Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Reader, she married him, in Vera Wang

I have always been interested in clothes, but only in the past few years have I actually begun to think about them, in a serious way. It all started with this piece in UK Vogue, which I wrote in 2004. Vogue doesn't put any of its features online so I've been waiting since this blog began for my webmeister to turn the text that's stored on my computer into a PDF and then a link. And here it is.

It's about how clothes have been treated by literature, though the ages, from Chaucer (enthusiastically) through Jane Austen (with disdain) to Proust (love and reverence) to Judith Krantz (max out your cards). I'm looking at how an author uses clothes to delineate character:

What did Hamlet wear? Black. And the Wife of Bath, riding to Canterbury? Red stockings and new shoes. Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa? A pale primrose morning gown, with a recurring silver and gold pattern of violets, accessorised with diamond earrings, blue satin buckled shoes and black velvet gloves. Proust’s Duchess? The first Fortuny dresses. Jane Eyre? Black and pearl grey silk, despite Mr Rochester’s insistence that should take the pink satin, which made her feel like a houri in a Turk’s seraglio.

Read on

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