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Fashion Concept. Apperception of aesthetical
signs.
Victor Aquino, 2001, 2006
WEA Books & Publishing Inc.
Monroe, LA USA

All rights reserved. Inquires should be addressed directly to
World Editions of America, Books & Publishing Inc,

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94 Elm St, Monroe, Louisiana 71201 USA

I

Lots of people, when discussing fashion,
still tend to associate this to four basic items:
modern clothing, new clothing, nice clothing,
and expensive clothing, all related to a specific
article of clothing. And those who share the
same thoughts, the ones who often function as
a reference guide to the object at issue, regard
to a specific class of user whose features
coincide to tastes and wear styles as many
famous people all over the world.

It shall not be mentioned, however, that
the informal way of defining fashion, or refer to
its users, mainly those from the artistic
environment, that is entirely false, rarely true.
One thing that is strongly pointed out, notably

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from data recently available about this matter,
is the capability fashion has on awakening
people interests, even among those who seem
not to be interested in it at all.

Over the last few years, because of what
advertising transformations has been
apparently going through, causing the
impression that announcements and campaigns
have turned into truthful “small shows”, fashion
has played an important role among them.
Fashion has practically assumed the function of
being present time identifier, and of such
important to the trademark that, above all,
shall be considered contemporaneous. Its role,
notably by the clothes wore by the ones who
play a role in its release, become vital to the
identification of present time invariable
circumstance because it is not only the
merchandises presented in these
announcements and campaigns only, but also
the whole universe of image that shall be from
present-day.

However, nothing has been more
adequate to showing present-day then the use
of clothes, whose modernity features links to
today's fashion. That is the reason why this
stratagem resort is verified in all advertisement.
Voluntarily and involuntarily, advertising
campaigns (of any product or service) make
use of human figures wearing clothes cut,

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colors and modern patterns. And the relation of
advertising message to contemporaneous, when
it suits, is established throughout this action.

If publicity turned itself into being a kind
of entertainment also, in which the meaning of
the advertisement converts itself to a small
show, fashion has contributed to modifying the
real meaning of clothes as well. And from being
a wrap only, nice or not, new, old, or expensive,
fashion has always been associated more to the
wear need that everyone has than to the
meaning of what is assumed from that which
understood as absorption of fashion real
meaning.

Such absorption occurs, above all, from
the role fashion has as merchandise because in
such nature, fashion plays the role of being
consumed and, for that to happen, it needs to
be permanently redone. And that gets to such
an extent that no one, no consumer, is entirely
satisfied with the clothes they already have.
Consumption, however, becomes fashion
greatest justification stand. Yet, not only
fashion, but also publicity are all independent
processes. And the relation among those occurs
strictly in the consumption level only, from
something that is beyond clothes.

This paper, when accomplished, due to
the first proofreading of the work entitled the

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same, published by CEM/Livros, also coincide
with the ending of the homonymous research,
accomplished between 1996 and 1999 at ECA -
Escola de Comunicacoes e Artes (Art and
Communication School) at USP. Practically
during all efforts when collecting data, in
constant massive meetings with members of
the task group, the main trouble during all this
project regarded bibliographic options available
about this matter. Often, discussions points
were predominant during those meetings: what
would be the nature of the tasks whose
readings always refer to conclusions of specific
nature and which are beyond the issue fashion,
so to speak?

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II

Beginning with the title that appeared in
Brazil before the 80's, and that today is of little
used in specific fashion studies, there are, alike,
works that arose in the country, itself which are
destined to the information of non technical
content. Besides, among these and many other
similar works, the one from the author himself
shall be mentioned. Some of these master
thesis and dissertation, as sporadic articles in
several publications, are as lacking in study
assignment as in using fashion as a working
field.

