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, Vol. 26, No. 3 (Nov., 1967), pp. 117-128 Published by: The Metropolitan Museum of Art Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3258880 Accessed: 09/11/2009 08:46
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639. saysomeother And.67. Thomas I from Aquinas "beauty thatwhich. is therefore fashionable whichmeans is attractive It a dress. Fashion P]ates JANET S." say. whatmoral for lesson doesa landscape Monetteach? by Thencame CliveBellwithhistheory of"Significant Form.more important. so did the greatFrench and all and impressionists. JAMES LAVER and Beauty Everybody knows whatfashion it hitsus in the eye everytimewe go into the is. a Whistler his schoolrepudiated suchnotions. andBeauty Art. "What beautiful a dress. JAMES I. makes cloud the but this the of unknowing impenetrable foroneis compelled ask.6N. by Richard Aredon ." There no salvation forthe earnest was here inquirer. "Why youlikethatpicture?" do "Because givesme an aesthetic it sensation. theorists. it is the obvious and purpose fashion makewomen of to beautiful.Fashion. to of When turnto fashion problem we the becomes more even complicated. came theendto believe anypicture a lifeboat by who in that of was necessarilygoodpicture.""Whydoesit give you an aesthetic sensation?" "Because has Significant it Form. I I7 ConDenEs Fashion. Photograph." whichturns to be anargument out in a circle. so nearly same or the thingthatwe can swallow themallin onegulpandrestcontent.expressive what? more still. three the we The terms their shift shape change meaning. street. when youngdid eagerly frequent aesthetic the philosophers search someacceptable in of definition. dictumthatfailsto distinguish a between painting Titiananda jam a by tart. then!Forit is theobvious purpose artto produce of beauty.And.But whenwe examine paintings was the Ruskin admired findthat by "truthto Nature" meanttruthto localcolor. pleases". American. thisdoctrine pushed the and was to extreme Tolstoi. leaves openthepertinent question: pleases whom. we he ignoring altogether intervening of airthatturn brown in theforeground the layers a hill to a bluemountain the fardistance.although would they be hard to define Beauty put it.whenweseea woman thelatest we in creation of somegreatcouturier. Yet whenwe beginto consider matter findit is not so simple. us conLet siderthe wordin its narrow senseas meaning clothes the people(especially women) wear. ustakebeauty Myself and their Let first.AVER I Is Fashion Art? an NORMAN LOUISE IRENE ALWIN ANDRE NORELL NEVELSON SHARAFF NIKOLAIS COURREGES I. Art. it in the context contemporary of taste. in Ruskin alsoof theopinion artshould was that havean uplifting effectandteacha moral lesson. BYRNE Ii TheArt of Fashion POLAIRE WEISSMAN I' COV E R : Ritade AcostaLydig. Z X I2 inches." "How youknow hasSignificant do it Form?" "Because givesmeanaesthetic it sensation. Fashion. perhaps endof artis not beauty expressiveness. for and howlong? FromRuskin gathered beauty anessential I that was attribute "Nature" of andthat"truthto Nature" the goalof art. most And people convinced theyknow are that whatartis.beauty mustsurely mean same the thing.Gift of Mercedes de Acosta.learned St. art.I BACK COVER: Photograph. z 967. that is being seen.by Baronde Meyer (I869-I946).
clothes the wornarelikelyto be dismissed "quaint. are "romantic" even. Y. Y. perhaps but onemaysuffice.in short.we thinkit and at hideous. Subscriptions a year.in his foreword.TheLetter Before Waterloo. reaction not so of The is violent." thenwedo not thinkit beautiful all. Editors the of Bulletin: Suzanne Boorsch. remarks "of course" couldnot bearto clothehis he that he Amelia the "hideous" in clothes I8I5 (which.Sentfreeto fifty Museum members. K. Foley. dresswe thoughtso beautiful thing The goes"outof fashion. Arbor. Associate Editor Charge in of Publications: Wilson. MUSEUM OF ART 3 Bullefin NOVEMBER I NUMBER 967 Published monthly fromOctober Juneandquarterly Julyto September.Single paid N.andBeckySharp in the modeof I838. H. N.andhe calmly proceeds clotheher. William by FrontispiCe 'gnirv1. Leon Editor-in-chief theBulletin: of Katharine B." as Great-grandmother's clothes likelyto seemmoreattractive.FifthAvenue 82ndStreet. THE METROPOLITAN VOLUME XXVI. Io028. imagine orwhyanybody how ever thought anything It wouldbe easyto multiply it else.washisplainduty).Second class postage at NewYork. Joan Designer: PeterOldenburg. $s. 3I3 Ann Michigan. Showanyyoungwoman a photograph herownmother the dress worewhenshe wasyoung.and the of in she modern will cry "Hideous!" complete girl with conviction.\T of The i^il 9 g t. ( ztYvS) . FirstStreet. for of Backissues available microon filmfrom University Microfilms. seems usoutrageously andwecannot It to ugly..andAnnePreuss. to too. of and NewYork. An amusing gamecanbe played withthe family album.andgreat-great-grandmother's clothes in allprobability pronounced will be "beautiful. weeks' Four noticerequired change address. : But now a very disconcerting happens." have. on turning pages Go the untilyou cometo a photograph the girl'sgrandmother. firstedition Vanzzy wasillustrated Thackeray The of Fazr by himself and. to from Copyright I967 (¢) by TheMetropolitan Museum Art. of afterall.In fact.N.oo copies cents. I I8 . examples. They entered realm the of"historical costume" we question and themno more. Stoddert.
