Synopses & Reviews
With so much focus on contemporary theory, it is easy to forget that the serious analysis of clothing and fashion has a long history. In fact, they have been the subject of intense cultural debate since the nineteenth century. Fashion Classics provides an interpretative overview of the groundbreaking and often idiosyncratic writings of eight theorists whose work has profoundly influenced the conceptual and theoretical basis of our contemporary understanding of clothes and the fashion system.
Carter fully revives early ‘fashion theorists - some canonical and others less well known - and examines them in light of more recent work. From Carlyles fantastical character Professor Teufelsdrockh, through the first Freudian analysis of clothes by J.C. Flugel, the pioneering work of Spencer, Veblen, Simmel, Kroeber, Laver and finally Barthes monumental work on the modern fashion system, this book explores and explains the foundations of fashion theory. Not only does it provide an historical outline of Western conceptions of clothes and fashion, but it also highlights how ideas intermix and build on one another.
Carters lively narrative clearly shows that views on fashion have always been impassioned - perhaps most notably Carlyles notorious attack on Dandyism and Veblens suggestion that clothes should be made out of old newspaper. This book also makes sense of complex theory and is essential reading for anyone seeking an overview of the history of fashion theory.
"Michael Carter has fashioned, with clarity and wit, not only an important historical account of fashion classics, but an entertaining narrative that illuminates the cultural currents of two centuries ... It should make us think more than twice about what we wear and how we describe it. For myself, this is a book that I will constantly refer to - for pleasure as well as enlightenment." --Studies in English Literature
Table of Contents
Thomas Carlyle and Sartor Resartus * Herbert Spencer's Sartorial Protestantism * Thorstein Veblen's Leisure Class * Georg Simmel: Clothes and Fashion * Alfred Kroeber and the Great Secular Wave * J. C. Flgel and the Nude Future * James Laver, the Reluctant Expert * Roland Barthes and the End of the Nineteenth Century * Appendix: Questionnaire Issued by J.C. Flgel in 1929 * Bibliography * Index