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 movies and literature, and in ads and magazines, this quantity contains a close-up concentrate on accessories—the shoe, the hat, the necklace—intimately attached to the body.
These essays, so much of that have seemed within the state of the art Italian sequence Abito e Identità, provide new theoretical and ancient takes at the position of garments, costume, and add-ons within the building of the trendy topic. With contributions by means of prime students in paintings heritage, semiotics, literary and picture experiences, heritage and style experiences, and with extra writings via psychoanalysts, fabric artists, and type designers from Europe and the United States, readers will come upon a dizzying array of rules concerning the smooth physique and the ways that we gown 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 may well reveal.
Contributors: Zsófia Bán, Eotvos Lorand U, Budapest; Martha Banta, U of California, la; 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 recent Mexico; Jeffrey C. Stewart, U of California, Santa Barbara; Vito Zagarrio, U of Rome 3; Franca Zoccoli.

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I try to comment that, even in the conception of this specific accessory, today’s fashion has drawn away from that of forty or fifty years ago, because today shoes match dresses more by evocation than by precision. But Micol sticks with her firm opinion that for true elegance, shoes “must” directly recall the garment. 1 Ava Gardner poses with dress and accessories from Sorelle Fontana. Courtesy of the private collection of Micol Fontana. 2 Model in jacket with buttons on Sorelle Fontana fashion show runway.

Reflected like one mirror in another in the appearance of the always-the-same” and thus as characterized by a “hellish repetition”—fashion represents the triumph of the commodity form in which the body has become a “gaily decked-out corpse” (thus showing “the sex appeal of the inorganic”). ”1 9 Having displayed the charm of a devitalized, estranged nature, the body becomes a cadaver-like support for clothing. ”2 0 There is an exchange between the body and its dresses, between the organic and the inorganic.

It may well be. But it would be disingenuous to respond to the interrogation he puts to us by simply referring to the day’s revival of ancient or exotic styles. Much more rewarding to meditate on the subtle ways in which a change in art and life revolves for him on the pinhead of dress and its uses. Let them wear peplums or kimonos, the important thing here is that these ur-Chelsea girls— great-great-grandmothers of Andy Warhol’s 1960s ones as they unwittingly are—have succeeded in extracting modern life painting from dead and buried genre painting by the simple act of wearing their peplums, or kimonos, in the right way: not as costumes, that is, but as real dresses in real life, to be worn along the streets of Chelsea or by the shores of an English sea.

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