Anne Hollander’s books include Seeing Through Clothes, Sex and Suits, and Feeding the Eye. Fabric of Vision: Dress and Drapery in Painting, a companion book for the upcoming exhibition at the National Gallery in London, will be published this spring. (February 2002)

Absolutely Fabulous

You could say that Western fashion arose in the late Middle Ages to be the enemy of beauty in clothing. Many people seemed to think so from the beginning. Since the late fourteenth century, new modes in the European dress of both sexes were the target of disapproval and derision, …

Rags

Alison Lurie has speculated in some of her essays on the ways dress can be understood as a language, and she presumably intends to show how in The Language of Clothes. She begins, after a preliminary bow to semiology, by analogizing the parts of dress to the parts of speech …

A Tight Squeeze

David Kunzle has chosen an awkward moment to write seriously and in detail about corsets and tight-lacing. We are living in a period when, as he allows in his preface, the practice is viewed “as one of the quintessential Victorian social horrors, the forcing of young females into narrow corsets …