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Accessorizing the Body

Accessorizing the Body: Habits of Being I

CRISTINA GIORCELLI
PAULA RABINOWITZ
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 272
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttv5s2
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  • Book Info
    Accessorizing the Body
    Book Description:

    Accessorizing the Body is the first in the four-part series Habits of Being, which charts the social, cultural, and political expression of clothing as seen on the street and in museums, in films and literature, and in advertisements and magazines. This volume features a close-up focus on accessories—the shoe, the hat, the necklace—intimately connected to the body.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7668-2
    Subjects: Art & Art History
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Clothing, Dress, Fashion: An Arcade
    (pp. xv-xx)
  5. INTRODUCTION ACCESSORIZING THE MODERN(IST) BODY
    (pp. 1-6)
    Cristina Giorcelli

    In the words of St. Anselm, “the habit does not make the monk,” and ever since, the old adage of not being able to judge a book by its cover has provided consolation for those whoseappearancedid not fully represent theirbeing.¹Or else this adage has been used as a deterrent for those who considered creating a differentbeingby changing theirappearance.Indeed, the saying also became a standard warning used by well-intentioned parents, by all-knowing teachers, and by authorities fearful of being duped by those subject to their rule. It was used, that is, by those...

  6. 1 NO FRILLS, NO-BODY, NOBODY
    (pp. 7-16)
    Manuela Fraire

    The antinaturalistic origin of clothing (which is not a second skin, because it can be put on and taken off) makes it one of the most significant features of the “symbolic treatment” necessary for the humanization of the living body. Once reduced to an essentiality that places it in competition with the skin covering the body, often considered the “first clothing” provided by nature, dress runs the risk of betraying its own vocation from the outset. If deprived of accessories, clothing is actually comparable to the human skin but only to that of the newborn baby not yet “humanized” by...

  7. 2 THE CULT OF FEMININITY
    (pp. 17-23)
    Micol Fontana

    I had the good luck and pleasure to speak with Micol Fontana: my good luck because, at the age of ninety-four, she is still vivacious, energetic, and a volcano of initiatives—all feasible; a pleasure because through her words, colorful and immediate, she relives a human world and a city, Rome, in all its fabulous contours, those of the mythical 1950s and 1960s, when, after the horror and devastation of the war, the Eternal City blossomed again and, thanks to the contributions of ingenious creators undertaking enterprises of extraordinary quality (such as the Fontana Sisters atelier) it became the privileged...

  8. 3 FASHION’S MODEL BODIES: A GENEALOGY
    (pp. 24-32)
    Paola Colaiacomo

    At first there were dolls. A wooden mannequin—perhaps the most ancient in history—was found in Tutankhamen’s tomb. France’s Queen Marie Antoinette used to send her mother and sisters back in Austria puppets wearing the latest Paris fashions. In the nineteenth century, fashion dolls traveled as far as India so that colonial officers’ wives might a three-dimensional preview of the dresses they would be ordering from their London dressmakers.

    On its decamping from the theater of fashion, the wooden or rag doll left behind nothing but a name. “Mannequin” goes back to the ancient fiction of the homunculus, or...

  9. 4 WEARING THE BODY OVER THE DRESS SONIA DELAUNAY’S FASHIONABLE CLOTHES
    (pp. 33-53)
    Cristina Giorcelli

    In Genesis, Adam’s and Eve’s bodies epitomize innocence and truth. According to the biblical narrative, after God created them “they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (2:25). The statement seems both paradoxical and anachronistic: while it employs the logic ofhysteron proteron, in which the effect replaces the cause, it also projects a sentiment (shame) that under the circumstances they could not then know.¹ Later, after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, Genesis tells us that “the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that theywerenaked” (3:7). Interestingly, while...

  10. 5 FUTURIST ACCESSORIES
    (pp. 54-81)
    Franca Zoccoli

    “The Futurist hat shall be asymmetrical and in aggressive, festive colours. Futurist shoes be dynamic, each of a different shape and colour.”¹ “The Futurist tie, an anti-tie of hard-wearing, shiny, lightweight metal, . . . fully reflects the sun and the blue skies that enrich us as Italians, banishing the melancholy pessimistic look from the breasts of our menfolk.”² In various manifestos, the Futurists proclaimed a revolution in accessories, which complemented, or rather, was integral to, their revolution in clothing. Many of the artists in the movement put theory into practice. For instance, Giacomo Balla, but also Enrico Prampolini, Tullio...

  11. 6 COCO, ZELDA, SARA, DAISY, AND NICOLE ACCESSORIES FOR NEW WAYS OF BEING A WOMAN
    (pp. 82-107)
    Martha Banta

    There are certain periods (quite rare, indeed) when the so-called addendum of accessories do more thanreflectshifts in fashion, when they do more thandefinean era’s deepest desires and achievements, when they do an exceptional thing by actuallycreatingthe social and cultural milieu. This is not a matter of a single item being used to adorn a woman’s costume; it involves a highly charged cluster of visible manifestations of inner impulses. When this occurs, credit cannot be given to a single event or individual, but the instances addressed here are clearly marked by overturnings of everything after...

  12. 7 PRECIOUS OBJECTS LAURA RIDING, HER TIARA, AND THE PETRARCHAN MUSE
    (pp. 108-125)
    Becky Peterson

    Unlike many women poets who subvert the Petrarchan male poet–woman muse dynamic by writing poems in which the authorial voice is female and the “inspiration” male, American poet Laura Riding collapses the entire poetic subject-object structure by depicting herself as both subject and object, poet and muse. In this way, she rejects the system of domination present in the traditional Petrarchan model. Riding’s decision to assume the muse/object role—in her poetry and in her attention to dress and ornament—locates her in the company of several of her modernist contemporaries.¹ Riding’s position on subject-object relations extends from a...

