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Carnival to Catwalk: Global Reflections on Fancy Dress Costume

Benjamin Linley Wild



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Bloomsbury Visual Arts
06 February 2020
History of fashion; Social & cultural history; Fashion & society
From West African masquerades to Venetian carnivals and New York society galas, fancy dress has long been used to convey important social and political messages. The only form of clothing that all people, regardless of gender, race, class or sexuality are likely to wear at some point in their lives, fancy dress is a symbol of both escapism and protest; it stands for a vision of fantasy and fun, while also confronting the reality of cultural stereotypes.

Exploring all the allure, playfulness and daring of dressing up, Carnival to Catwalk takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the global history of fancy dress. Drawing on a treasure-trove of textual and visual resources, the book encompasses Halloween festivities and transvestite clubs, Mardi Gras parades and gatherings at Versailles, revealing how fancy dress has long been used to celebrate as well as to disguise individual identity.

Vividly chronicling evidence from the Middle Ages to the modern day, cultural historian Benjamin Wild throws open the historical dressing-up box and demonstrates the enduring appeal of fancy dress, as it becomes an increasingly central part of modern couture and clothing design. Meticulously researched and beautifully illustrated, Carnival to Catwalk is a remarkable resource for scholars, students and costume enthusiasts alike.
By:   Benjamin Linley Wild
Imprint:   Bloomsbury Visual Arts
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 246mm,  Width: 189mm, 
ISBN:   9781350024694
ISBN 10:   1350024694
Pages:   224
Publication Date:   06 February 2020
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Benjamin Linley Wild is a cultural historian who writes and lectures about the history of dress. He is Lecturer in Contextual Studies (Fashion) at The Manchester Fashion Institute, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. He has published widely on the subject of fashion and material culture. He is the author of A Life in Fashion: The Wardrobe of Cecil Beaton (2016).

Reviews for Carnival to Catwalk: Global Reflections on Fancy Dress Costume

... An eloquent overview of a topic that is all too often overlooked in fashion studies. Wild provides thoughtful social, political, and personal connections that underscore the broad significance of fancy dress throughout history and today. * Colleen Hill, Curator of Costume and Accessories, The Museum at FIT, USA * Wild has made an enormous contribution to the study of dress by bringing fancy dress to the forefront of scholarship. Often considered too frivolous for serious study, Wild demonstrates that fancy dress is a strategy used by people around the world and over time, to make sense of changing times. * Sandra Lee Evenson, University of Idaho, USA * Benjamin Wild's transnational study of fancy dress costumes and their sociohistorical contexts is an impressive feat of scholarly synthesis. Wild's case studies-ranging from royalty to renegades, from playful costumes to purposeful masks-illustrate the enduring mystique and ambivalent cultural value of fancy dress across the centuries. * Colleen McQuillen, University of Southern California, USA *

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