Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 30 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Fashion is perhaps the ultimate decadent medium: fashionable dress has been critiqued by moralists for extravagance, luxury, and sexual licentiousness since classical times. This chapter focuses on fashion since the Industrial Revolution, when mass textile production and the rapid dissemination of Parisian styles across Europe and America enabled the development of a rapidly changing fashion system. It shows how, within emergent modernity, decadent dress was characterized by its embrace of artifice; this reached its apotheosis in dandyism and the cult of extraordinary individuality, whereby sartorial expression is used to make the body into a work of art. The chapter examines the gendering of decadent fashion and the figure of the female dandy; and finally appraises the contemporary fashion industry’s embrace of beauty in decay. It concludes that far from an evacuation of moral responsibility, the decadence of fashion may be a means of astute political commentary.

Keywords: artifice, beauty, class, cosmetics, dandyism, dress, fashion, gender, race, style

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.