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Accessorizing the Body

Habits of Being I

Cristina Giorcelli

Publication Year: 2011

The first in the four-part series Habits of Being, charting the social, cultural, and political expression of clothing as seen on the street and in museums, in films and literature, and in advertisements and magazines, this volume features a close-up focus on accessories—the shoe, the hat, the necklace—intimately connected to the body.
 
These essays, most of which have appeared in the cutting-edge Italian series Abito e Identità, offer new theoretical and historical takes on the role of clothing, dress, and accessories in the construction of the modern subject. With contributions by leading scholars in art history, semiotics, literary and film studies, history and fashion studies, and with additional writings by psychoanalysts, textile artists, and fashion designers from Europe and America, readers will encounter a dizzying array of ideas about the modern body and the ways in which we dress it.
 
From perspectives on the “model body” to Sonia Delaunay’s designs, from Fascist-era Spanish women’s prescribed ways of dressing to Futurist vests, from Barbara Stanwyck’s anklet to Salvatore Ferragamo’s sandals, from a poet’s tiara to a worker’s cap, from the scarlet letter to the yellow star: Accessorizing the Body imparts startling insights into how much the most modest accessory might reveal.
 
Contributors: Zsófia Bán, Eotvos Lorand U, Budapest; Martha Banta, U of California, Los Angeles; Vittoria C. Caratozzolo, U of Rome “La Sapienza”; Paola Colaiacomo, U of Rome “La Sapienza”; Maria Damon, U of Minnesota; Giuliana Di Febo, U of Rome Three; Micol Fontana; Manuela Fraire; Becky Peterson, U of New Mexico; Jeffrey C. Stewart, U of California, Santa Barbara; Vito Zagarrio, U of Rome Three; Franca Zoccoli.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. iii-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vii

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xiii

The four-volume English-language series Habits of Being extracts more than forty of the best essays from the ongoing editions of Abito e Identità: Ricerche di storia letteraria e culturale, edited by Cristina Giorcelli and published since 1995 by Edizioni Associate (volumes 1–3) and Ila Palma Press (volumes 4–10) of Rome, Italy, augmenting these Italian essays with a few newly commissioned pieces and with examples of work by

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Clothing, Dress, Fashion: An Arcade

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pp. xv-xx

The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abominable unto the LORD thy God. DEUTERONOMY 22:5

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Introduction: Accessorizing the Modern(ist) Body

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pp. 1-6

In the words of St. Anselm, “the habit does not make the monk,” and ever since, the old adage of not being able to judge a book by its cover has provided consolation for those whose appearance did not fully represent their being.1 Or else this adage has been used as a deterrent for those who considered creating a different being by changing their appearance. Indeed, the saying also became a standard warning used by well-intentioned ...

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1. No Frills, No-Body, Nobody

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pp. 7-16

The anti-naturalistic origin of clothing (which is not a second skin, because it can be put on and taken off ) makes it one of the most significant features of the “symbolic treatment” necessary for the humanization of the living body. Once reduced to an essentiality that places it in competition with the skin covering the body, often considered the“first clothing” provided by nature, dress runs the risk of betraying its own vocation from...

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2. The Cult of Femininity

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pp. 17-23

I had the good luck and pleasure to speak with Micol Fontana: my good luck because, at the age of ninety-four, she is still vivacious, energetic, and a volcano of initiatives—all feasible; a pleasure because through her words, colorful and immediate, she relives a human world and a city, Rome, in all its fabulous contours, those of the mythical 1950s and 1960s, when, after the horror and devastation of the war, the Eternal City blossomed ...

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3. Fashion’s Model Bodies: A Genealogy

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pp. 24-32

At first there were dolls. A wooden mannequin—perhaps the most ancient in history— was found in Tutankhamen’s tomb. France’s Queen Marie Antoinette used to send her mother and sisters back in Austria puppets wearing the latest Paris fashions. In the nineteenth century, fashion dolls traveled as far as India so that colonial o~cers’ wives might have a three-dimensional preview of the dresses they would be ordering from their ...

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4. Wearing the Body over the Dress: Sonia Delaunay's Fashionable Clothes

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pp. 33-53

In Genesis, Adam’s and Eve’s bodies epitomize innocence and truth. According to the biblical narrative, after God created them “they were both naked, the man and his wife,and were not ashamed” (2:25). The statement seems both paradoxical and anachronistic: while it employs the logic of hysteron proteron, in which the effect replaces the cause,it also projects a sentiment (shame) that under the circumstances they could not then...

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5. Futurist Accessories

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pp. 54-81

“The Futurist hat shall be asymmetrical and in aggressive, festive colours. Futurist shoes shall be dynamic, each of a different shape and colour.”1 “The Futurist tie, an anti-tie of hard-wearing, shiny, lightweight metal, . . . fully reflects the sun and the blue skies that enrich us as Italians, banishing the melancholy pessimistic look from the breasts of our menfolk.”2 In various manifestos, the Futurists proclaimed a revolution in accessories, ...

