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Identity, role and the Mask

Barbara Brownie and Danny Graydon

Source: The Superhero Costume. Identity and disguise in fact and fiction 2016

Book chapter

The function of a costume or mask is to “disguisedisguise, protect or transform” (Wilsher, 2007, p. 12). For superheroes, the mask serves all three of these functions. It identity constructionreligiontransforms the wearer from ordinary civilian to superhero, disguising him in order to protect the identity of his alter ego, and those he cares about. The duality of the superhero’s identity is bound up in his costume. His public face, the mask, conceals his private face, hidden underneath.

Real-life superheroes

Barbara Brownie and Danny Graydon

Source: The Superhero Costume. Identity and disguise in fact and fiction 2016

Book chapter

The appropriation of the superhero costume often comes in conjunction with the performance of a superhero lifestyle. Masked vigilantes patrol the streets of cities including Seattle, Atlanta, New York, Toronto, MexicoMexico City, and London, and congregate in cyberspace via the World Superhero RegistryWorld Superhero Registry. Though they are too numerous to list here, those real-life superheroes that have been the subject of academic study include Phoenix Jones, PhoenixJones, who patrols the str

Watchmen

Barbara Brownie and Danny Graydon

Source: The Superhero Costume. Identity and disguise in fact and fiction 2016

Book chapter

practicalitycapeappropriationAlan Moore, AlanMoore and Dave Gibbons, DaveGibbons’ WatchmenWatchmen (1986–1987) is a deconstruction of the superhero comic that poses the question “what if superheroes [and their costumes] were real?” (Thompson, 2005, p. 105). Such self-conscious responses to genre occur, writes Geoff Klock (2002, p. 3), when the “building density of tradition becomes anxiety.” The superhero genre has mushroomed to such proportions that it seems uncontrollable, providing audiences w

Iron Man

Barbara Brownie and Danny Graydon

Source: The Superhero Costume. Identity and disguise in fact and fiction 2016

Book chapter

upgradestechnologyinsigniacivilian alter egoidentity constructionOnce a costume is established as a representation of a certain set of values and abilities, the superhero identity can become more attached to the costume than to its wearer. In the case of Iron Man, identityidentity is more bound up in the costume than with any other superhero. Indeed, Iron Man is not a man, but an augmentation.

Michael Kors

Paula Alaszkiewicz

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Designer Biography

Introduction—why write a book about sunglasses?

Vanessa Brown

Source: Cool Shades. The History and Meaning of Sunglasses 2015

Book chapter

As a lecturer in visual culture in a fashion department, I had observed that sunglasses have also been remarkably resilient to changes in fashion and indeed in the sartorial languages of cool. Since sunglasses became fashionable in the early twentieth century, they have remained a powerful component of the fashionable or cool image; in fact, it seems sunglasses are almost synonymous with fashion, underscored by the iconic images of fashion elite like Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld, both recogniz

Modernity—an onslaught on the eyes

Vanessa Brown

Source: Cool Shades. The History and Meaning of Sunglasses 2015

Book chapter

emotiondandyBefore the twentieth century, sunglasses as we think of them today were not in any kind of widespread use. Tinted glass (green or blue) had been recommended since the eighteenth century—but for correctivespectaclesspectacles (Ayscough in Drewry 1994) intended to be worn indoors. Mid-eighteenth century Venice saw green tinted glasses used against glare from the water (the “Goldoni” type, worn by and named after the leader of the commedia dell’ arte). At the turn of the nineteenth centu

Seeing the blur—perception, cool, and mechanized speed (1910–present)

Vanessa Brown

Source: Cool Shades. The History and Meaning of Sunglasses 2015

Book chapter

speedindustrialised consciousness; panoramic perception; Virilio, PaulAlthough the now-ubiquitous image of bikini, shades, and sun-lounger might suggest that the ideal wearer of sunglasses enjoys the luxury of being blissfully inert, the dynamic power, excess, and seductive glamor of men and women speeding along in shades is undeniable—from the tough sheen of Marlon Brando in The Wild Ones to twenty-first century pop acts like Britney SpearsBritney Spears in “Toxic,” where impenetrable diamond-st

Seeing the cyborg—eye-shading, cool, and the hi-tech body (1910–present)

Vanessa Brown

Source: Cool Shades. The History and Meaning of Sunglasses 2015

Book chapter

Exploring speed in the last chapter has already enabled us to consider some aspects of the relationship between sunglasses and modern technologytechnology. But this relationship goes further. Sunglasses became a more general sign of encounters with the wonders and perils of modern technology; in the early days of TV advertising, sunglasses were worn by immaculate, 1950s housewives shading their eyes from the terrifying brilliance of whites achieved with innovative washing powders.

Seeing in the light—“sun”glasses, modern glamor, cool, and celebrity (1920s–present)

Vanessa Brown

Source: Cool Shades. The History and Meaning of Sunglasses 2015

Book chapter

Today, a more general sense that sunglasses protect our eyes from sunlight dominates. After all, the name finally settled on for all kinds of motor goggles, protective spectacles, autoglasses, and so on was (and is) sunglasses, conjuring up countless images of those bikini-clad women and casual, white linen-clad men basking in the glow of their own attractiveness, their sunglasses bouncing back that gold-colored light of happiness and success. Smiling or not, these men and women are embodiments o

Seeing in the dark—sunglasses and “outsider” cool (1940s–present)

Vanessa Brown

Source: Cool Shades. The History and Meaning of Sunglasses 2015

Book chapter

Many of the most evocative images show sunglasses worn in the dark, indoors, possibly because in these images we are forced to acknowledge their more oblique functions. Layers of darkness and blackness are compounded by dark frames with dark lenses in many of these images; think of Miles Davis in a murky club, in a dark suit, what light there is just highlighting the sheen of his skin against the intense glossy blackness of his shades.

