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Fashion Tales

Feeding the Imaginary

Emanuela Mora and Marco Pedroni

Since its beginnings in the middle of the 19th century, fashion has been narrated through multiple media, both visual and verbal, and for such different purposes as marketing and advertising, art, costume history, social research and cultural dissemination. In this light, fashion has represented an important piece of material culture in modern industrial urban societies and in postcolonial and non-western contexts. Today, we are witnessing a turn in this imaginary as issues related to social, environmental and cultural sustainability come to predominate in many areas of human activity.
The book addresses this challenge. By facilitating encounters between disciplines and cultures, it explores a multitude of fashion issues, practices and views that feed the contemporary fashion imaginary: local cultures, linguistic codes, TV series, movies, magazines, ads, blogs, bodily practices. The book deals with a paramount issue for fashion studies: how do the production and circulation of fashion imaginary come about in the 21st century?

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Fashion, journalism and linguistic design: A case study of the wedding dresses (Maria Catricalà)


Maria Catricalà

Fashion, journalism and linguistic design: A case study of the wedding dresses


Today, the magazines discourse on fashion is not just a tale, a story or a verbal narration around the body, but rather a constructed strategy of the social relationships. Indeed, as suggested by Laura Bovone (2014), fashion speaks and the names of every garment contribute to give form to the mental representation of our personal and collective identities’.

Therefore, in consideration of the focus of this particular study, with its paraphrased title Feeding the imaginary, we can say that the naming activity of garments, also feeds our creativity. The major challenge of the research is describing the different ways through which our mind conceives those representations and explaining their rules. For example, it is easy to classify and analyse the terms of clothing linked to a part of our body (as bustier, finger-­free, handbag, headgear, neckline, etc.) or the terms marked by a spatial element (as in overshoe or underskirt), because they imply an instruction. However, the matter is more complex if we consider a denomination as seersucker, which indicates a kind of fabric and is borrowed from Hindi ‘milk and sugar’. Leaving out here the general description of the phenomenon of the contact between different languages, the cognitive perspective highlights that in this case, the resemblance is based on an analogical tactile-­process: the smooth and rough stripes of the fabric are associated with a...

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