Lisa Cohen

Lisa Cohen’s All We Know: Three Lives was reviewed here by Terry Castle.

Drama of the Gowns

Lisa Cohen, 22 April 2021

Foralmost thirty years, I have stored in my small New York apartment clothes that belonged to my grandmother. An unlined shirt-jacket of raw silk, brilliant green, that she sewed in the 1960s or 1970s, and that still holds something of the way she held herself. Three of her coats: a two-colour bouclé with a delicate ivory silk lining; the others black and more practical. They fit,...

Tilting the day: Writing about Clothes

Lisa Cohen, 7 November 2019

‘About​ clothes, it’s awful,’ the protagonist thinks in Jean Rhys’s novel Voyage in the Dark (1934).

Everything makes you want pretty clothes like hell. People laugh at girls who are badly dressed … And the shop-windows sneering and smiling in your face. And then you look at the skirt of your costume, all crumpled at the back. And your hideous underclothes....

A small boy​, four years old, ‘parading around’ in his sister’s ‘prettiest dress’, blissfully happy, until: ‘My mother beat the hell out of me, and threatened every bone in my uninhibited body if I wore girls’ clothes again.’ He wept, but did not fail to note where his tears fell: ‘all over the pink organdy full-skirted...

The lives of Esther Murphy, Mercedes de Acosta and Madge Garland were at once hard to see and hard to miss.

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