Strictly in the market diffusion field, this
field is occupied by publicity, a field that
publicity itself has played different roles,
fashion is, more and more, exerting a mediating
function of the human being contemporaneous
images. This has been evident, as perceived

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from the utilization of announcements and
campaigns “characters” marked by a visual
unmistakably contemporaneous. Such visual, of
course, is identified by the use of clothes whose
form corresponds to cut, colors and modern
patterns, a relation that, of course, is
associated to a contemporary pattern to be
flowed by fashion.

Thus, it shall be mentioned that it has
been through clothes that publicity establishes
its insertion in the limits of modernity. And,
likewise, it has been through publicity that
fashion is promoted to play a supporting role in
marketing process, which makes it to be
associated more and more to an utilitarian
purpose of a marketing instrument, its more
modern entertainment function.

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III

Fashion is a transitory incorporation
process of patterns and models of clothes,
which occurs in a cultural transition determined
by the velocity of elements, that come in and
out of people daily lives. These elements, or
attributes, numbered in thirteen, are conjugate
among themselves according to the
predisposition in which, voluntarily or
involuntarily, creators, raw material producers,
dealers, brands, and users, all of those interact.
Such attributes, which includes clothes cultural,
social and behavioral nature, however,
determine the aesthetic pattern from those it is
created, produced, marketed and used.

The attributes that interferes in the
clothes pattern and models transitory
incorporation process, as it is established,
interactively, a meaning to utility of the term

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fashion, also condition the respective process.
They are: (1) fantasy, (2) rupture, (3)
newness, (4) youth, (5) modernity, (6)
originality, (7) transitoriness, (8) triviality, (9)
luxury, (10) beauté, (11) style, (12) utility,
(13) consumption idealization. However, it
happens that these attributes activate fashion
generating process, no matter who or what
creates it, they also arise conditioned by
correspondent functions which emerge from
their own circumstances that makes them to
interact to themselves.

Fashion is a transitory incorporation
process of clothes patterns and models, guided
by thirteen distinct attributes: (1) fantasy,
(2) rupture, (3) newness, (4) youth, (5)
modernity, (6) originality, (7)
transitoriness, (8) triviality, (9) luxury, (10)
“beauté”, ( 11) style, (12) utility, (13)
consumption idealization.

(1) “Fantasy” While Lifestyle

A constant among fashion writers,
specially among those who published their
works by early the 90's, that is the relation they
do between this and history habits. However,

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fashion is, when considered modernity,
conceived from the definition now outlined,
corroborated by the transitoriness in which it
comes in and out in the consumers’ idealization
context.

Although some writes, like Breward, for
instance, consider that there are connections
between fashion and the manipulation of the
human identification by clothes, we shall never,
of any kind whatsoever, infer a consumption
“idealization constant” in the middle age, in the
renaissance or even in the early 20's due to
some references that would conduct to
imitation on the clothes use. Although this
would have happened, the permanence of
patterns and the nonexistence of productive
processes, which would allow renewal creation
in contemporaneous patterns, beyond
competition of the whole marketing process
(including publicity), imposes a modification in
the meaning for the term fashion.

Not only in the “dream” aspect on the
clothes use, but also in the “funky” aspect,
very peculiar comprehension is established and
that is the idealization universe from
consumers. As perceived, idealization and
fantasy are separated by a thin line, nearly
unnoticeable. Fantasy is nearly a projection of
itself over the context of one other, when
idealization is the context incorporation of the

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other when choosing and purchasing a piece of
clothes. In this particular matter, as deduced
from Elements of Style, fashion can be one
alternative or the other.

(2) Rupture While Signalization Of Changes

Nothing happens just by any chance, not
even the maybes and perhaps. Everything is
positively transformed into selling impulses,
turned over to trademarks advantages,
material, colors, patterns, designer names,
type, and styles. By the end of each item cycle,
everything converge to the improvement of a
global process.

One exception, however, shall be made. If
everything converge at the end of each cycle,
for the improvement of commercial
opportunities, as to the improvement of the
whole global process, at its start everything
happens because of divergences. Most of the
time the type and style appearing take place
due to the reaction of the existing standards. It
has been through the aggregation means that
market, when taking these type and styles of

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“protests”, turn itself into models whose
innovation, fantasy, use, and so on, establishes
it while fashion.

