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Real women stay at home

Anne Hollander, 12 July 1990

Laura Ashley: A Life by Design 
by Anne Sebba.
Weidenfeld, 207 pp., £15, May 1990, 0 297 81044 8
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... reaping the profits of a business. To accomplish this double manoeuvre, as we learn from Anne Sebba’s book, she had to find a man who would not only be a clever business partner but a dominating sort of husband, for whom she could play The Angel while managing refractory children household and business accounts, creative projects and inner ...

How he got out of them

Anne Hollander, 24 September 1992

Kafka’s Clothes: Ornament and Aestheticism in the Habsburg ‘Fin-de-Siècle’ 
by Mark Anderson.
Oxford, 231 pp., £30, May 1992, 0 19 815162 4
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... The jacket photo​ for Kafka’s Clothes shows him without any, sitting tailor-fashion on a beach, smiling above naked shoulders and a thin chest, the prominent ears rhyming with prominent bony knees. His swimming trunks are obscured in shadow. It’s not at all the stiff-collared, well-buttoned Kafka we’re used to, and the one introduced in the interior of this study is also unfamiliar ...


Peter Wollen, 19 October 1995

Sex and Suits 
by Anne Hollander.
Knopf, 212 pp., $25, September 1994, 0 679 43096 2
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... in traditional obscurity. The story of modern male fashion – and that is the core of Anne Hollander’s provocative book – begins, emblematically, with Beau Brummell, who wore the clothes rather than made them. His tailors were Schweitzer and Davidson in Cork Street, Meyer in Conduit Street and then Weston in Old Bond Street, ur-tailors ...

How not to be disgusting

Anne Hollander, 6 December 1990

Coco Chanel: A Biography 
by Axel Madsen.
Bloomsbury, 388 pp., £20, October 1990, 0 7475 0762 7
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... creations that could only bring her fame on the backs of other women. Madeleine Vionnet and Jeanne Lanvin, who had both undergone serious apprenticeship in the couture, did that: but Chanel insisted that couture was not an art and it certainly did not demand an artist’s brand of solitary devotion. Rather, she managed to promote her business from the ...

Just How It was

Anne Hollander: The work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, 7 May 1998

Tête à Tête: Portraits by Henri Cartier-Bresson 
edited by E.H. Gombrich.
Thames and Hudson, 144 pp., £32, February 1998, 9780500542187
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Henri Cartier-Bresson: Europeans 
edited by Jean Clair.
Thames and Hudson, 231 pp., £29.95, January 1998, 0 500 28052 5
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... Like Titian’s, Cartier-Bresson’s work began as the mirror of one epoch and is ending as that of another, simply because he invented the best mirror and kept polishing it Cartier-Bresson’s influence has been immense since his beginnings, not just on photography but on cinema and photojournalism, so that he has been largely responsible for 20th-century notions of what a superior realistic camera image should look like ...


Anne Hollander, 10 March 1994

Life into Art: Isadora Duncan and Her World 
edited by Dorée Duncan, Carol Pratl and Cynthia Splatt.
Norton, 198 pp., £25, November 1993, 0 393 03507 7
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... of the human body put her in the same camp as Winckelmann, but at a considerable distance from Cézanne – closer, in fact, to Gérôme and Alma-Tadema. Nevertheless her performances, which could seem so formless to the artistic avant-garde, so unseemly to staid audiences, were undeniably beautiful, beyond criticism from either side. The movements, however ...

God in the Body

Anne Hollander, 25 January 1996

Cahiers: Le Sentiment 
by Nijinsky, translated into French by Christian Dumais-Lvorski and Galina Pogojeva.
Actes Sud, 300 pp., frs 140, January 1995, 2 7427 0314 4
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... This book is a cry of pure pain, immensely difficult to read without groaning and sometimes weeping and getting up to pace the floor. Its flavour is aptly illustrated by the shocking jacket photograph of Nijinsky undergoing a catatonic seizure at the age of 37, about eight years after he wrote this text. With his necktie neatly knotted, his face shaven and his hair combed, hands curled up, the greatest dancer of his epoch – some say of any epoch – stares into the lens with a horrifying sacrificial patience ...

