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Fashionable Queens

Body – Power – Gender


Eva Flicker and Monika Seidl

The essays collected in this book provide profound insights into the wide-ranging topic of the fashionable queen: the manifold implications and effects that the combination of body, power and gender can have are examined by using different approaches and a variety of theoretical frameworks. By addressing queenly appearances in the past and the present, in politics and the media, in royalty and the middle-classes, in the arts and in popular culture, this book offers a new way of thinking of publically significant women, who exert, and at the same time subvert, their power through their attires and thereby negotiate notions of gender, class, power and media representation.
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Column with a Slit: The Diva and her Dress: Annette Geiger

Column Dresses


Column with a Slit: the Diva and her Dress

Annette Geiger


Fashion might be considered ephemeral and capricious in everyday life. In movies, fashion primarily serves in a stabilizing function that can turn a singular star into a persistent myth. The Hollywood diva of the 1930s and 1940s is such an archetype of movies and fashion. Her construction is based on one specific garment—the column dress.

The combination of woman and goddess, as well as dress and column can be traced back to antiquity: Interpreted as a female body garbed in a folded vesture, Ionian columns carried the weight of a temple s roof timbering. What had been a ritual underpinning for the established order in antiquity was written unto the divas’ bodies by Hollywood costume design and art decó fashion—as a dress code, as well as a gender role.

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