  13. 8 SPANISH WOMEN’S CLOTHING DURING THE LONG POST–CIVIL WAR PERIOD
    (pp. 126-147)
    Giuliana Di Febo

    Women’s clothes played an important role in Spain during the Civil War (1936–39), which was so dominated by irreducible political, cultural, and symbolic polarizations that dress too became a sign of dichotomy, a way to show which side you were on. For the Francoists, the “vestir cristiano” (the Christian way of dressing) became an important stimulus to recover the traditional feminine role from Republican emancipation. Ultimately, it acquired attributes of a patriotic principle: “You’ll build our homeland if you make healthy habits with your Christian way of dressing. Decide, woman.”¹

    Vestir cristianolinked patriotic reconstruction to the society’s “re-Christianization”...

  14. 9 THE YELLOW STAR ACCESSORIZED IRONIC DISCOURSE IN FATELESSNESS BY IMRE KERTÉSZ
    (pp. 148-168)
    Zsófia Bán

    The application of visible stigmas (or, more mildly, distinctive signs) is a time-honored practice in all kinds of societies for a large variety of often despicable reasons and still lingers on as one of the favorite pastimes of what is known as human civilization. The designs and the aims may vary, but the impulse has lost none of its old momentum.¹

    On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold-thread, appeared the letter A. It was so artistically done, and with so much fertility and gorgeous luxuriance of fancy,...

  15. 10 TERRA DIVISA/TERRA DIVINA: (T/E/A/R)
    (pp. 169-171)
    Maria Damon

    Terra Divisa/Terra Divina: (T/E/A/R),referring to the Scottish/English “Debatable Lands,” is bisected by conflict on the diagonal: brown and green for the earth and its cycles of rest and renewal or, more violently, death and rebirth. I used lettering from Scots and English children’s samplers. That these are made by children and now collected by adults adds to the conflictual status of “outsider” or “naïve” art.

    The large, ornate T and A are from a Scottish sampler from the 1750s, described in my pattern booklet as “a step toward the majestic illuminations to follow.”¹ The A takes pride of place...

  16. 11 BLACK HATTITUDE
    (pp. 172-184)
    Jeffrey C. Stewart

    A hat heightens the body, but it also elevates the soul. Especially elevating is a cocked hat on a man or woman with attitude. You have seen them: Black men with a swagger in their step, a hat broke at an outrageous angle, tilted like a landscape of a world about to fall off its axis, ambling down the street like they own it, even if they haven’t a quarter in their pockets. Yes, it is a performance, but it is also a tightrope act, balancing deficits and demerits of the economies of past slavery against the hypocritical world that...

  17. 12 BARBARA STANWYCK’S ANKLET THE OTHER SHOE
    (pp. 185-208)
    Paula Rabinowitz

    Why, from Karl Marx and Vincent Van Gogh in the nineteenth century through Martin Heidegger, Charlie Chaplin, and Walker Evans in the twentieth, have men tracked aesthetic value, social standing, and the meaning of labor through the boots of workers, while women, following Sigmund Freud’s consideration of the shoe as fetish object, have understood shoes to signal freedom and constraint—at once powerful symbols of mobility and icons of and for desire? I speak of two modes of desire: for the commodity itself, objects of use—products, equipment, as Heidegger called them—no matter how apparently excessive; and within its...

  18. 13 THE CINEMATIC JEWEL FETISHIZING THE GOODS
    (pp. 209-219)
    Vito Zagarrio

    Jewels in film are multivalent narrative devices, some of the most intense metaphors of its narrative structure. Think about classic comedies where jewels are the happy source of many plots: for instanceTrouble in Paradise(1932), one of the sophisticated comedies that better characterize the so-called Lubitsch touch. The story unfolds between Venice and Paris, two of the classic destinations of American tourism: an international gentleman thief (Herbert Marshall) meets a skilled and pretty thief (Miriam Hopkins), and together they decide to defraud a rich Parisian lady (Kay Francis). The unexpected happens, though, and the thief falls for the lady,...

  19. 14 ENCHANTED SANDALS ITALIAN SHOES AND THE POST–WORLD WAR II INTERNATIONAL SCENE
    (pp. 220-236)
    Vittoria C. Caratozzolo

    In an essay on women’s footwear, Italo Calvino stresses that in order to appreciate the formal quality of a shoe, we must examine it from the ground upward:

    its form (its means and end) is determined by the need to place both heel and toe firmly on the ground and at the same time, lift them up, detaching them from and posing resistance to the dust, dirt, or debris lying beneath. This is why its streamlined shape, shiny surface, and light consistency are not accessory qualities but essential ones.

    . . . The seductive power of a woman’s shoe is...

  20. CONCLUSION IN CLOSING/CLOSE CLOTHING
    (pp. 237-246)
    Paula Rabinowitz

    On December 14, 2008, Muntader al-Zaidi, a twenty-eight-year-old Iraqi journalist in attendance at then president George W. Bush’s “farewell” visit to the nation he had invaded five years before, hurled first one then the other of his shoes—black leather oxfords, to be exact—almost hitting his target both times. In stocking feet, he was wrestled to the ground, arrested, and tortured, he claims, for the subsequent year of his imprisonment. His act, a direct refutation of the images broadcast at the war’s beginning of Iraqis brandishing their shoes against the downed statue of Saddam Hussein, spurred numerous “shoe demonstrations”...

  21. Contributors
    (pp. 247-250)
  22. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)