The Penguin Book of Twentieth-Century Fashion Writing

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9780670882151: The Penguin Book of Twentieth-Century Fashion Writing
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Using extracts from novels, poems, memoirs and journalism Judith Watt expands on Virginia Woolf's claim that "clothes ... change our view of the world and the world's view of us". She examines how writing about fashion is used to explore taboo subjects such as gender and fetishism, to evoke class sympathies and social antipathies, and to define and defy identity. This anthology shows not only how clothes socialise the wearer, but also how writing about fashion can be provocative, witty and fascinating.

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From the Publisher:

Using extracts from novels, poems, memoirs and journalism, fashion historian Judith Watt explores the robust relationship between fashion and literature her provocative and witty anthology reveals how fashion is used to discuss social and sexual taboos, gender and sexuality, to evoke class sympathies and sexual antipathies, and to define and defy identity. More than a history of fashion, this is a study of social and cultural change in the 20th century.

The writers included are as diverse and surprising as the subjects they discuss: Franz Kafka and Daphne du Maurier use clothes to signify sexual imagery; George Orwell and John Mortimer describe the impact of clothing on the observer as well as the wearer; Elsa Schiaparelli and Christian Dior discuss the world of couture; Noel Coward and Hanif Kureishi write about men's fashion; Nancy Mitford and William Boyd make observations on British style; and Malcolm X and Molly Keane, Joan Smith and Malcolm McLaren both celebrate and deplore fashion.

Judith Watt has distilled this fascinating anthology from the words of novelists, diarists, poets and journalists, all of whom have used and abused fashion to reveal, revere and rebel.

About the Author:

Judith Watt is a fashion historian and writer. She studied the history of dress at the Courtauld Institute and has written for many newspapers and magazines, including the Guardian, the Sunday Times, Harpers & Queen and Vogue. She contributed to THEHOUSE OF LIBERTY (Thames & Hudson) and THE FASHION BOOK (Phaidon). She lectures in the history of fashion at Central St Martin's School of Art in London and lives in SE5.

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Published by Viking (1999)
ISBN 10: 0670882151 ISBN 13: 9780670882151
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Judith Watt
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