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6 Coco, Zelda, Sara, Daisy, and Nicole: ACCESSORIES FOR NEW WAYS OF BEING A WOMAN

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pp. 82-107

There are certain periods (quite rare, indeed) when the so-called addendum of accessories do more than reflect shifts in fashion, when they do more than define an era’s deepest desires and achievements, when they do an exceptional thing by actually creating the social and cultural milieu. This is not a matter of a single item being used to adorn a woman’s costume; it involves a highly charged cluster of visible manifestations of inner ...

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7. Precious Objects: Laura Riding, Her Tiara, and the Petrarchan Muse

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pp. 108-125

Unlike many women poets who subvert the Petrarchan male poet–woman muse dynamic by writing poems in which the authorial voice is female and the “inspiration”male, American poet Laura Riding collapses the entire poetic subject-object structure by depicting herself as both subject and object, poet and muse. In this way, she rejects the system of domination present in the traditional Petrarchan model. Riding’s decision to ...

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8. Spanish Women’s Clothing during the Long Post–Civil War Period

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pp. 126-147

Women’s clothes played an important role in Spain during the Civil War (1936–39), which was so dominated by irreducible political, cultural, and symbolic polarizations that dress too became a sign of dichotomy, a way to show which side you were on. For the Francoists, the “vestir cristiano” (the Christian way of dressing) became an important stimulus to recover the traditional feminine role from Republican ...

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9. The Yellow Star Accessorized: Ironic Discourse in Fatelessness by Imre Kertész

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pp. 148-168

The application of visible stigmas (or, more mildly, distinctive signs) is a time-honored practice in all kinds of societies for a large variety of often despicable reasons and still lingers on as one of the favorite pastimes of what is known as human civilization. The designs and the aims may vary, but the impulse has lost none of its old momentum.1 ...

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10. Terra Divisa/Terra Divina: (T/E/A/R)

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pp. 169-171

Terra Divisa/Terra Divina: (T/E/A/R), referring to the Scottish/English “DebatableLands,” is bisected by conflict on the diagonal: brown and green for the earth and its cycles of rest and renewal or, more violently, death and rebirth. I used lettering from Scots and English children’s samplers. That these are made by children and now collected by adults adds to the conflictual status of “outsider” or “naïve” art. ...

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11. Black Hattitude

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pp. 172-184

A hat heightens the body, but it also elevates the soul. Especially elevating is a cocked hat on a man or woman with attitude. You have seen them: Black men with a swagger in their step, a hat broke at an outrageous angle, tilted like a landscape of a world about to fall oƒ its axis, ambling down the street like they own it, even if they haven’t a quarter in their pockets. Yes, it is a performance, but it is also a tightrope act, balancing deficits and ...

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12. Barbara Stanwyck’s Anklet: THE OTHER SHOE

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pp. 185-208

Why, from Karl Marx and Vincent Van Gogh in the nineteenth century through Martin Heidegger, Charlie Chaplin, and Walker Evans in the twentieth, have men tracked aesthetic value, social standing, and the meaning of labor through the boots of workers, while women, following Sigmund Freud’s consideration of the shoe as fetish object, have understood shoes to signal freedom and constraint—at once powerful symbols of ...

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13. The Cinematic Jewel: Fetishizing the Goods

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pp. 209-219

Jewels in film are multivalent narrative devices, some of the most intense metaphors of its narrative structure. Think about classic comedies where jewels are the happy source of many plots: for instance Trouble in Paradise (1932), one of the sophisticated comedies that better characterize the so-called Lubitsch touch. The story unfolds between Venice and Paris, two of the classic destinations of American tourism: an international gentleman ...

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14. Enchanted Sandals: Italian Shoes and the Post-World War II International Scene

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pp. 220-236

In an essay on women’s footwear, Italo Calvino stresses that in order to appreciate theformal quality of a shoe, we must examine it from the ground upward:its form (its means and end) is determined by the need to place both heel and toe firmlyon the ground and at the same time, lift them up, detaching them from and posing re-sistance to the dust, dirt, or debris lying beneath. This is why its streamlined shape,...

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Conclusion: In Closing/Close Clothing

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pp. 237-245

On December 14, 2008, Muntader al-Zaidi, a twenty-eight-year-old Iraqi journalist in attendance at then president George W. Bush’s “farewell” visit to the nation he had invaded five years before, hurled first one then the other of his shoes—black leather oxfords, to be exact—almost hitting his target both times. In stocking feet, he was wrestled to the ground, arrested, and tortured, he claims, for the subsequent year of his ...

Contributors

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pp. 247-249


E-ISBN-13: 9780816676682
E-ISBN-10: 0816676682
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816675791

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2011