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Extravagances

Habits of Being 4

2015

Cristina Giorcelli and Paula Rabinowitz, Editors

Extravagances

From the ordinary to the extravagant, clothes can truly “make the man” (and woman)

This final volume in the Habits of Being series shows how the dialectic between everyday appearance and outrageous acts is mediated through clothing and accessories. Employing many different approaches, these essays explore how wearing an object can stray beyond the bounds of the body on which it is placed into the discrepant territory of flagrantly excessive public signs of love, status, honor, prestige, power, desire, and display.

This final volume in the four-volume series Habits of Being shows how the dialectic between everyday appearance and outrageous acts is mediated through clothing and accessories. It considers how clothing and accessories can move quickly from the ordinary to the extravagant. Employing many different approaches, these essays explore how wearing an object—a crown, a flower, an earring, a corsage, a veil, even a length of material—can stray beyond the bounds of the body on which it is placed into the discrepant territory of flagrantly excessive public signs of love, status, honor, prestige, power, desire, and display.

The varied contributions of scholars (historians, ethnographers, literary and film critics) and artists (photographers, sculptors, writers, weavers, and embroiderers) take up the threads of these forays into history, psyche, and aesthetics in surprising and useful ways. With examples from around the world, contributors address how the simple action of ornamenting the body, even with something as common as a button, are open to elaborate interpretations—which themselves offer new understandings of human behavior and artistic endeavor. When our “habits of being” receive close scrutiny, they seem anything but habitual.

Contributors: Mariapia Bobbiobi; Camilla Cattarulla, U of Rome Three; Paola Colaiacomo, Sapienza, U of Rome; Maria Damon, Pratt Institute of Art; Joanne B. Eicher, U of Minnesota; Maria Giulia Fabi, U of Ferrara; Margherita di Fazio; Adeena Karasick, Fordham U; Tarrah Krajnak, Pitzer College; Charlotte Nekola, William Paterson U; Victoria R. Pass, Maryland Institute College of Art; Amanda Salvioni, U of Macerata; Maria Anita Stefanelli, U of Rome Three.

Extravagances

Cristina Giorcelli is professor of American literature at the University of Rome Three, where she chairs the department of Euro-American studies.

Paula Rabinowitz is professor of English at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of many books, including American Pulp: How Paperbacks Brought Modernism to Main Street and Black & White & Noir: America’s Pulp Modernism.

Extravagances

Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
Clothing, Dress, Fashion: An Arcade
Introduction: Worn Out of Bounds
Paula Rabinowitz
1. When Women Speak . . . Their Clothes Talk
Mariapia Bobbioni
2. An Accessory Is a Gesture: A Conversation with Guillermo Mariotto
Cristina Giorcelli
3. Wearing a Crown
Paola Colaiacomo
4. Earrings in American Literature: A Showcase
Cristina Giorcelli
5. Buttons, Buttons, and More Buttons!
Margherita di Fazio
6. Curse of the Corsage: Femmes Fatales and the Can-Do Girl
Charlotte Nekola
7. Schiaparelli’s Convulsive Gloves
Victoria R. Pass
8. Frock and Bracelet in Omeros
Maria Anita Stefanelli
9. Kahlo and O’Keeffe: Portrait of the Artist as Fashion Icon
Paula Rabinowitz
10. Strays
Tarrah Krajnak
11. The Erotic Play of the Veil: Tapadas in Lima
Camilla Cattarulla
12. Clad in the Bloody Livery: Fashion and Color in Argentina’s Civil War
Amanda Salvioni
13. To Fashion the Wonderful Garment: W. E. B. Du Bois’s The Quest of the Silver Fleece and Nella Larsen’s Quicksand
M. Giulia Fabi
14. Subtle and Spectacular: Dressing in Kalabari Style
Joanne B. Eicher
15. Shmata Mash-up: A Jewette for Two Voices
Maria Damon and Adeena Karasick
Coda: Fashion’s Strategies of Communication and Sustainability
Cristina Giorcelli
Contributors