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Color speaks a powerful cultural language, conveying political, sexual, and economic messages that, throughout history, have revealed how we relate to ourselves and our world. This ground-breaking compilation is the first to investigate how color in fashionable and ceremonial dress has played a significant social role, indicating acceptance and exclusion, convention and subversion.
From white used for pioneering feminism to the penchant for black in post-war France, and from mystical scarlet broadcloth to the horrors of arsenic-laden green fashion, this publication demonstrates that color in dress is never straightforward and is as mutable, nuanced, and varied as color itself. Divided into four thematic parts – solidarity, power, innovation, and desire – each section highlights the often violent, emotional histories of color in dress across geographical, temporal and cultural boundaries. Underlying today's relaxed attitude to color lies a chromatic complexity that speaks of wars, migrations and economics.
While acknowledging the importance that technology has played in the development of new dyes, the chapters explore color as a catalyst for technical innovation that continues to inspire designers, artists, and performers. Bringing together cutting-edge contributions from leading scholars, it is essential reading for academics of fashion, textiles, design, cultural studies and art history.