You Should Be Reading: Lights, Camera, Fashion!!!

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Here are some journal articles relatively hot off the press that you should consider adding to your reading list:

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1.  Brevik-Zender, Heidi. Let Them Wear Manolos: Fashion, Walter Benjamin, and Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette.”  Camera Obscura, Volume 26, Number 3 78, 2011, 1-33.

Sofia Coppola’s film Marie Antoinette (US, 2006) is about fashion and the construction of feminine identity — but not those of ancien-régime France. Rather, it is a modern consideration of contemporary sartorial networks that reflects an ironic twenty-first-century attitude that the filmmaker has come herself to represent. The film’s modernity lies more interestingly in the way in which its self-conscious reinterpretation of linear history makes it a successful expression of the modernity theorized by Walter Benjamin. Fashion is a crucial signifier that enables Benjamin to articulate the temporal instability that is, for him, constitutive of modernity; fashion is also a vital tool used by Coppola to overlap her life with the modern Marie Antoinette that she creates in her film. Yet despite Coppola’s prominence as a contemporary maker of style, her insistence on her primary role as maker of movies invites us to read her interpretation of the life of the Austrian dauphine as a commentary on her own experience as a contemporary woman filmmaker, one that has proven to be as problematic as Marie Antoinette’s eighteenth-century experience as the queen of France. -Excerpt from Article Abstract



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2. Richardson, Niall.  “Fashionable ‘Fags’ and Stylish ‘Sissies:’ The Representation of Stanford in Sex and the City and Nigel in The Devil Wears Prada.” Film, Fashion & Consumption, Volume 1, Number 2, February 2012 , pp. 137-157.

This paper considers the representation of Stanford in Sex and the City and Nigel in The Devil Wears Prada and analyzes whether or not they differ from the early stereotypes of homosexuality portrayed in Hollywood narrative cinema. The paper will argue that these stereotypes play an important role as defining others for the female leads, especially in relation to fashion. Both Sex and the City and The Devil Wears Prada can be described as ‘fashion films’ in that they are pro-fashion texts, proclaiming the joy and pleasure that fashion and consumption can offer the post-feminist, metropolitan woman. However, while both the leading female characters and the gay men demonstrate a love of fashion, the women’s consumption of designer clothes is represented in the film texts as making them more ‘attractive’ while the gay men’s adoration of fashion has the very opposite effect. –Full Article Abstract


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3.  Osmond, Suzanne.  “‘Her Infinite Variety:’ Representations of Shakespeare’s Cleopatra in Fashion, Film and Theatre.” Film, Fashion & Consumption, Volume 1, Number 1, January 2011 , pp. 55-79.  Article is Free! Click above link.

The `Cleopatra look’ has recurred regularly in fashion marketing, advertising, masquerade balls, fashion trends and in the salons and catwalk shows of haute couture since the beginning of the twentieth century. The `look’ embraces the kitsch spectacle of excessive opulence associated with the stereotypical Orientalist image of Ancient Egypt: that of palm trees, pyramids and odalisques. It also reflects the various cultural attitudes to female power and the seductive exotic `Other’ that have consistently pervaded western societies in the last two centuries. This article extends on the contribution which feminist scholarship has made to the way in which the female body generates meaning in film, literature and fashion. It focuses on theatrical performance, as well as on representations of Cleopatra in film and fashion. -Excerpt from Article Abstract

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