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Dressing Up by Elizabeth L. Block
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Dressing Up by Elizabeth L. Block
Hardcover $34.95
Oct 19, 2021 | ISBN 9780262045841

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“This handsomely illustrated, anecdotal volume illuminates the symbiotic relationship between late-19th-century Parisian fashion houses and their well-to-do American clients. Block, a senior editor for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s publication department, writes winningly.”
the Washington Post

Winner of the Victorian Society in America Book Award, 2022

“Like The Gilded Age, Elizabeth L. Block’s Dressing Up puts the women of the era—and their dresses—at the center of its narrative. Block’s new book frames the wealthy elites who shaped the Gilded Age economy, culture, and politics as consumers, and focuses on the wives and daughters of elite businessmen and financiers. Such an emphasis allows Block not only to insert women and women’s agency more meaningfully into Gilded Age history, but also to explore the economic consequences of the fashion trade. In Block’s narrative, elite women were more than a passive manifestation of Thorstein Veblen’s ‘conspicuous consumption.’ They were active players in a transatlantic network of commerce, power, and privilege that allowed them a position of influence within U.S. society by turning fashion and the dresses they wore into cultural capital.”
– Library Journal

Table Of Contents

I. Power Dressing
1. Introduction: Dressing Up
2. Midcentury Tastemakers
II. Paris as the Center of Haute Couture and Coiffure
3. Connections among Coiffeurs, Couturiers, Milliners, and Perfumers
4. Couturiers and International Expositions
5. International Clientele
III. The U.S. Market for French Fashion
6. Maison Félix and Its U.S. Clients
7. Gowns and Mansions: French Fashion in U.S. Homes
8. Raising Prices: The Impact of U.S. Tariffs
9. The Underworld and Afterlife of French Couture in the United States
10. Conclusion: Follow the Dresses

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