted the tea gown as an emblem of questionable taste and propriety. ...

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Conclusion: The Value of Aesthetic Dress

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pp. 161-168

As I have shown, the image of the Aesthetic dresser in British visual culture varied widely and was at times contradictory. Representations of this figure, both visual and textual, ranged from idealized depictions of an advanced and authentic individual with rarefied artistic tastes to less positive views of the female aesthete as mannish, deviant, or intensely artificial. ...

Notes

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pp. 169-186

Bibliography

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pp. 187-196

Index

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pp. 197-203