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This is the first anthology of fashion criticism, a growing field that has been too long overlooked. Fashion Criticism aims to redress the balance, claiming a place for writing on fashion alongside other more well-established areas of criticism.
Exploring the history of fashion criticism in the English language, this essential work takes readers from the writing published in avant-garde modernist magazines at the beginning of the twentieth century to the fashion criticism of Robin Givhan-the first fashion critic to win a Pulitzer Prize-and of Judith Thurman, a National Book Award winner. It covers the shift in newspapers from the so-called “women's pages” to the contemporary style sections, while unearthing the work of cultural critics and writers on fashion including Susan Sontag and Eve Babitz (Vogue), Bebe Moore Campbell (Ebony), Angela Carter (New Statesman) and Hilton Als (New Yorker).
Examining the gender dynamics of the field and its historical association with the feminine, Fashion Criticism demonstrates how fashion has gained ground as a subject of critical analysis, capitalizing on the centrality of dress and clothing in an increasingly visual and digital world. The book argues that fashion criticism occupied a central role in negotiating shifting gender roles as well as shifting understandings of race.
Bringing together two centuries of previously uncollected articles and writings, from Oscar Wilde's editorials in The Woman's World to the ground-breaking fashion journalism of the 1980s and today's proliferation of fashion bloggers, it will be an essential resource for students of fashion studies, media and journalism.
Francesca Granata is Associate Professor of Fashion Studies at Parsons School of Design. She holds a PhD from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London and has published widely on twentieth century and contemporary fashion and greater visual culture. She is the author of "Experimental Fashion" (2017) and editor of the non-profit journal "Fashion Projects." She lives in New York.
Judith Thurman is a staff writer at The New Yorker. She is the author of several books including Cleopatra’s Nose: 39 Varieties of Desire, Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette, and Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller, which won the National Book Award. She lives in New York City.