means panby of niers. Arewe thento throw thesponge admit nopurpose served attributin and that is by ingeither theclothes to people wear? would This seemto bealtogether pessimistic too a view. bustle wide The thatfollowed everywoman gave the colossal buttocks the Hottentot. In oneperiod emphasizes sets it the smallness thewaist. onceit haspassed through stages havementioned we canlookuponit as the we and historical costume.Thisis allverysatisfactory far and we to as asit goes. aresurely we entitled callit "beautiful"-it is.asFrancis is it Bacon. is aptto bedull.is no "It. had the The psychologists attempted explain by the theoryof"the shifting have to this erogenous zone. usingthe wordbeauty all?Thereis a at in at further complication.Thisis surely mostextraordinary of affairs. erotic and of recent fashions are always "dowdy" because attention beingdirected a beautythatis already our is to familiar of which havebegun growtired. withhisacute insight. beenableto for has accumulate capital hasnowalltheattraction novelty. and with movesso rapidthat. mal If we thinkthatthefemale bodyis itselfa beautiful object(andonlySchopenhauer willdisagree usaboutthis). whenwe arelooking clothes. fashion seems veryoftento be exaggeration a propos. we and to our are justified. Whatever artmaybe."New fashions always are "daring" because attention beingdirected a our is to partof the female bodythat.fromone minuteto another. the early from In eighteenth century. is exactly This whatfashion out to do.or perhaps a century.Fashion "Look! says: Hereis something hadforgotten you about a decfor ade.The mid-nineteenth-century crinoline madeit seemimmensely all round. to if I I9 .or who. it surely else involves certain a harmony in theparts.having beenhidden a generation.But if artis exaggeration of a propos."According thistheorythe female to bodyis attractive within only certain limits. earlytwentieth of The century sliced in two her at thewaist pushed upper several and the part inches of true. mere But harmony notenough. totalimpact to emphasize beauty is its and one after another.hereis a beautytoo for here too muchconcealed. subject a timescalebeyond control. another smoothness theshoulders. "There noexcellent put is Beauty hathnotsome that strangenessin theproportion.so to speak." is theexaggeration This a propos in which somehaveseenthe essence art.Oncea fashion emerged has fromthe "gapin appreciation" inevitably that follows (andduring period judgment pass it this any we uponit is necessarily invalid). onlywayinwhich canbemade go in The it permanently attractive to shutoff.whatarewe to thinkof whatfashion doneto it? with has In the Elizabethan epoch cut of thelegsaltogether.butit doesnot seemto haveverymuchto do withartor beauty. can be seenamong as savage tribeswhose women about a stateof nudity.indeedat certain seasons. is playedbetween seduction modesty. is a formneglected long. it. one cantell which.The I920S abolished out thebosom effectively previous as as epochs abolished legs. ourjudgments the matter a state If in areso completely subjective." Fashion a gameof hide-and-seek. thateverywoman it so became a meretorso emerging a drum.it madethe female bodylookextremely widewhenseenfromthe frontand extremely narrow whenseen fromthe side.or. another grace of in the of in the of thelegs.
