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Tilting the day

Lisa Cohen: Writing about Clothes, 7 November 2019

Dressed: The Secret Life of Clothes 
by Shahidha Bari.
Cape, 312 pp., £25, June 2019, 978 1 78733 149 5
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... 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 ...

Clothes were everything to me

Lisa Cohen: Bill Cunningham, 25 October 2018

Fashion Climbing: A New York Life 
by Bill Cunningham.
Chatto, 256 pp., £16.99, October 2018, 978 1 78474 281 2
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... 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 dress ...

You better not tell me you forgot

Terry Castle: How to Spot Members of the Tribe, 27 September 2012

All We Know: Three Lives 
by Lisa Cohen.
Farrar Straus, 429 pp., £22.50, July 2012, 978 0 374 17649 5
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... is a visibility so tenuous, so different, or so discomfited that it is easy to miss,’ Lisa Cohen observes in All We Know, and, contrariwise, ‘a visibility so simple, so precise, or so extreme that it, too, is obscure.’ Why do we see what we see? Why do we fail to see what others see? Can we see things before they are ready to be seen? Can ...

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