Sexing La Mode: Gender, Fashion and Commercial Culture in Old Regime France

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Berg Publishers, 2004 - Design - 244 pages
The connection between fashion, femininity, frivolity and Frenchness has become a cliché. Yet, relegating fashion to the realm of frivolity and femininity is a distinctly modern belief that developed along with the urban culture of the Enlightenment. In eighteenth-century France, a commercial culture filled with shop girls, fashion magazines and window displays began to supplant a court-based fashion culture based on rank and distinction, stimulating debates over the proper relationship between women and commercial culture, public and private spheres, and morality and taste. Mary Wollstonecraft was one of those particularly critical of this 'vulgar' obsession with 'tawdry finery', declaring it to be 'merely the external mark of a depravity shared with slaves'.The story of how la mode was 'sexed' as feminine offers a compelling insight into the political, economic and cultural tensions that marked the birth of modern commercial culture. Jones examines men's and women's relation to fashion at this time, looking at both consumption and production to argue how clothing was becoming increasingly conceptualized as feminine/effeminate.A concise history of French fashion culture suitable for anyone interested in eighteenth-century culture, women and gender studies or fashion history.

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User Review  - Praj05 - LibraryThing

Being a fanatical reader of the exclusive fashion magazines, ‘Sexing la Mode’ was an utter merriment; like tracing the roots of Anna Wintour’s fraternity. Jennifer Jones proficiently traces the ... Read full review

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About the author (2004)

Jennifer M. Jones is Graduate Director of Women's Studies and Associate Professor of History, Rutgers University

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