Off with Their Petticoats

Posted on by Zoe Guttenplan

After they were released from prison in Paris in the late autumn of 1794, both having narrowly escaped the guillotine, new bosom friends Rose de Beauharnais and Térézia Tallien found they had nothing to wear. Dressmakers and milliners had all but disappeared from a city still reeling from the Reign of Terror. In an era of desperate need and rampant inflation, a time when even the most prosperous took candles and

Dress to Transgress

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

‘Don’t be a fright. Don’t wear loud-hued leggings. Don’t cultivate a “bicycle face”.’ Even on a bicycle, that emblem of their public freedom, women were offered stern words about how they should present themselves. Greater liberty in one aspect of women’s lives was often matched by new kinds of coercion in what they wore and […]

Faith & Finery

Posted on by David Gelber

How do Christian women dress? How do Jews dress? Atheists? Who knows? Such questions are so broad that they rarely offer revealing answers. Judging from the photographs in Elizabeth Bucar’s book, which presents a series of case studies of female dress in several cities where Islam is the predominant faith, ‘Muslim’ women in Tehran wear […]

Monarchs à la Mode

Posted on by David Gelber

The exaggerated profile of Henry VIII is instantly recognisable from Hans Holbein’s portrait – the colossal shoulders and chest counterbalanced by the broad stance that highlights his bulging calves. It is an image that has been reproduced countless times in paintings and prints, and subsequently on stage and screen. However, as Tudor Fashion seeks to […]

Doffing a Tricorne

Posted on by David Gelber

Do you know your dandies from your petit-maîtres? Could you tell a coxcomb from a Regency buck, a swell or a fop? As Peter McNeil’s Pretty Gentlemen efficiently illustrates, masculinity was a muddled business in 18th-century Britain. It masqueraded in different guises, literally: in costume, in print culture and on the stage. McNeil narrows in […]

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