The term “style”, much more than the
term “type”, assumes herein the same meaning
of its utilization in art, specially because fashion
representations on its market are no more than
disentailed initiatives of the subsequent
marketing process. Mostly, models creation
(when they are effectively disconnected
creations from the productive system of
collections produced by industries), are result of
designers individual works. Those, when
working on what should be a disconnected
creation from industrial interests, would be
producing art.

“The conception that each new style
represents a reaction to its precedent is
specially plausible to modern artists, whose
works are frequently the answer for another
work that they consider their free projection of
an irreducible personal feeling, but that should
make their style competitive to others, by
having the obsession of originality to their work
as an evidence of their honesty. Besides, the
creators of new patterns in the last century,
nearly had to fight over the ones who used old
fashioned practices; and many historic styles
were formed in conscience opposition to the
other practices - renaissance contra gothic,

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baroque contra mannerism, neoclassic contra
rococo etc”.

Rupture is a manifest that, from initiatives
of one o more creators, determines changes.
Changes in the fashion style is the visible
alteration in the design pattern, material used,
color and so on. Rupture is the modification of
the existing standards. Would rupture be then
the conception of lines that neglects patterns
and definitions of the style on the clothes use?
Yes, because from conceptual modifications that
transform itself to prior generalization of use.
Then, In fashion any change shall be
understood as prior modifications produced by
itself over creators and consumers.

Rupture is, above all, the attribute that
lead fashion to the top of what is new, in short,
no rupture with prior patterns, - therefore “old
fashioned” -, would displace other patterns as
old as familiar.

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(3) “Newness” While Necessity

From a very peculiar point of view,
although Paul Valéry's saying is accepted: “la
mode étant l'imitation de qui veut se distinguer
par celui qui ne veut pas être distingué, il en
résulte quelle change automatiquement”, we
can not deny that fashion is innovation. The
search for what is new, always important on
conducting consumers and creators on seeking
unusual patterns, can be considered as a law
fundamental to fashion.

The development of materials themselves,
allowing the exaltation of newness in the
market, ended up consolidating the principle of
the attribute “newness” in the fashion process.
Actually, this matter has been recalled in some
contemporaneous work about such issue as a
provocative to consumption curiosity that ends
up consolidating - although transitorily - the
consumption of new models.

That is why the newness attribute convert
itself to stratagem when style is related to high
fashion. Often, if lacked of several other
attributes inherent to it, such activity teamed
up to style, which is high fashion, can mistake
when classifying one another, a kind of trap that
has caught many authors into it. It is not for
being high fashion and being associated to
attributes only, such as elegance and (mostly)

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fantasy, that newness holds the meaning of this
attribute. Some authors, however, although not
evidencing this perspective, somehow excepted
the mistake when considering productive
function as chic of the elitist clothes production.

(4) “Youth” While Problem

That which would be considered positive
to a certain point from fashion process,
resulting from the attribute “youth” constant in
elements that lead to creation and clothes
consumption, sometimes is converted into
highly arguable data in the respective study.

Thirty years ago, a seventy-year-old man,
who would have come from the countryside to a
big city, such as Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro,
when facing media, such as television, would
certainly find out a new way of entertainment.
But entertainment for this old man would be
completely dissociated from TV's commercial

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basic function that has always been “selling”. In
this meaning, he would even apprehend
announcements of audio and video, however
not being sensitized by them.

A character in such condition would hardly
be a good audience for TV's commercial
support. He would rarely acquire products of
any kind, assumed any disposition in the
purchasing of products of any nature, touched
by publicity acts.

Such data, very well known not only from
marketing “experts” but also from publicists
dedicated to the understanding of their work
outcome, measured media action over younger
audience. That is, the focusing on publicity
efforts are addressed to a young audiences.
Then, it can be assumed that fashion itself is
bonded to the same age universe.

