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Fade to Greige

Writing about fashion by Angela Carter, Rosemary Hill, E.S. Turner, Elaine Showalter, John Harvey and Alice Spawls.

Angela Carter on the latest thing

Angela Carter, 5 December 1985

Women do love to dress up, and also to dress down: we dress to cheer ourselves up, to reward ourselves, to transform ourselves, to amuse ourselves, to incur the admiration and/or envy of other women, to pass unnoticed in the crowd, to pass messages about ourselves, to pass the time.

It was in the popular Modernism of the interwar years, when so many men had died and women consequently found themselves with more room to manoeuvre in society, that the particular compound of woman + clothes, Woolf’s ‘frock consciousness’, became a significant aspect of female experience, a colour on the writer’s palette, a possible agent in a narrative.

Wrong Trowsers

E.S. Turner, 21 July 1994

 In recent times ‘suit’ has been one of the dirtiest of four-letter words, especially if grey, or if worn by a BBC boss and cut by Armani. But we have now reached a point where any sensible ram-raider or child-strangler is careful to wear a suit in the dock; and a suit is not unknown at a terrorist’s funeral.

Giorgio Armani

Elaine Showalter, 4 January 2001

But who is to know whether your garments are jumble-sale ‘finds’, or luxury items in the ‘pauperist’ style bought off the peg at Harvey Nicks?

Men’s fashion

John Harvey, 7 May 1998

One men’s jacket by Vivienne Westwood is an exaggerated male torso made of tinted pearls, while another is made of coloured ostrich feathers. There is a man in a plastic blue and yellow space jacket, with fins instead of cuffs and epaulettes. 

Does one flare or cling?

Alice Spawls, 4 May 2016

That British Vogue has reached its hundredth year is no surprise when one looks at its record. Readership figures have always been strong; above 100,000 for most of its existence.

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