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Sex and Suits

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations 1. INTRODUCTION Sex and the Modern Form What Fashion Is II. THE WORK OF FASHION Fashion, Non-fashion and Anti-fashion Meaning in Fashion Form and Sexuality Early Fashion History Later Changes Female Invention III. THE GENESIS OF THE SUIT The Great Divide Reason and Fantasy Sobriety and Simplicity Antique Natural Nudity Heroes in Wool Neo-classic Erotics Ready-made Men The Once and Future Suit IV. MODERNITY Worth and His Effects Reforming Women Stays Redesigning Women Modern Transformations Recent Revolutions V. NOWADAYS Informalities Sexualities Revelations Anxieties Perceptions Select Bibliography Index

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As insightful and ground-breaking as it was when it was first published, Sex and Suits is a classic text on the evolution of modern fashion and is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of dress, gender and sexuality.

About the Author

Anne Hollander was an independent scholar and critic whose work changed the way we look at fashion and art. A fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities and former president of PEN American Center, she was the author of several influential books on the subject of costume and fabric in art, including Seeing through Clothes, Sex and Suits and Fabric of Vision. She also published Moving Pictures about the influence of painting on cinema, and Feeding the Eye, a selection of essays. Her highly innovative books are rigorous, stylish, provocative and insightful.


Anne Hollander's Sex and Suits was, and remains, a major contribution to the study of fashion. * Valerie Steele, Director of the Museum at FIT, New York, US *
Entrancing, vivacious...[a] dazzling, whirlwind account of Western costume. * John Updike, The New Yorker *
Anne Hollander, who died in 2014, was the Ernst Gombrich of fashion history ... [This is] a confident survey of the field ... Her text is full of provocations, in particular the idea that women's fashion has historically always lagged behind men's. * London Review of Books *
Hollander rides her theories like a surfer, and her wittiest prose retains the note of generosity that gives human curiosity its moral weight. * Diane Middlebrook, The Los Angeles Times *
To fully appreciate the suit's aesthetic and erotic success, Hollander treats us to an unfailingly insightful, creative and provocative history of modern fashion. She maintains a rich cultural context while pondering the interplay between sex and the imagination, idealized gender roles and clothing, fashion's unreliability and irony, and the crucial roles the printing press and camera have played in Western fashion's global dominance. * Donna Seaman, Booklist *
Hollander's clear, brisk style packs every paragraph with provocative ideas. What is the T-shirt but male underwear with an imprinted motto, a provisional tattoo? * Robert Taylor, Boston Globe *
Iconoclastic, continually stimulating. * Publishers Weekly Review *
Hollander's unique cadence remains as compelling as ever and her deployment of crisp phrasing is often rather witty - to achieve this whilst remaining unequivocally academic in one's discussion is no mean feat, and this is testament to her skill as an essayist. * Costume *
Brilliant, funny ... [Sex and Suits is] an exuberant and upbeat story of the expression of sexual fantasy in dress ... a captivating book. * Martha C. Nussbaum, Philosophical Interventions *
Examining the relationship between genders as represented through clothing from Medieval times to the 1990s, Sex and Suits by Anne Hollander has become a classic within the field of fashion studies. Though written two decades ago in 1994, the book is still extremely relevant immensely informative and interesting read. * The Fashion Studies Journal *

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