Dress is the most fleeting of the arts, subject to the arbitrary dictates of fashion. It is also, however, the art that relates most closely to our lives, both as reflection of our self-image and, in the words of Louis XIV, as "the mirror of history". This text examines English and French fashion from 1750 to 1820 by studying the art of the period and it shows how changes in dress reflected social, political and cultural developments in the two countries. Closely analyzing a wide range of visual sources - including portraits and history painting, sculpture, drawings, caricatures and fashion plates by such artists as Reynolds, Gainsborough, Lawrence, David and Ingres - the book describes the development of fashion during this period. The author investigates, for example, how English and French attitudes towards formality and informality were reflected in their dress; how revolution and war affected what was worn; how the concept of fashion was brought to a wider audience, partly because of technological advances in the production of textiles and partly because of a new ideology that linked dress and politics in a movement towards democratization; and why by the end of the era French styles dominated women's fashions and English tailoring dominated men's fashions. A large part of the book looks at the different ways that England and France appropriated the dress of the past for a variety of political, social and cultural reasons, not only in fashion but also in social events, in art, and in official and ceremonial costumes.
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Ribeiro, head of the History of Dress Department at the University of London, explores 18th century fashion by examining how period artists portrayed individuals. English and French portraits from 1750-1820 are utilized to show how social and cultural changes were reflected in fashions and art depictions of the times. -- Midwest Book Review
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Book Description Yale University Press, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110300062877