The medium of print and the rise of fashion in the west

Taylor & Francis
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Konsthistorisk tidskrift/Journal of Art History, 2013, 82 (3), pp. 135 - 156
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Closer attention paid to the implications and effects of things that now seem ephemeral, such as fashion prints or fashion plates, has much to offer those who study image culture and ideology more generally. This article provides a historiography outlining some of the ways in which printed images of and about fashion have been interpreted by art historians and historians. It considers the way in which print culture might have contributed to the rise of a sense of a design as well as spreading trans-national fashions in the period from the Renaissance to the 18th century. It commences with a discussion of different modalities of print, including the English broadsheet ballad. It then goes on to consider types of printed materials including the costume book, the trade-card, the pocket-book and the caricature. Fashion in print is generally regarded as a subtopic of the wider category of `printed materials, a vast and allinclusive world. In its origins it might have been thus, but over the course of the early-modern period, fashion expanded key aspects of the medium of print and printing, creating a dialogue between the act of representing and that which was represented, thereby becoming a medium that intimately connected people and things.
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