Book « Fashioning the body » – Denis Bruna

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From the 5th to the 24th of July of 2013, les Arts Décoratifs of Paris under the management of Denis Bruna (curator, Fashion collections and textile before the 19th century) organized an original exhibition entitled “ Fashioning the body“, an indiscreet story of the silhouette, a retrospective of undergarments from the 14th century to today.

It was also presented in New York in 2014 (“Fashioning the Body: the Silhouette Intimate History ” Bard Graduate Center Gallery, Manhattan).

This large-scale exhibition gave birth to the book of the same name.
It presents as well as the exhibition the evolution and the magnification of the silhouette, the changes of fashions through the use of tricks.

But more than a retrospective about lingerie, it is above all about revealing undergarments as integral parts of clothes. Indeed, all these clothes reinforced with bones, mechanisms have been designed to produce a movement, a posture, a transformation of the body to achieve the requirements of fashion at any time and access to an ideal of beauty.

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Content (big titles):
14th/16th century: Fashion, bodies and medieval transformations
17th /18th century: The old regime of the body
19th century: The 19th century, from tricks to anatomy
20th /21th century: modern undergarments

It is observed that comfort is abandoned to the profit of appearance for purposes located between moral, privacy and eroticism: the straightness of aristocratic posture, showing power and superiority, virility quest, the accentuation of shapes or their shrinking, the rounding or flattening of attributes according to time…

This book with beautiful pictures is not devoted solely to women, unlike most retrospectives of undergarments (boned bodices, farthingales – reinforced hoop skirts, paniers, crinolines, bustles, corsets, lobster tails and other faux-culs, strapontins, support underwear, bras, girdles-pushups, flattening, raising, rounding). The man is not forgotten in the history of forms and their sublimation showing his quest for virility (padded pourpoints from 14th to 16th, prominent codpieces, padded jacket, calf amplifiers, stomach belts, panty-girdles).

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One part is also dedicated to high fashion designers who have been inspired by these old undergarments (Thierry Mugler, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood, Christian Lacroix …) and who have made from these constraints true pieces of art by reusing these complex and structured forms.

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You can well imagine that I fell in love with the cover first. How to resist? And I must admit that this cover is just as beautiful as its interesting content, complete, very well written and well-illustrated with pictures of the exhibition, designers catwalk archive photographs, with drawings, paintings, old photos, fashion photos … To purchase without waiting!

Title: Book « Fashioning the body » – Denis Bruna
Bound book: 271 pages
Editor: Les Arts Décoratifs (1 May 2013)
Dimensions: 28 x 2,8 x 22 cm

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