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Masters of La Mode: Representations of Women in the French Fashion Press, 1785-99

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Title:Masters of La Mode: Representations of Women in the French Fashion Press, 1785-99
Authors:Kam, Miranda
Contributors:Lauzon, Matthew (advisor)
History (department)
Keywords:fashion press
French Revolution
Date Issued:May 2017
Publisher:University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract:This project examines representations of women in the French fashion press from its beginning in 1785 to Napoleon’s coup d’état in 1799. During the French Revolution, certain women wore ‘masculine’ Revolutionary symbols to facilitate their participation in revolutionary processes. Many saw the actions of these women as threats to masculine citizenship and in 1793, the increased controversy surrounding dress forced the National Convention to declare freedom of dress for all citizens and citizenesses. Some historians have contended that Revolutionary legislators granted women freedom in fashion largely as a substitute for genuine political power in the emerging public sphere. This project argues that although revolutionary processes may have granted women freedom of fashion, the male-dominated fashion press attempted to undermine women’s authority and assert men’s control in an area in which it claimed women possessed legitimate power. Through the close analysis of 18th -century fashion periodicals, this project determines that while fashion periodicals claimed to venerate women and their talents in the realm of fashion, they employed concepts like the relationship between dress and behaviors to dictate women’s dress. Although the fashion press initially celebrated women as the creators and masters of fashion, the fashion press editors later used their professed adoration of women to persuade them to surrender their freedom of dress. By regulating women’s consumptive and sartorial habits, the fashion press helped to alleviate contemporaries’ concerns about women’s participation in the public sphere.
Pages/Duration:66 pages
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/56550
Rights:All UHM Honors Projects are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Honors Projects for History


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