Cultures of Femininity in Modern Fashion
Publication Year: 2012
This transatlantic and truly interdisciplinary collection, with an afterword by distinguished literary scholar Rita Felski, is also notable for its mix of established and emerging scholars. The contributors address diverse aspects of women's engagement with fashion in modernity, through such topics as Sapphic architecture, tea gowns, secondhand clothing, transnational identity, the coquette, nursing uniforms, and Harlem Renaissance photographs. Cultures of Femininity in Modern Fashion traces a unique and often surprising history of modernity and its entwinement with the gendered phenomenon of fashion.
Published by: University of New Hampshire Press
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Title Page, Copyright, About the Series, Dedication
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The editors are grateful to Paul Fortunato for inspiring their collabora-tion on this collection. We also thank Richard Pult of University Press of New England for his good humor, patience, and wisdom. We are indebted to the University of British Columbia Okanagan’s Internal Grants pro-gram. Elizabeth Sheehan gratefully acknowledges the support of the Uni-...
INTRODUCTION Cultures of Femininity in Modern Fashion
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In a concluding commentary on a 2008 essay collection on the fi gu-ration of the Modern Girl in the early twentieth century, historian Kathy Peiss asserts that “much of the literature on the Modern Girl in the United States [. . .] tends to separate leisure, consumption, and mar-keting from the domain of formal politics.”1 Peiss’s observation indi-cates an ideological partition of leisure and consumption from political ...
I FASHION AND RELATIONSHIPS AMONG MODERN WOMEN
1 FASHIONING SAPPHIC ARCHITECTURE Eileen Gray and Radclyffe Hall
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When you are surrounded with shadows and dark corners you are at home only as far as the hazy edges of the darkness your eyes cannot External architecture seems to have absorbed avant-garde architects at the expense of the interior, as if a house should be conceived for the pleasure of the eye more than for the well-being of its inhabitants....
2 A DOMESTICATED EXOTICISM Fashioning Gender in Nineteenth-Century British Tea Gowns
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Victorian fashion has often been examined in terms of its regulation and control of the female body. The rules and rituals of fashionable dress have been perceived as limiting women’s choices rather than en-abling them. Work in the fi elds of fashion history and theory have complicated this picture, with scholars such as Elizabeth Wilson, Chris-topher Breward, Valerie Steele, and Joanne Entwistle all arguing that ...
3 SMART CLOTHES AT LOW PRICES Alliances and Negotiations in the British Interwar Secondhand Clothing Trade
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Advertisements for secondhand clothing dealers haunt the margins of British fashion periodicals of the 1920s and 1930s. Issues of Vogue and Eve report on the latest Paris models, but small notices remind con-temporary readers that many women only came into contact with cloth-ing designed by Chanel and Poiret—as well as with less august names—after other women had worn the garments and decided to sell them. ...
II FASHION AND CULTURAL ANXIETY
4 FEAR OF FASHION; OR, HOW THE COQUETTE GOT HER BAD NAME
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Victorian culture perfected a fashion double bind that is still with us today: women are required to invest themselves deeply in their ap-pearance and then derided for this obsession.1 On the one hand, dressing well was declared to be women’s “duty,” their contribution to the plea-sures of society.2 Yet at the same time, a woman who took this duty too seriously, or discharged it too successfully, was charged with vanity—or ...
5 THE DISCERNING EYE Viewing the Mid-Victorian “Modern” Woman
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In the mid 1870s, the French painter Jean Béraud produced a work in oils entitled Parisienne un jour de pluie, place de la Concorde.1 The painting de-picts a young woman, who appears to have paused momentarily in the street. With her left hand she holds a black umbrella over her shoulder and with her right, she lifts her skirts delicately off the wet ground. From ...
6 “HOUSEWIFE OR HARLOT” Art, Fashion, and Morality in the Paris Salon of 1868
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...“Sous des noms antiques M. Marchal a voulu peindre deux faces de la société moderne, le monde et le demi-monde, la vertu et le vice.”Exemplifying the nineteenth-century conception of gender roles as articulated by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon’s stark aphorism: “housewife or harlot,” Charles-François Marchal’s Pénélope and Phryné were the sen-sations of the Paris Salon of 1868 (fi gures 6.1 and 6.2).1 Pénélope and ...
III FASHION AND THE MATERIALITY OF GENDER
7 “THEIR UNIFORMS ALL ESTHETIC AND ANTISEPTIC ”Fashioning Modern Nursing Identity, 1870–1900
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Figure 7.1 is a photograph of the 1891 graduating students of the To-ronto General Hospital School of Nursing (TGH). The nurses look relaxed, each striking a different pose, some facing, leaning toward, or touching her neighbor. They wear very similar (although not identical) fi gure-hugging dresses over corseted torsos, creating the fashionable sil-houette of the period. Their dress is augmented by voluminous white ...
8 THE FACE OF FASHION Race and Fantasy in James VanDerZee’s Photographyand Jessie Fauset’s Fiction
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In 1926, W. E. B. Du Bois asked leading publishers, artists, and intellectuals, most of whom were associated with what came to be known as the Harlem Renaissance, to write responses to the question “The Negro in Art: How Shall He Be Portrayed?” The resulting essays were published in the NAACP’s Crisis magazine, of which Du Bois was the editor-in- chief. ...
9 “MORE THAN A GARMENT” Edna Ferber and the Fashioning of Transnational Identity
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In an 1896 speech in which he argued for the drastic curtailment of immigration to the United States, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge voiced the fear that the unrestricted acceptance of foreigners would effect “a great and perilous change in the very fabric of our race.” While Lodge addressed the negative economic impact of immigration, calling “low, unskilled labor . . . the most deadly enemy of the American wage earner,” ...
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While reading through this lucid and engaging group of essays, I was reminded anew of how much has changed in feminist stud-ies and modernist studies over the last two decades. What once seemed outré is now acceptable, even self-evident; what once furrowed eyebrows and engendered looks of consternation is accepted with nary a murmur. When we ponder changes in thinking, our attention is often caught by ...
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Christina Bates is the curator for Ontario History at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. She curated the 2005–06 major exhibition, “A Caring Profession: Centuries of Nursing in Canada” and is co-editor of On All Frontiers: Four Centuries of Canadian Nursing (2005). ...
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Plate 1 E.1027 living room with Le Corbusier mural. Photo by Jasmine Rault.Plate 6 Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824–1904). Phryné before the Areopagus, 1861. Oil on canvas; 80 x 128 cm. Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany. Image thanks to Art Renewal Center® Plate 9 Toronto General Hospital School of Nursing Graduating Class, 1891. Alumnae Association of the School of Nursing Toronto General Hospital Collection. Photo © Canadian Museum of Civilization, 2004-H0037.8. E2006-00814....
Page Count: 268
Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: Becoming Modern/Reading Dress