Likewise, it should come to mind that not
only rupture attributes but also of newness and
modernity are more related to the youth
consumer profile.

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(5) “Modernity” While Circumstance

Present-time is the component that
implies in turning fashion into something “new”.
As expected Baudelaire, “modernity” is the
transitory, breaking, contingent; it is art's
aiming, being the other everlasting and
unchangeable. The concept of
modern/modernity, transmuted onto post
modern/post modernity, in fashion it comes to
be somehow poor to establishing a present-time
condition that is inherent to it. Because of that,
this concept is not going to be discussed herein.

Thus, in which concerns, the attribute of
modernity is also fundamental.
Contemporaneous society configuration, from
its huge urban centers, in “tribes” assumes
characteristics that make it understood by
means of a “hegemony” of present-time.

Often, fashion hegemonic present-time is
part of a creation that is based in youthful
conceptions. Therefore, styles generated upon
the idea of “futurist”, such as “warp”, “cavern”,
“club land” etc., are no more than newness
generation that consolidates respective
fashions.

But newness in fashion shall not be
related to bizarre effects from unusual
incorporations only. Some of them, as we may

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say, resulting from incorporations somehow
considered artificial. Newness might be
committed, for instance, to a certain way of
clothes use. Meaning this, there are terms and
classifications for a series of events.
Expressions such as “casual dress and
corporate success” also as “personal style”,
“causal look”, or “casual wear”, are no more
than the incorporating and reincorporating of
newness. Being modern, in fashion, has nothing
to do to the term “modern”: being actual.

(6) “Originality” While Base

This attribute is the condition in which
fashion is consecrated to being the condition of
the designer's creation. While in industrial
production, being or not resulting from similar
creations, the impact occurs from other
attributes in the designer's creation - that is
responsibility of the stylist him/herself - that is
resulting from what is new and concomitantly
original.

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When checking on clothes invariability
that prevailed up to the 50 an evidence of high
fashion was noticed as being the only way of
market producing impact by the unusual and
newness. Although corresponding market,
reduced and close, has provided social curiosity
throughout creation (while clothes being of
original patterns), the originality demands,
when it takes place, is much more bonded to
dissemination support of the work made than to
the support of its creation so to speak.

Originality, in this meaning, turns to be
fashion foundation. That happens because it is
an attribute that determines the process from a
conceiver. An artist? Mostly yes.

(7) “Transitoriness” While Permanence

On the other hand, “permanence” of
creation in fashion, for being style, is highly
volatile. And what remains from the process is a
near “record” of its transitory importance in the
market of type and styles in use.

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When we read that till World War II the
types of men's clothes were “practically stuck”
in time, we wish to figure out, for sure, what
“stationary” aspect of fashion determines a
condition of nonexistent. Even in nonexistent
fashion, the creation condition of original pieces
does not exist and, consequently, nothing of
transitory.

“La distanza tra “Vogue” e le altre riviste
si nota già nei titoli: sicuramente dietro a tutti
c'è il modello pubblicitario, ma, mentre in
“Vogue” la soluzione è spesso quella del titolo
breve e pulito. (...) Per l'uomo le stesse
accumulazioni puntano molto di più alla
descrizione psicologica, e avremo piuttosto il
tipo “aut”, dal tono molto decisivo: “classico,
elegante, impeccabile, oppure estroverso,
desimpegnato, “new style”.

They are, of course, the originality
conditioning that guarantee, in fashion, any
creation as being real creation. But they are
also, above all this, the conditioning of
transitoriness that certifies new things variation
in the same universe. It means that the ideas of
“classic” and also of “new style” can be, at the
same time, original, stylish and, excessively,
transitory.

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(8) “Triviality” While Consequence

One aspect that constrains when reading,
studying and discussing fashion. It is related to
the “triviality” attribute. Even so, being the
inconvenience circumstance stood out by the
uncomfortable facing this subject in a “least
noble” way, we shall consider that fashion is,
especially for being style, transitory. And being
transitory (there is no way of being off this
attribute), is trivial.