Heading for the shade—the spread of outsider cool (1950s–present)

Vanessa Brown

Source: Cool Shades. The History and Meaning of Sunglasses 2015

Book chapter

outsiderSunglasses were tactically used by people who were “outside” the goals and means of dominant society, as part of an articulation of a dissonant style which held an attraction just as great as that of those sunny images of “straight” success and leisure. This chapter will show how the more complex connotations of “outsider cool” became desirable and were appropriated by the “mainstream” in the 1950s and 1960s and beyond. Sunglasses could act as a sign of a “bettered self”—but they also sta

Seeing in the “eclipse”—sunglasses, cool, and the absence of meaning (late 1950s–present)

Vanessa Brown

Source: Cool Shades. The History and Meaning of Sunglasses 2015

Book chapter

Warhol, Andyglamorempty (or hollow) glamorThe light is artificial and mirrors are provided, but not windows, because the characters must be protected from bleak, bruising reality.

Sunglasses and cool—conclusions

Vanessa Brown

Source: Cool Shades. The History and Meaning of Sunglasses 2015

Book chapter

Before sunglasses, certain modernitychangechanges were taking place which created an environment in which they could become functionally and symbolically useful. The city, as an exemplar of modern life, was a place of new opportunities for display, self-fashioning, and casual voyeurism, as well as new levels of sensory and psychological stimulation which threatened to swamp the individual, and from which some kind of protection was required. This initially came in the form of a “blasé attitude,”

Sunglasses

Vanessa Brown

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

By the late 1960s, sunglasses were a well-established fashion accessory, having accumulated numerous valuable meanings within Western visual culture: speed, technology, military power, celebrity, travel, glamour, and the outsider cool of black American jazzmen, beatniks, rap artists, cinematic gangsters, and femmes fatales. Subsequently, sunglasses became increasingly significant to fashion, providing lucrative licensing opportunities as well as creative potential to nuance clothes with desirable

Mitsuhiro Matsuda

Elizabeth Glendinning

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Designer Biography

1690–1815: Chinoiserie, Indiennerie, Turquerie and Egyptomania

Adam Geczy

Source: Fashion and Orientalism. Dress, Textiles and Culture from the 17th to the 21st Century 2013

Book chapter

See, mademoiselle, how that goes well with your Chinese-style hairstyle, your mantle of peacock feathers, your petticoat of celadon and gold, your cinnamon bottoms and your shoes of jade…

Benin

Joseph C.E. Adande

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Republic of Benin is bounded in the south by the Atlantic Ocean, in the north by Niger and Burkina Faso, in the east by Nigeria, and in the west by Togo. Thus, it naturally shares both history and culture with the peoples of these neighboring countries. In Benin, clothing, regardless of definition, is as complex and varied as its numerous linguistic groups. In the Benin Republic, Vodun adepts and masquerade performers dress primarily to please their gods and offer them the appropriate manifes

Aboriginal Dress in the Kimberley, Western Australia

Kim Akerman

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

As in most other areas of Australia, the Aboriginals of the Kimberley were traditionally unclothed. For them, dress consisted of headbands and hair belts. Pubic tassels (made by tying multiple strands of spun fur or hair string into a mop, suspended over the genital area) were worn occasionally. Other elements of dress consisted of ornaments made from feathers, fibers, animal teeth, or shell, the use of which was often dictated by the ceremonial and social status of the wearer. More complex ornam

Masquerade and Masked Balls

Ann Ilan Alter

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Performance Dress in Japan

Monica Bethe

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. East Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

In early-twenty-first-century Japan, theater and dance performances range from the avant-garde to traditional performing arts that trace their beginnings to periods spanning over a thousand years. The costumes worn for these traditional performances reflect styles of dress prevalent at various historical periods, though not necessarily the period corresponding to the inception of the art in question. The story of performance costume must therefore be seen against the background of the history of

Okpella

Jean M. Borgatti

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Okpella dress as known from the twentieth century includes both everyday wear and dress associated with ritual and festive events, notably clothing associated with men’s and women’s title taking. For men, this includes garments donned during age-group ceremonies, the preliminary event for all subsequent title taking, as well as the apron and feathered crown worn during the Oghalo ceremony, the completion of which admits them into the body of titled elders who, in the past, formed the ruling counc

The Northwest Coast

Kathryn B. Bunn-Marcuse

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. The United States and Canada 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Pacific Northwest Coast has long been known for its elaborate and distinctive art styles. This attention to form and expression is no less true for clothing, especially ceremonial clothing, than for totem poles and masks. On the Northwest Coast clothing conveys identity, status, and wealth among its indigenous people, wrapping wearers in their clan and familial identities. Today, this is most clearly seen in ceremonial regalia worn on important public occasions; but dress has always provided

Igbo in Nigeria and Diaspora

Herbert M. Cole

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

One of the largest populations of West African peoples at over twenty million, the Igbo have a history of dress and personal decoration lasting over one thousand years. The archaeological sites of Igbo Ukwu, dating from the ninth and tenth centuries c.e., begin this record in the heart of Igbo country, twenty-five miles (forty kilometers) east of the Niger River and about one hundred miles (one hundred sixty-one kilometers) north of the Atlantic Ocean. Although the documentation is largely blank

Masquerade, Theater, Dance Costumes

Herbert M. Cole

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

African masquerades, perhaps the continent’s premier art form, play grandly with illusion, ambivalence, and paradox. Masks and masquerades are both more, and less, than what they appear to be. Their illusionist play can be comic and lighthearted, or deeply serious, but always it is creative and imaginative, art and artifice. Never is it ordinary, and usually it is deeply meaningful and sometimes powerfully instrumental. Masquerades both create and help organize values and knowledge, and they are

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