Fashion Classics from Carlyle to Barthes
By Michael Carter
Berg Publishers; March 2003
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.
Michale 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 out line of Western conceptions of clothes and fashion, but it also highlights how ideas intermix and build on one another.
Michael Carter makes clear 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.
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