As trivial as the concern to “etiquette” on
what clothes to wear in specific occasions, is
the concern to “elegance when sleeping”. Of
course elegance, in part, surely has to do with
triviality.

However, not all elegance is, necessarily,
trivial. The clothes tonality, cloth type,
garnishes details, hair cut, shoe shape, can be
indicatives of intentional triviality - just like the
“good taste”. Rarely, however, the triviality
attribute that is imputed to the process of
fashion has something to do with this. Insist on
the use of specific ornaments, indispensable
when conducting to a appearance personal
option, can be trivial as long as the consumer
does that to suit the other fashion followers.

It happens that, if the first circumstance,
involving an apparent personal habit (even

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being fashion or not), triviality attribute is not
noticed; but in the second yes. But it is exactly
because of a habit that has nothing to do to
fashion that there is no involvement with it, in
the first one. And precisely because the next
initiative has nothing to do with personal that it
is trivial and, consequently, part of process of
fashion.

It means that it is, in short, from the lack
of trivial habit commitment that it is configured
to the respective attribute, consigning its
practice in meaning of main concept.

(9) “Luxury” While Ornament

Here, a problem can be seen. A problem
of semantics nature. That is not only about
luxury. Luxury itself can be completely
dispensable in fashion, being it generated only
by incorporation and use of materials extremely
expensive (and for this reason inaccessible), or
by the use of brands that, mostly because is

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“not available in the market”, determine
exorbitant prices.

Another main aspect of this attribute is
the relation condition between fashion process
and what breaks this out. Such breakout can be
as originated by the creator of fashion (or
conceiver), the stylist, as by those who embody
top designer names assimilation. Therefore, in
the engagement of the most important designer
names that composes international fashion
scenario today, the most expensive ones, or top
designers who share this stand out condition to
their correspondent Maisons.

Who could possible say that only from its
reading the attributes “luxury” does not stand
out? A simple reading about them reflects what
they really mean: fashion. Thus, “luxury” as
long as elegance, or triviality are important
name components such as Berardi, Blahnik,
Blass, Cox, Farhi, Gianfranco Ferre, Ferretti,
Bella Freud, Dolce & Gabana, Ghost, Guinness,
Versace, Gertrude Stein, Betty Jackson, Janson,
Joseph, Donna Karan, Keogh, La Croix, Ralph
Laurent, Julien Macdonald, MacQueen, Isaac
Mizrahi, Red or Dead, Rykiel, Jil Sander, Paul
Smith, Valentino, Georgina Etzdorf, Wakeley,
Westwood, Calvin Klein.

Isn't it this attribute, “luxury” that will,
with no doubt, represent fashion main

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ornament!? In fact, that is why the creator,
being or not responsible for what is expected so
the clothes become fashion, ends up
characterizing clothes themselves. Market
motive, consumption fidelity circumstance,
process unchangeability intangibility need,
permanence guarantee while process, this
attribute apparently dispensable, is extremely
essential.

(10) “Beauté” While Flavouring

If the previous attribute there is a
problem of semantics, willfully to establish the
term real meaning, this new attribute will not
be any different. The term “beauty” does not
mean much on establishing the meaning of the
attribute that ultimately shall be seen as a
condiment of the process.

“Beauté” synthesize in a high range of
meanings related to creation that, turned into
fashion, becomes the clothes you wear. Or,
best, the clothes used by famous characters

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mostly young and pretty who draw the whole
world attention. And they do that by being what
they are and, likewise, for wearing what they
wear.

When it is said that: “the pleasure for
women in looking at their multifarious images is
recognition that their feminine identity has
always been elusive and somewhere else; men
are finally recognizing that their own dream of
a self-empowered subjectivity is better
conceived of as merely an ideological ruse”, it
shall be added that, being male or female, no
one wishes to look ugly.

