Book Review: Writing Fashion in Early Modern Italy by Eugenia Paulicelli

The sartorial splendor described in Eugenia Paulicelli’s Writing Fashion in Early Modern Italy seems cut from a Tim Burtonesque wonderland—perfumed horses, courtesans draped in yellow veils, “gigantesses” perched precariously on mammoth chopines and sleek, black-clad courtiers crossing a Venetian square with graceful nonchalance. It’s a cinematic world, the inhabitants ever so conscious of their visual impact and driven by, as the author explains, “the awareness …

Anarchists of Style: Baronness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

The Baronness is not a futurist. She is the future. —Marcel Duchamp (Following is a repost of an article that first appeared in December, 2008) The Anarchist: The Dada artist, Baronness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven Her Ideals: Ironically, for a woman who once said, “I did not acknowledge children,”[1] The New York Times calls this poet, artist, model and denizen of the art worlds of Paris, …

Anarchists of Style: Yulia Tymoshenko

  It has been described as a “golden crown, a rococo flourish that sets her far apart from the jowly men she has challenged.”  And in fact this crown—the braid that adorns Yulia Tymoshenko, who played a key role in the overthrow of the post-Soviet government in Kiev—was a style calculated to appeal to Ukrainians during the Orange Revolution of 2004-2005.     The braid …

Anarchists of Style: The Masaai Cricket Warriors

    It was a decidedly unexpected visual from a Downton Abbey-esque sport. During the September 2013 Last Man Stands World Championships, an amateur cricket tournament held this year in England, the competition included an exceptionally colorful team—the Masaai Cricket Warriors. Eschewing the “whites” customary to the game, the team opted to follow its own tradition: wearing bright red shukas wrapped around the waist and …

Anarchists of Style: Iris Apfel

  Iris Apfel is fantasy made real. Adorned in full glory, she’s an unadulterated, unabashed expression of joie de vivre; an apostle of personal style whistling “boo” to limitations—prancing across cultural boundaries; dancing on the grave of ageism; flipping a jeweled bird at minimalism. She is a celebration of exceptional taste and the soaring freedom of fantasy. As designer Duro Olowu puts it, “fashion is …

Anarchists of Style: Bella Abzug

The week of primary elections in New York City seems an apt time to pay tribute to Congresswoman, founding feminist, one-time mayoral hopeful and Anarchist of Style, Bella Abzug. (In fact, the unruly “cast of characters” in current mayoral race is being compared with that of 1977, when Abzug lost the Democratic primary to Ed Koch.) Although it seems an outrageous leap for a politician …

Anarchists of Style: Nancy Cunard

  When is a bracelet more than a bracelet? When worn, en masse, by Nancy Cunard (1896-1965), a jazz-age beauty who came to be known for much more than her dramatic presence. Ultimately, the fashion world appropriated Cunard’s signature style—stacks of wood, bone, and ivory bangles collected during her world travels—calling it “the barbaric look.” But if the look was aggressive, more so indeed was …

Anarchists of Style: Nancy Cunard

  When is a bracelet more than a bracelet? When worn, en masse, by Nancy Cunard (1896-1965), a jazz-age beauty who came to be known for much more than her dramatic presence. Ultimately, the fashion world appropriated Cunard’s signature style—stacks of wood, bone, and ivory bangles collected during her world travels—calling it “the barbaric look.” But if the look was aggressive, more so indeed was …

Anarchists of Style (Or Not?): The Chevalier d’Eon

  There’s a saying in diagnostic medicine, “sometimes a zebra is just a zebra, and sometimes it’s a white horse with stripes.” Surprisingly, a similar logic was required to answer a seemingly obvious question. Is an 18th century French diplomat who spent the last three decades of his life dressing as a woman an anarchist of style? One would think that whatever his story, he …

Museum Review: Behind the Screen at the Museum of the Moving Image

What resonates in Behind the Screen, MMI’s ongoing exhibition, is the attention to craft, image and how these permeate social history. “The museum is not just about art or artistic value,” explains collection curator Barbara Miller, “Our job is to draw the curtain on the Wizard of Oz and see what’s going on.” With that aim, objects are chosen “to add to the story about …

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Available now: Punk Style by Worn Through founder, Monica Sklar, PhD. Find it at : Amazon.com, Powell's Books, or a bookseller near you.