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By Bonnie English

This new version of a bestselling textbook is designed for college students, students, and a person drawn to twentieth century type heritage. Accessibly written and good illustrated, the publication outlines the social and cultural background of favor thematically, and encompasses a wide selection of world case experiences on key designers, kinds, pursuits and occasions. the recent variation has been revised and accelerated: there are new sections on Read more...


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It was singled out, distinguished from other items, and thus lent a special aura that was increased by its inaccessibility and its historical pedigree. And as the nineteenth century gave way to the twentieth, more and more items were declared works of art and entered museums. In fact, the true museum of the nineteenth century might well be a department store rather than a specialized exhibition space reserved for nineteenth-century painting and sculpture. (1984: 42) Further consideration of the marketing techniques and subtleties of the art of ‘display’ indicates how critical the premise of voyeurism is to this theory.

Prior to the twentieth century, the established canons of taste in the arts—including fashion—were once considered to be the exclusive priority of aristocrats. While cultural debate questioned the extent to which other groups, notably the haute bourgeoisie and the demi-monde, played a part in establishing these canons, in his essay ‘The Aristocracy of Culture’ Bourdieu refers to ‘an object like taste’ as one of the most vital stakes in the struggles fought in the field of the dominant class and the field of cultural production.

3 Despite this evidence, it is difficult to ascertain the extent to which ready-to-wear was usurping private dressmaking businesses. More recent writers, including Lipovetsky (1994), also argue that the first manufactured dresses made ‘according to standard measures did not appear until after 1870’ and that ‘the manufacturing techniques mainly produced the loose-fitting elements of dress, including lingerie, mantillas and coats; for the rest, women continued to turn to their dressmakers, and went on doing so for a long time’ (Lipovetsky 1994: 83).

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