Fashioning the Body

An Intimate History of the Silhouette

Edited by Denis Bruna

View Inside Price: $50.00


May 5, 2015
272 pages, 8 3/4 x 11
207 color + b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300204278
HC - Paper over Board

Published in association with the Bard Graduate Center

A witty and stylish look into the mechanics employed by men and women to sculpt their figures for fashion

This unique survey offers fascinating insights into the convoluted transformations employed by both men and women to accommodate the fickle dictates of fashion. With high design, wit, and style, Fashioning the Body tracks the evolution of these sartorial devices—from panniers, crinolines, and push-up bras to chains, zippers, and clasps—concealed beneath outer layers in order to project idealized figures. Women’s corsets constricted waists; exaggerated buttocks and hips counterbalanced jutting bust lines; and chic, aerodynamic silhouettes compressed breasts and flattened bellies. Yet masculine fashion has been no stranger to these tortuous practices. Men flaunted their virility by artificially broadening their shoulders, applying padding to their chests, and slipping codpieces over their groins. With more than 200 beautiful illustrations—including reproductions of superb historic advertisements—Denis Bruna reveals the industry and art of these contrivances meant to entice and beguile as well as assert status and power. Contemporary haute-couture designers Thierry Mugler, Jean Paul Gaultier, Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garçons, Christian Lacroix, and Vivienne Westwood are featured in this indiscreet tour of intimate fashion history. 

Denis Bruna is Curator of pre-19th-century fashion and textile collections at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris. 

EXHIBITION SCHEDULE

Bard Graduate Center, New York
(04/03/15–07/26/15)