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Fashion at the Edge: Spectacle, Modernity, and Deathliness Paperback – December 13, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An academic treatise that's beautiful enough to be a coffee table book, Evans's study argues that during the 1990s avant garde fashion was "permeated by images of death, disease and dereliction." Evans consciously focuses her work on one thread of the fashion world: the edgy costumes of designers like Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Hussein Chalayan and Viktor & Rolf. Theoretically, however, she recognizes no boundaries: her treatise incorporates the disparate works of Walter Benjamin, Charles Baudelaire, T.S. Eliot, Karl Marx, Elizabeth Wilson, Simone de Beauvoir and many, many others. The result is a complex and provocative text, one that displays both the substantial intellect and practical curiosity of its author.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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"Evans grapples with extremely interesting issues, such as why fashion imagery has become so dark and decadent. Her choice of contemporary fashion imagery--and her juxtaposition of these images with similar themes in art--is brilliant."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 334 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 2 edition (December 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300124678
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300124675
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Caroline Evans has written an important book that explores the work of cutting-edge designers of the 1990s such as Martin Margiela, Hussein Chalayan, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Viktor & Rolf. The book's subtitle - "Spectacle, Modernity and Deathliness" - sums up the author's focus on the underside of fashion. Evans acknowledges that much of the fashion featured in this book was "economically negligible", arguing that its cultural import is of greater significance. She explores how designers of the 90s consciously or unconsciously explored the dark history of the 20th century through their work, with death, trauma, cruelty, and horror as recurring themes.
Where is this all leading? The conclusions are doom-laden but fascinating. British designers, with their focus on "gothic fashion", may represent the ghost or shadow of rational American designers. Creatively, Evans posits a bleak future for fashion "doomed to ricochet between modernist experimentation and dark despair." In a memorable line, Evans writes: "Now, more than ever, everything new and beautiful seems to arrive already haunted by its own demise." The financial insecurity of many of these designers in their early days may have fuelled their creativity. They were, as designer and teacher Fabio Piras put it, "fashion desperadoes". This book is full of illuminating insights that put fashion design at the core of our culture, expressing our deepest concerns.
Outstandingly researched, beautifully illustrated, and thrillingly authoritative, Fashion at the Edge may prove to be the definitive book on the generation of designers from London and Antwerp who came to prominence in the 1990s.
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Format: Hardcover
The photographs, stories of design history and research in this book are phenonmenal. This is a great book to inspire, shock and mesmerize. It is my most recent favorite in my costume research collection.
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By pearl on November 14, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i really love the photo references especially in reference to the text. this is a book about some of the darker edges of fashion and designers ideas. delves much more into the artistic side of fashion. broken up into aptly interesting titles as well as tight ideas well expressed. im really happy i bought this. one of my fav purchases in recent history.
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