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Frock Consciousness

Rosemary Hill: Fashion and frocks

20 January 2000
The Penguin Book of 20th-Century Fashion Writing 
edited by Judith Watt.
Viking, 360 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 670 88215 1
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Twentieth-Century Fashion 
by Valerie Mendes and Amy de​ la Haye.
Thames and Hudson, 288 pp., £8.95, November 1999, 0 500 20321 0
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A Century of Fashion 
by François Baudot.
Thames and Hudson, 400 pp., £19.95, November 1999, 0 500 28178 5
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The Hidden Consumer: Masculinities, Fashion and City Life 1860-1914 
by Christopher Breward.
Manchester, 278 pp., £45, September 1999, 0 7190 4799 4
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Black in Fashion 
by Valerie Mendes.
Victoria & Albert Museum, 144 pp., £35, October 1999, 1 85177 278 2
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... books which purport to be about some universal aspect of human experience but turn out, on closer inspection, to be mostly about men. In the glass of fashion, however, all is reversed. Mendes and de la Haye write in their introduction that fashion is ‘an indicator of individual, group and sexual identity’ whose ‘fluidity reflects shifts in the social matrix’; yet of the 280 illustrations ...

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