Modern to hyper/ultra-modern: the twentieth century
- Publication Type:
- The Fashion History Reader: Global Perspectives, 2010, 1, pp. 445 - 454
- Issue Date:
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When we write about the recent decades -- and indeed much of the twentieth century - scholars do not 'reconstruct a past that they can never know' as observed by Fritz Stern in his Varieties of History (1970), Depending on our age, we either remember or were a part of the Grunge style of the 19905, the New Romantics of the 19805, the Punks of the 1970s, the boutiques of the 1960s, the prohibitions of post-war rationing, or through our parents', grandparents', aunts' and uncles' memories, tales of short pongee silk dresses imported from China in the 1920s and the shock of seeing men walk around for the first time without neckties and hats, Of course our memories and recollections are also partial and influenced by our relationship to society, Our closeness and our personal relationships to dress in the recent past colour our interests and inflect our positions; sometimes it leads to books being written and preconceptions being challenged. It is impossible to remain neutral, detached and uninvolved: the fashion history of the recent past has, more than any previous fashion and perhaps more than most other types of histories, collective memories and personal stories, a strong 'presence in the present'.
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