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The connection between fashion, femininity, frivolity and Frenchness has become a cliché. Yet, relegating fashion to the realm of frivolity and femininity is a distinctly modern belief that developed along with the urban culture of the Enlightenment. In eighteenth-century France, a commercial culture filled with shop girls, fashion magazines and window displays began to supplant a courtly fashion culture based on rank and distinction, stimulating debates over the proper relationships between women and commercial culture and between morality and taste. The story of how ‘la mode’ was ‘sexed’ as feminine offers compelling insights into the political, economic and cultural tensions that marked the birth of modern commercial culture. Jones examines men’s and women’s relation to fashion at this time, looking at both consumption and production to show the origins of the idea of shopping and fashion as specifically feminine.