Angela Carter on the latest thing

  • Adorned in Dreams: Fashion and Modernity by Elizabeth Wilson
    Virago, 272 pp, £11.95, November 1985, ISBN 0 86068 552 7

‘The serious study of fashion has repeatedly had to justify itself,’ observes Elizabeth Wilson in the introduction to Adorned in Dreams, a study of fashion which, in itself, may help to render such justifications redundant; her book is the best I have read on the subject, bar none. Fashion is part of social practice: it is an industry whose demands have helped to shape modern history, and choosing our clothes is the nearest most of us will ever get to practical aesthetics. Yet analysis of this hybrid phenomenon has largely been left to the copy-writer and the pop psychologist, so that the subject may appear trivial because it has been endlessly trivialised.

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[*] Virago, 1981.