This illustrated survey of 600 years of fashion investigates its cultural and social meanings from medieval Europe to 20th-century America. It provides a guide to the changes in style and taste, and challenges existing fashion histories, showing that clothes have always played a pivotal role in defining a sense of identity and society, especially when concerned with sexual and body politics. With a chronological structure, each chapter focuses on both male and female fashion of a specific period, covering its fascinating developments. It discusses: androgynous dressing; body piercing; fabrics, clothing and the rise of city life; dress, and the changing shape of the human body; controversies surrounding trousers and leg wear for both men and women; exposure of flesh; fashion and social status; and the dissemination of fashion through travel, film, magazines and catwalk shows. -- .
Medieval period - fashioning the body; Renaissance - the rhetoric of power; 17th century - clothing and crisis; 18th century - clothing and commerce; 19th century - fashion and modernity; early 20th century - clothing the masses; late 20th century - catwalk and street style.