C.). the costumes worn by Justinianand Theodora.and daringdecolletages. andwhateffectscouldbe obtainedby suchsimple meansa thousand statuestestify. Giftof JohnD. Er it would be to abrogateaestheticstandards altogethernot to admit that the clothesof some epochsare beautifulin a sense in which others arenot.the cloth of gold encrustedwith gems.by N. Who can deny the dignity of the Romantoga and not marvel at the elaboration the ladies'headdresses of and the simplegraceof their flowinggowns?But as yet thereis little or no hint of the useof materials rich or beautifulin themselves.). [20 . In Assyrian Babylonian and carvingswe can see the fringedgarments with which both men and women were clothed. de GarisDavies.33 A>shurnasirpal an attendant. With the rise of Byzantiumall that is changed.C." The beautyof ancientGreekcostumewas entirely in the drapingof oblongsof woolencloth. in Thereis no lackof documentation. the red leather shoes. But the clothes of both sexes are still draperies. and Tempera copy. Rockefeller. with tight waists. flouncedskirts. 11and Relieffrom the palaceof A>shurnasirpal 11(883-859B.ThepriestWoserhet his wife and mother. 30. Egyptian In wall paintingsand bas-reliefs can admirethe we close-fitting diaphanous dresses the courtladies of and their wide collarsof gold and brightstones. Thebes. about13lo B. in the Churchof SanVitaleat Ravenna.. One of these creatures a fragmentof a frescoin the in Palaceof Knossos so elegantthat she is known is as "LaParisienne. Dynasty xzx (timeof SetiI.l43. cansee. the jeweled fibulae. we translatedinto glittering mosaic. A>ssyrian.To this day. there is no attempt to reveal or to exploit the shapeof the humanfigure. Whenwe turnoverthe pagesof any wellillustratedhistory of costume (and there are dozens of such books availabletoday).4 Jr. the collarsof preciousstones. 31. In the figurinesand frescoes of ancientCrete we see womenrepresented in startlingly modern costumes.4.of a wallpainting in thetombof Woserhet. we find our eye restingwith pleasureon a hundredexamplesof paintingsthat are not only beautiful in themselves depictpeoplein what we have but no hesitation callingbeautifulclothes.
Giffof Mrs. F. Stephen Murphy Photograph: of from the Church San Vitale. TheEmpress Slinari-SrtReference Photograph: VI Byzantine.Frederict Thompson.C. century.B. Ravenna.I2.g. Romancopyof a Greetstatueof theIII century 03. Mosaic Theodora. Bureau I2I . Marble. L.
Pierpont x I22 . Rogers gfeet 7 inches X I o feet XVI century. orTournai.Andthen.sz. with fine linenand purplecloth enthe of riched thread gold.443/2 34h inehes. Arras Courtiers Roses. of Morgan.And so it remained Europe the Crusades introduced menof western they to a degree luxuryandrefinement had of o£ neverdreamed They camebackfromthe (hence of Levant with the richstufEs Damascus with with patterned theword damask).of Then camethe longeclipse the DarkAges to of was whenthecostume allclasses reduced its until the simplest terms.Z49. with Fund.by an untnown painter.s wood. materials heraldic that the strange beasts wereto become emblems.I37.toward with that century something we endof thefourteenth begins appear. O9.2 ssS inches.Gift of J. to areentitled callfashion to about 1435-I440. Oil on British Portrait a Lady. Wool tapestry.
26 BacheCollection.as the monkishmoralists no be and. havenever which used. Devil's hidethefacebutto draw prowork indeed. for their attractiveness womenhad concealed 49.Z632-s635. werediscovered. Burgundy.rose now centuries tookon a lifeof their and of the wiresand assumed shapes steeples They no longertriedto hornsand butterflies. elaborate brocades. claimed. modes thesixteenth the we and enough. the Cavaliers some produced of the most that agree the I640S clothesfor bothmen and womenin attractive of history costume. glittering Addedto all this jewelsset alongeveryseam.putting. when reach modest turyseem mostpeoplewouldagreethat age of Elizabeth clothesare amongthe of the shapes women's abolished For ugliesteverdevised. presented the female The of of appearance an iconinstead a woman.a frame of the whole eSect to and adding the hieratic costume. veilswithwhich Robert of dresses striking Flemish.Earl of Warwict.in a singlegeneration. and embroideries. Sir 4nthonyvanDyct(Z599-Z64Z). thewhole I23 . exaggeration ruS. the and the lost When ruff itsstifEness fellupon asand shoulders. it were. whenthe skirtsand bodices was the result a very lines. by Rich. The design.84 x 50S inches. only beautyto be foundwasin the materials with been perhaps richer. wasthe fantastic thatstrange at of device a drawstring thethroat. of threemainweapons fashion and tight-lacing. of nonethelessis capable extreme which with linenedged of layer fine upon withits layer the round face as lace. on own. they almost the and formaltogether. morenatural sumed that costume: wornby the ladiesof beautiful I of the Cavaliers the timeof Charles-and by Most peoplewould themselves. doubtthey fashions of for were right.7. to attention it. Oil on canvas.TheJulesS. evento the modern areseductive cenof the By comparison. some thelatemedieval eye.and of courts France in It arose the luxurious the where. if beauty a snare. headThesewere:decolletage. of thesimple beauty.
