Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. i-vi

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. vii

Illustrations

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. viii

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-xi

I have many people to thank for their assistance with this project, whether they helped by reading and editing chapters, aiding in the research process, or just talking with me and providing moral support. I began this project as a postdoctoral fellow at Tulane University, and both Tulane and the Newcomb College Institute...

read more

Introduction: Fashion in the Land of the Free

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-20

In the above epigraph from Abraham Cahan’s The Rise of David Levinsky, the protagonist, David Levinsky, depicts the purchase of a fashionable gown as an intersection of ethnic, class, and American concerns. He suggests that it took a working-class Russian immigrant to dismantle the hegemony of elitist Old World fashion...

read more

1. The Free Spirit in the Gilded Age

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 21-50

In the famous tableaux vivants scene of The House of Mirth, attorney Lawrence Selden observes Lily Bart’s choice of costume for her display: “The noble buoyancy of her attitude . . . revealed the touch of poetry in her beauty that Selden always felt in her presence, yet lost the sense of when he was not with her. Its expression...

read more

2. The Social Climber in the Era of Ready-Mades

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 51-82

In the opening passage of Abraham Cahan’s The Rise of David Levinsky (1920), his protagonist laments, “My present station, power, the amount of worldly happiness at my command, and the rest of it, seem to be devoid of significance” (3). In a similar passage, at the end of Theodore...

read more

3. The Immigrant in the Era of Simplicity

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 83-107

On January 1, 1972, my great-great-uncle Paul Orange celebrated his hundredth birthday among his family, friends, and a group of news reporters. Orange was an immigrant success story and an inspiration to the Jewish community in New York. He was ten years old when he immigrated from Romania with...

read more

4. The Modern Woman and the Slim Silhouette

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 108-136

The look of the modern woman was arguably the first fashion industry profile engineered by women. While women had dominated the dressmaking industry since the 1600s, male designers had controlled the face of high fashion since the dawn of haute couture (Steele 11). Nevertheless, by the 1920s, Paris had...

read more

5. The Black Middle Class and the Primitive

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 137-166

In his description of a “night in Paris” in the June 1, 1927, issue of Vogue, John McMullin narrates his first encounter with the performer Josephine Baker, lingering on the interplay of her ornate clothing and the contours of “her graceful body” (51). Through this interplay, McMullin characterizes Baker as glamorous...

read more

Conclusion: The Depression and the Dawn of American Designers

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 167-184

In Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man (1912), James Weldon Johnson writes, “New York City is the most fatally fascinating thing in America. She sits like a great witch at the gate of the country, showing her alluring white face and hiding her crooked hands and feet under the folds of her wide garments, constantly enticing...

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 185-196

Works Cited

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 197-204

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 205-214

Recent Books

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 215-216