Pret-a-Porter, Paris and Women: A Cultural Study of French Readymade Fashion, 1945-68 by Alexis Romano (Independent Scholar, USA)
In the first critical history of French ready-made fashion, Alexis Romano examines an array of cultural sources, including surviving garments, fashion magazines, film, photography and interviews, to weave together previously disparate historical narratives. The resulting volume - Pret-a-Porter: Paris and Women - situates the ready-made in wider cultural discourses of art, design, urbanism, technology and international policy. Through a close study of fashion magazines, including Vogue and Elle, Romano reveals how the French ready-made and the genre of fashion photography in France developed in tandem. Analyses of representations of space, women and pret-a-porter in such magazines - alongside other cultural ephemera such as contemporary film, documentary photography and family photographs - demonstrate that popular conceptions of fashion and modernity shifted in the period 1945-68. By connecting national and personal histories, Pret-a-Porter: Paris and Women reveals the importance of the ready-made to broader narratives of postwar reconstruction, national identity, gender and international dialogue.