His Own Private Armenia

Anne Hollander: Arshile Gorky, 1 April 2004

Arshile Gorky: His Life and Work 
by Hayden Herrera.
Bloomsbury, 767 pp., £35, October 2003, 9780747566472
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Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective of Drawings 
edited by Janie Lee and Melvin Lader.
Abrams, 272 pp., £30, December 2003, 0 87427 135 5
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... discovered in his own pictures, while using the methods of modern painters as working models. Cézanne was the greatest artist who ever lived, he would say. He meant that Cézanne had thoroughly understood and assimilated the basic principles of his predecessors and used them to build his own utterly new work, as if to show ...

Without Looking

Anne Hollander, 3 August 1995

The Empire of Fashion: Dressing Modern Democracy 
by Gilles Lipovetsky, translated by Catherine Porter.
Princeton, 276 pp., £19.95, December 1994, 0 691 03373 0
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... and publicists at eclipsed or outgoing styles, not current ones. After the market economy had annexed the movement of fashionable change, new modes began to be promoted as obvious aesthetic improvements over old ones, and natural shifts in collective visual taste had to be flattered as signs of superior judgment, even moral judgment. Former clarity had to ...

Killing Stripes

Christopher Turner: Suits, 31 May 2017

Sex and Suits: The Evolution of Modern Dress 
by Anne Hollander.
Bloomsbury, reissue, 158 pp., £19.99, August 2016, 978 1 4742 5065 8
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The Suit: Form, Function and Style 
by Christopher Breward.
Reaktion, 240 pp., £18, May 2016, 978 1 78023 523 3
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... rabbis, courtroom defendants and wedding grooms. Breward describes it as the ‘uniform of modern manners’, a clear marker of standards being upheld, whatever your class or political persuasion. But why on earth do men still wear suits, a vestige of an earlier age, seeing in such dress a confident symbol of masculine sexuality and pride? ...

No Fol-de-Rols

Margaret Anne Doody: Men in suits, 14 November 2002

The Three-Piece Suit and Modern Masculinity: England 1550-1850 
by David Kuchta.
California, 299 pp., £29.95, May 2002, 0 520 21493 5
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... just the military officer with his red coat and sword who allured with dangerous attractions. Anne Hollander has pointed out in Seeing through Clothes that the male body, as presented in the fashions of the 18th century and the Regency, is crotch-centred. Breeches – in their beautiful unpractical light colours of fawn or yellow or grey or white ...

As Good as Nude

Anne Hollander: Women in White, 6 April 2006

Dressed in Fiction 
by Clair Hughes.
Berg, 214 pp., £17.99, December 2005, 1 84520 172 8
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... what anyone is wearing but filters it through another character’s perception. In this way, all manner of impulses – admiration, contempt, satisfaction, dismay, envy, condescension, indifference – are channelled through the smallest references. Austen’s letters reveal that she was endlessly interested in dress, and ...

Perfectly dressed

Peter Campbell, 7 November 1991

Moving Pictures 
by Anne Hollander.
Harvard, 512 pp., £15, April 1991, 0 674 58828 2
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... in attribution, no proof of forgery, can force the removal or inclusion of a particular image. Anne Hollander’s Moving Pictures is a rarity: a convincing new way of sorting post-1500 European and American paintings – into the cinematic and the non-cinematic. In explaining how the set of images she identifies as cinematic relate to our experience ...

Slicing and Mauling

Anne Hollander: The Art of War, 6 November 2003

From Criminal to Courtier: The Soldier in Netherlandish Art 1550-1672 
by David Kunzle.
Brill, 645 pp., £64, November 2002, 90 04 12369 5
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... it’s the Imperial Habsburg soldiery, defined by the red of their scarves, garments or banners, who are painted slicing into infants and mauling their mothers. Kunzle likes to find instances of female resistance – women biting soldiers, scratching their eyes, trying to bash them on the head before the aimed pike hits the baby. Men always seem to ...

Diamonds on your collarbone

Anne Hollander, 10 September 1992

Martha: The Life and Work of Martha Graham 
by Agnes DeMille.
Hutchinson, 509 pp., £20, April 1992, 0 09 175219 1
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Blood Memory: An Autobiography 
by Martha Graham.
Macmillan, 279 pp., £20, March 1992, 0 333 57441 9
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... recovered, gave up drink, re-dyed her hair and had her face lifted; but without the ability to channel her work through her own flesh, she swiftly became an icon and an institution and remained so for more than twenty years, making appearances, raising money, receiving honours and inventing new ballets for a perpetually rejuvenated company, in a changed ...

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