2I 0 of I Portrait theArtistwith Two Pupils.225.83 x 59H2 inches.MadameFavart. Fletcher Mr. Oil on canvas. 3IM X 25 inches. I 20.IsaacD.by z4delaide of Labille-Guiard (I749-I803). Bequest IsaacD. s757. Oil on canvas.by Franzcois-Hubert Drouais(I 727-I 775). Collection.5 I24 . 7. French. 53. French. Fletcher. s785.Gift of Julia H. Berwind. andMrs.
Withtheir straight lines andhighwaists at leastavoided absurd they the exaggerated sleeves the I830S andtheessential of dowdiness the following of decade.the little bowround throat. Howenchanting any is costume la Pompadour! neat. emless more the broideries widely more spaced.The restof the century a falling and saw off. another high pointof beautywasnot reached againuntilaboutI740. the tiny red-heeled shoes-it is the acmeof elegantartificiality. MadameDesbassayns Richemont Her Daughter.in And the I850S.by Jacques-Louis David(s748-s825). Oil on canvas. 53. Z 46 x 35S inches.Giftof Julia A>. deep the the square decolletage. depicted the newlyinvented in fashion plate. then. attractive enough. of Theageof Marie-Antoinette thepicture spoils by the excessive of the headdress. a worthy witness thestylistic to homogeneity therococo. rather or therewouldbe if it werenot forthe top-heavy hats. half-sleeves their the with frothof lace. embroidered the stomacher or beribboned corsage. fashion flowered withthemanyagain flounced skirts finally that became amplethat so thecrinoline to beinvented support had to them. The Revolution sweptit all away. French.theample not distorting but skirt.6s.thematerials flimsy.In spiteof Thackeray's for opinion. powdered a The head. There a general is air of lightness.and what emerged afterward a stylethatrestored was harmonyandproportion lettingthe beautyof by thebodyspeak itself. yet size and there a newde'sznvolturetheclothes the was in of I780S thatis not without charm. dresses its The were rich.4 . de and Camille.most peopletoday find the Empire gowns. A>bout800. Berwind.
Fair. opposite 624. TheNew Yort Library ?ublic I26 . British. 4 Rewarded: Boothin Vanity Zirtue Thackeray Makepeace 7yWilliam Fair FromVanity Z8ss -z863). p. z 848).
French. surviving of sketchesby Worthshowwhat a couturier gethe nius could do with it. French. Oil on I Seurat(I 859-I 89I ).6 by Natanson the Theater.Richard 64. on I 895. PierreFrench. in I27 .I I2. Its successor. and it gave wide scopeto the designer. whole24 X 29 inches. bustle. subject a Gift of Mr. was infinitelyless attractive. by and MadameCharpentier Her Children. Balloon sleevesin the middle nineties.I22. 27 S Lewisohn. at Detailof MadameThade'e (I Henride Toulouse-Lautrec864-I 90I ).07. 878. Oil on I (I A!uguste Renoir 84I-I9I9).but was Of coursethe crinoline an absurdity.60H x 74 inches. I . Gouache cardboard. canvas.and it is hard to decide which was the uglier. andMrs. by dress MadameCharpentier's was designed Worth Jatte.by Georges Afternoon the Grande at X Sunday 24bout 885. canvas.and perhapswe only becausewe see them find them acceptable throughthe eyes of Toulouse-Lautrec. Bequest SamuelH.WolfeFund. of X 4I inches. the bustle of the early seventiesor the bustle of I 885.I53 life estate thedonors. to Rodgers.
too are Morerecentfashions perhaps nearto us But to be the objectof anyvalidjudgment. when of pageant costume.59z.27. skirtsanddripping So we cometo the swirling laceand picturehatsof 1 belle epoque.67 8 inah. Sargent x g Oil on eanvas.59.Zgoo.2 I 28 . JohnSinger The Wyndham (1856-l 925). for Designs three de LesRobes PaulPoiret PaulIribe. (if not always) Plate3 from dresses.by Sisters.1908). to be folof lowed by the Orientalfantasies Paul Poiret. we look backover the whole we cansurelyagreethat therehasbeenmuchart has andmuchbeautyandthat fashion frequently giventhemtheirchance. feet 7 inehes 7 feet WolfeFund. Smeriean. The ElishaWhittelsey Fund. (Paris.