The Empire of Fashion: Dressing Modern Democracy by Gilles Lipovetsky; Catherine Porter Review by: Linda M. G. Zerilli Political Theory, Vol. 24, No. 3 ( Aug. Carolyn J. Dean; Gilles Lipovetsky. The Empire of Fashion: Dressing Modern Democracy. Translated by Catherine Porter. Foreword by Richard.

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The Empire of Fashion: Dressing Modern Democracy – Gilles Lipovetsky – Google Books

Whereas Tocqueville feared that mass culture would create passive citizens incapable of political reasoning, Lipovetsky argues that today’s mass-produced fashion offers many choices, which in turn enable consumers to become complex individuals within a consolidated, democratically educated society.

You could not be signed in. In lieu of an abstract, here tbe a lioovetsky excerpt of the content: It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

He recognizesthatthe”greatmalerenunciation” of theeighteenth century in whichmenof thebourgeoisie adopteda somber,austerecostume was not accompaniedby a similarrelinquishing of luxuryand play in personal appearance on thepartofwomen. Recognizingthe This content downloaded from Close mobile search navigation Article navigation.

His conclusions raise disturbing questions about personal joy and anguish in modern democracy. Lipovetsky provides an engaging and important history of fashion and politics that deserves to be read by a broad audience.

Princeton University Press, If you originally registered with a username please use that to sign in. Of coursea lot has changedon theintellectual scene sincetheFrench publicationof L’empirede l’ephemerein Lipovetski is an atypical philosopher.

The Empire of Fashion: Dressing Modern Democracy

Lipovetsky has continued to write on topics such as modernity, globalization, consumerism, modern culture, markets, feminism, fashion, and media, but they have the common thread of individualism You could not be signed in.


Sign in via your Institution Sign in. Feminine difference is notonlythelimitpointofegalitarian logic,accord- ingtoLipovetsky. Rebecca rated it liked it May 21, The Empire of Fashion: This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.

Lipovetsky repeatedly unsettles commonplaces aboutthefashionindustry, especiallythoseregard- ingbothproducers and consumers ofhautecoutureandready-to-wear. Focusing on clothing, bodily deportment, sex roles, sexual practices, and political rhetoric as forms of “fashion,” Lipovetsky boun In a book full of playful irony and striking insights, the controversial social philosopher Gilles Lipovetsky draws on the history of fashion to demonstrate that the modern cult of appearance and superficiality actually serves the common good.

Melissa rated it really liked it Aug 26, By turnsseriousand outrageous, Lipovetsky’shigh-spirited polemicagainstintellectual snobbery and encrusted theoretical paradigms challengesthereaderto rethink therelationshipbetweenconsumerculture anddemocratic politics,narcissism,andthecommongood.

Lipovetskyneverreallytacklesthisquestionhead on, althoughone suspectshe wouldanswerintheaffirmative. Receive exclusive offers and updates from Oxford Academic. The Empire of Fashion: He maintains thatvariations inpersonalattire in,say,ancient GreeceorRomedidnotconstitute fashionbecausetheyremained boundby a traditional set of sartorial conventions. Read, highlight, and take notes, across web, tablet, and phone. The age ofthe ephemeral andthesuperficialmaynotmakeus better citizens,ifbetter means moreintimately involvedintheaffairs ofourneighbors.

Click here to sign up. Foreword lipovetskyy Richard Sennett.

The Empire of Fashion: Dressing Modern Democracy by Gilles Lipovetsky

A similar problem emerges whenLipovetsky turnstodifferencesinwomen’s andmen’scontemporary relationship tobeauty. Lipovetsky began his philosophical career as a Marxist, similar to many others in the s.

To analyze fashion’s role in smoothing over social conflict, he abandons class analysis in favor of an inquiry into the symbolism of everyday life and the creation of ephemeral desire. I thought that this was an extremely interesting book, and well worth reading since it goes against so much common wisdom.



Most users should sign in with their email address. Superficiality fosters tolerance among different groups within a society, claims Lipovetsky. Ivan rated it liked it Apr 07, Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.

Related articles in Google Scholar. Aboveall, itenableshimto locate moments ofindeterminacy inthefashion system, a systemthatis oftentreated as exemplary of all thatis wrongwithmasssociety.

Focusing on clothing, bodily deportment, sex roles, sexual practices, and political rhetoric as forms of “fashion,” Lipovetsky bounds across two thousand years of history, showing how the evolution of fashion from an upper-class privilege into a vehicle of popular expression closely follows the rise of democratic values.

So beginsGilles Lipovetsky’sbrilliantand maddeninginquiryintothe politicalsemiotics oftheculturalrealmofephemera andsuperficiality. There are no discussion topics on this book yet.

The prevailing bottom-up accountof sartorial mimesis-whereby “thelowerclassesimitate thelife-style andappearance oftheupperclasses,” forcing thelatter toinnovate inordertomaintain theirsocialdistinctiveness, whichinitiates yetanother roundofmimicry andinnovation, andso on,ad infinitum-says Lipovetsky, has blindedus to “thecontrolling, determining feature” offashion, the for namely, “headlongquest novelty such: Fashjon rated it it was amazing Oct 31, Article PDF first page preview.

In a strongly worded critique of the dominant explanation of fashion foundin theworkofHerbert Spencerand,later, inthatofPierreBourdieuLipovetsky conteststhe idea thatfashionis based solelyon economicand material factors.

Tye convincedthat,forwomen,”self-adornment and beautification no longer have anything to do withalienation,” Lipovetsky makestheobvioustheo- reticalmove: Fshion interests in the mode, transitory, as a mark of individualism and hedonism.

Although Lipovetsky offers a paean to modern individualism and to fashion culture, he concludes with a disturbing caution: Most users should sign in with their email address.