Reading Fashion in Art
Shortlisted for the CSA Millia Davenport Publication Award, 2021Dress and fashion are central to our understanding of art. From the stylization of the body to subtle textile embellishments and richly symbolic colors, dress tells a story and provides clues as to the cultural beliefs of the time in which artworks were produced. This concise and accessible book provides a step-by-step guide to analysing dress in art, including paintings, photographs, drawings and art installations. The first section of the book includes an introduction to visual analysis and explains how to 'read' fashion and dress in an artwork using the checklists. The second section offers case studies which demonstrate how artworks can be analysed from the point of view of key themes including status and identity, modernity, ideals of beauty, gender, race, globalization and politics. The book includes iconic as well as lesser known works of art, including work by Elisabeth Vigee le Brun, Thomas Gainsborough, James Jacques Tissot, Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray, Yinka Shonibare, Mickalene Thomas, Kent Monkman and many others. Reading Fashion in Art is the perfect text for students of fashion coming to art history for the first time as well as art history students studying dress in art and will be an essential handbook for any gallery visitor. The step-by-step methodology helps the reader learn to look at any work of art that includes the dressed or undressed body and confidently develop a critical analysis of what they see.