Essay collections are always a mixed bag, and this one is more muddled than most. The warning signs are clear. The volume is part of a series ominously titled ‘Austrian Studies in English’. Six of the 15 essays were papers presented at a 2010 conference of the same name at the University of Vienna.
Fashion Prints in the Age of Louis XIV. Interpreting the Art of Elegance is the record of a symposium held in 2005, sparked by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)’s acquisition of a bound album of 190 hand-colored French fashion plates published between approximately 1670 and 1695.
This is a very welcome addition to the study of dress in antiquity. While studies of clothing, bodily adornment and the body language of antiquity are becoming more frequent, a volume that considers the role of religious dress and the religious meanings of dress among Jews and Christians takes this research in new directions.
In this inspiring new study, Rebecca Houze builds on her series of excellent articles, in Journal of Design History, Studies in the Decorative Arts, Centropa and elsewhere, which deal with Austrian and Hungarian applied arts at the turn of the century.
The collection of essays edited for Brepols by Kate Dimitrova and Margaret Goehring, Dressing the Part: Textiles as Propaganda in the Middle Ages, addresses the significance of cloth and clothing in visual culture during the Middle Ages.
The study of Spanish dress and fashion in the early modern period has generated exciting, innovative, and interdisciplinary scholarship in the past several years, and complements recent work devoted to historical dress, fashion, and textiles from distinct geographical locations and time periods.
The study of fashion is acknowledged to require a composite methodology. Daniel Roche, in his influential The Culture of Clothing: Dress and Fashion in the ‘ancien régime’ (1) put forward five headings under which dress could be interrogated: the artefact, textiles, pictorial representation, social and economic sources, and philological sources.