Accessorizing the Body: Habits of Being I by Cristina Giorcelli, Paula Rabinowitz, Manuela Fraire, Micol

By Cristina Giorcelli, Paula Rabinowitz, Manuela Fraire, Micol Fontana

The first within the four-part sequence Habits of Being, charting the social, cultural, and political expression of garments as visible in the street and in museums, in motion pictures and literature, and in ads and magazines, this quantity includes a close-up specialise in accessories—the shoe, the hat, the necklace—intimately hooked up to the body.
 
These essays, such a lot of that have seemed within the state-of-the-art Italian sequence Abito e Identità, supply new theoretical and old takes at the position of garments, costume, and components within the building of the trendy topic. With contributions via prime students in artwork historical past, semiotics, literary and picture reports, heritage and style reviews, and with extra writings through psychoanalysts, fabric artists, and style designers from Europe and the United States, readers will come across a dizzying array of principles in regards to the sleek physique and the ways that we costume it.
 
From views at the “model physique” to Sonia Delaunay’s designs, from Fascist-era Spanish women’s prescribed methods 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 famous person: Accessorizing the Body imparts startling insights into how a lot the main modest accent could reveal.
 
Contributors: Zsófia Bán, Eotvos Lorand U, Budapest; Martha Banta, U of California, l. a.; 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 3; Micol Fontana; Manuela Fraire; Becky Peterson, U of latest Mexico; Jeffrey C. Stewart, U of California, Santa Barbara; Vito Zagarrio, U of Rome 3; Franca Zoccoli.

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6 Let us take the case of the portrait as the most obvious example of what I am trying to say. Due to a cross-fertilization between art and fashion theories, we now recognize the legitimacy of at least two ways of looking at, say, a court dress in a Renaissance portrait: as the representation of something that “belongs” to that great container—the “period”—or as a designed artifact constructing all the complexities of life, even the act of its painting. In the first case, our régime of discourse will be description, and the implied relationship between culture and image will be an imitative one.

Contrived by ingenuity and by art, clothes are artificial. Concealing parts of the body, they fragment it, directing the gaze to each part; but to avoid perversity or fetishism, clothes do so only in a way that maintains a balanced image of the whole. In addition, clothes make one aware of “contrasts between covered and exposed, between left and right, between inside and outside. ”7 Consequently, if clothes parcel out the body, at the same time they allow a more detailed assessment of it. In the Bible, while clothes may be taken as the first manifestation of human consciousness, they also carry the scourge of disobedience and can, consequently, be associated with what followed the Fall: work, childbirth, and death, that is, fatigue, pain, and transience.

Due to a cross-fertilization between art and fashion theories, we now recognize the legitimacy of at least two ways of looking at, say, a court dress in a Renaissance portrait: as the representation of something that “belongs” to that great container—the “period”—or as a designed artifact constructing all the complexities of life, even the act of its painting. In the first case, our régime of discourse will be description, and the implied relationship between culture and image will be an imitative one.

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