Fashioning the Nineteenth Century
Habits of Being 3
How fashion in nineteenth-century art, literature, and life came to define—and defy—class
In nineteenth-century Europe and the United States, fashion—once the province of the well-to-do—began to make its way across class lines. Fashioning the Nineteenth Century shows how certain items of apparel acquired the status of fashion and how fashion shifted from the realm of the elites into the emerging middle and working classes—and back.
In nineteenth-century Europe and the United States, fashion—once the province of the well-to-do—began to make its way across class lines. At once a democratizing influence and a means of maintaining distinctions, gaps in time remained between what the upper classes wore and what the lower classes later copied. And toward the end of the century, style also moved from the streets to the parlor. The third in a four-part series charting the social, cultural, and political expression of clothing, dress, and accessories, Fashioning the Nineteenth Century focuses on this transformative period in an effort to show how certain items of apparel acquired the status of fashion and how fashion shifted from the realm of the elites into the emerging middle and working classes—and back.
The contributors to this volume are leading scholars from France, Italy, and the United States, as well as a practicing psychoanalyst and artists working in fashion and with textiles. Whether considering girls’ school uniforms in provincial Italy, widows’ mourning caps in Victorian novels, Charlie’s varying dress in Kate Chopin’s eponymous story, or the language of clothing in Henry James, the essays reveal how changes in ideals of the body and its adornment, in classes and nations, created what we now understand to be the imperatives of fashion.
Contributors: Dagni Bredesen, Eastern Illinois U; Carmela Covato, U of Rome Three; Agnès Derail-Imbert, École Normale Supérieure/VALE U of Paris, Sorbonne; Clair Hughes, International Christian University of Tokyo; Bianca Iaccarino Idelson; Beryl Korot; Anna Masotti; Bruno Monfort, Université of Paris, Ouest Nanterre La Défense; Giuseppe Nori, U of Macerata, Italy; Marta Savini, U of Rome Three; Anna Scacchi, U of Padua; Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, U of Michigan.
Preface and Acknowledgments
Clothing, Dress, Fashion: An Arcade
Introduction: Fashioning a Century
1. Psychoanalytic Views of Cross-Dressing and Transvestism
Bianca Iaccarino Idelson
2. Our Job Is to Create Beauty: A Personal Memoir of La Perla
3. Modernity Clothing: Birthing the Modern Atlantic/Birthing the Modern Republic
4. Garment of the Unseen: The Philosophy of Clothes in Carlyle and Emerson
5. An Emblem of All the Rest: Wearing the Widow’s Cap in Victorian Literature
6. Clothing the Marmorean Flock: Sartorial Historicism and The Marble Faun
8. Accessories to the Crime in What Maisie Knew
9. Costume and Form: D’Annunzio and Mutable Appearances
10. Shawls Redefine Womanhood in American Literature, 1850s-1920s
11. A Lovely Little Coffee-Colored Dress: Education, Female Identity, and Dress at the End of the Nineteenth Century
12. Gender and Power: Dressing “Charlie”
13. Imaginative Habits: Fantasies of Undressing in The Ambassadors
Coda: Seen and Obscene