This is the reason why all styles shall be
fed of this attribute. Even though the clothes
are hopelessly ugly. Because fashion is fashion,
and the patterns that establish what is pretty or
ugly regarding the clothes wear. Not in its
intrinsic parameter. It means: clothes to be
considered pretty must be engaged to fashion.

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(11) “Style” While Idealization

If no one wishes to look ugly, the way
that leads to becoming pretty then turns out to
be elegance. Elegance that, as seen, is an
essential attribute to fashion process. Thus,
being inserted into fashion for any use that
follows the attributes exposed, people acquire
new conditions that distinguish them among the
ones that are stylish and the other that are not.

Idealize elegance patterns that are world
generalized, no matter the physiologic, ethnic,
cultural, or religious conditions, become a-hard-
to-solve equation for fashion creators.
Therefore, not often consumers themselves will,
generally, adequate themselves to creation
formulated far beyond social and cultural reality
inserted.

More and more people engage this
conflictive world, in which pattern standards
find no average parameters among consumers.
Idealize elegance for others, when these are
millions of people, from different social classes
and originating from many different cultures,
may become to be impossible. Yet,
professionals from the world of fashion have
developed complex systems to generating
models that begin to making use of colors as a
matter of change.

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Blends radical variations so they can be
used indiscriminately is the starting grid for
consumers that no matter their personal
physiologic conditions, idealize pattern and
nominate themselves to being inserted in the
fashion process.

(12) “Use” While Dysfunction

State that this attribute is a result of
marketing conditions can nearly be considered
a heresy. However, fashion has no utilitarian
function at all. Its role is to break out
consumption. In any kind of taste, in any body
built standard, regardless consumers' gender or
age, considering or not its process attribute,
fashion exists today for breaking out and
preserving clothes consumers.

Not taking this into consideration would
not considered heresy. But stupidity.

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“One of the most considerable and
representative areas of popular culture
postmodern theory are style. Although it
remains unorganized in all institutional
meanings, the study of style as a cultural
practice has produced some significant analysis
of postmodernism effects in the more intimate
general and disseminated dimension of
sociocultural lifestyle. Système de la mode, by
Rolan Barthes, was perhaps the first
inspiration attempt to comprehend fashion
functioning as language, with its own rules and
structures; the subsequent works tried to base
themselves in Bathes' findings on explaining
fashion specific patterns in the postmodern
contemporaneous world”.

That is what it has been a repetition of
authors who haven't yet understood that
fashion is a process, like that, inserted in the
market, with the objective of diffuse concepts
and, collaterally, sell the corresponding
merchandise. In this sense subsist a use
dysfunction, because any clothes piece is an
integrand part of a fashion pattern, for this
reason only, is extremely dispensable. Like
fashion disposes of the same transitoriness and
dispensability attributes. That is, it does need
not to be fashion so that clothes are wore;
however, all consumers idealize this apparent
“utility”.

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(13) “Consumption idealization” While Effect
Of The Process

The consumption idealized from any
merchandise is always an artifice, in which the
“consumer is dragged to the fateful objective of
purchasing goods he/she will not use”. For some
persuasive reason, consumers will definitely fall into
the traps “spread by publicity catching the
obligation of dispensability”.

Terms such as “seduction”, “manipulation”,
“disorientation”, present in most works originated
from authors who will never work in operational
marketing activities, represent a logic prejudice; not
against market, but against the human being who,
eventually, is also consumer. And that's because
everyone knows what he/she wants. Depending on
their availability, he/she buys whatever he/she feels
like. Think opposite to this, is also a stupid way of
facing world and a fake will against people.

It is said, however, that the “consumption
idealization” present in the fashion process, is part
of a situation in which the respective consumption
maintains this activity cycle. Also, does not matter
much the nature of the model consumed because
what it really matter is that act of purchasing is
somehow frequent so it justifies the process
continuity.

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