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The Erotic Cloth

Through their metaphorical and material qualities, textiles can be seductive, exciting, intimate and, at times, shocking and disquieting. This book is the first critical examination of the erotically charged relationship between the surface of the skin and the touch of cloth, exploring the ways in which textiles can seduce, conceal and reveal through their interactions with the body. From the beautiful cloth which is quietly suggestive, to bold expressions of deviant sexuality, cloth is a message carrier for both desiring and being desired. The drape, fold, touch and feel, the sound and look of cloth in motion, allow for the exploration of identity as a sensual, gendered or political experience. The book features contributions on the sensory rustle and drape of silk taffeta and the secret pleasures of embroidery, on fetishistic punk street-style and homoerotic intimacy in men's shirts on screen, and a new perspective on the role of cloth and skin in the classic film Blade Runner. In doing so, it interrogates experiences of cloth within social, historical, psychological and cultural contexts. Divided into four sections on representation, design, otherness and performance, The Erotic Cloth showcases a variety of debates that are at the heart of contemporary textile research, drawing on the fields of art, design, film, performance, culture and politics. Playful, provocative and beautifully illustrated with over 50 color images, it will appeal to students and scholars of textiles, fashion, gender, art and anthropology.
Product Details

Table of Contents

List of contributors List of illustrations Foreword, Mary Schoeser Acknowledgements An introduction to The Erotic Cloth Prof. Lesley Millar and Prof. Alice Kettle I. The representation of cloth 1. Folds, scissors and cleavage in Giovanni Battista Moroni's Il Tagliapanni Angela Maddock 2. A perverted taste: Italian depictions of cloth and puberty in mid-nineteenth-century marble Dr Claire Jones 3. Stitching up: embroidering the sex life of a fetishist image-maker Dr Nigel Hurlstone II. Making and remaking the cloth 4. The rustle of taffeta - the value of hapticity in research and reconstruction of an eighteenth-century Sack-back dress Debra Roberts 5. The embroiderer's jouissance: stitching a feminine identity in an environment of mining machismo Ruth Hingston 6. Flying in the face of fashion; how through punk, fetish and sexually orientated clothing made it into the mainstream Prof. Malcolm Garrett in conversation with Prof. Alice Kettle III. The alternative cloth 7. Present or absent shirts: creation of a lexicon of erotic intimacy and masculine mourning Prof. Catherine Harper 8. Empowering the Replicant: visual and haptic narratives in Blade Runner Caroline Wintersgill and Dr Savithri Bartlett 9. Caressing cloth: the warp and weft as site of exchange Dr Catherine Dormor IV. The performing cloth 10. Curvatures of cloth: William Hogarth's Line of Beauty and `The heart of true eroticism' in serpentine dance Dr Georgina Williams 11. The echoes of erotic cloth in film Liz Rideal 12. UN/DRESS Masako Matsushita in conversation with Prof. Lesley Millar Afterword: Erotic cloth - the case of kimono Yuko Ikeda

Promotional Information

Unravelling the erotic relationship between textiles and the body through case studies in film, painting, sculpture and design, this book shows how cloth has the potency to seduce, excite and disturb.

About the Author

Lesley Millar is Professor of Textile Culture and Director of The International Textile Research Center at the University for the Creative Arts, UK. Alice Kettle is Professor of Textile Arts at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK and Visiting Professor at the Center for Real World Learning, University of Winchester, UK.


This nuanced and thoughtful set of essays successfully combines the academic with the personal and creative, exploring the different ways in which cloth can relate to the body. -- Sorcha O'Brien, Kingston School of Art, UK A range of sensual engagements with cloth and its representation, this fascinating collection is packed with vivid imagery and insight. -- Barbara Brownie, University of Hertfordshire, UK The Erotic Cloth is a delight to read. Exploring intimacy, erotica, fetish and sexual expectations, Kettle and Millar have gathered research that will profoundly affect fashion scholarship. -- Sandra Alfody, Novia Scotia College of Art & Design, Canada Millar and Kettle's formidable knowledge offers a stimulating exploration of our sensual relationship with cloth. An immensely satisfying book, and essential reading for anyone with a passion for fabric. -- Susan Prichard, Senior Curator of Decorative Arts at Royal Museums Greenwich, UK

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