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Fashion, Desire and Anxiety: Image and Morality in the 20th Century

Fashion, Desire and Anxiety: Image and Morality in the 20th Century

Rebecca Arnold

ISBN: 9780813529042

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Drawing upon both contemporary visual and written sources, this book illuminates the role that fashion plays in reflecting and shaping attitudes toward display and adornment. As traditional cultural notions of what is admissible or acceptable have fragmented, fashion has been a key site for experimentation. At both the haute couture and street level, clothing enables identities to be visualized, confronting the spectator with contradictory messages embodying the confusion of the time.Rebecca Arnold focuses on the last thirty years and places the desires and anxieties that surround fashion in their historical context. She highlights four key themes:
-- Status, Power, and Display (the flaunting of wealth, the alienating power structures of "good" taste),
-- Violence and Provocation (the rising tide of aggression in both fashion imagery and street styles),
-- The Eroticized Body (the power of sex and display and the pressure to conform to ideals), and
-- Gender and Subversion (the blurring of identity to disguise and confuse).This richly illustrated book always keeps its focus on the historical and ethical potential and possibilities that modern fashion embodies.
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