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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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“Hiding in Plain Sight”: Fashion and Mimicry in Cindy Sherman’s (Non-Self)Portraits: Hanne Loreck


“Hiding in Plain Sight”: Fashion and Mimicry in Cindy Sherman’s (Non-Self)Portraits

Hanne Loreck


The contemporary notion of mimicry and mimesis in cultural theory may be seen as a combination of fashion as device and the metaphorical meaning of to fashion, namely in the broader sense of staging or enacting. This essay will look at Cindy Sherman’s portraiture of 35 years—her most comprehensive retrospective to date opened at the MoMA—through the paradigm of fashion. Generally, Sherman’s figures do not only fashion femaleness through apparel; they come alive through the precarious correspondence of dresses and backgrounds. Yet, while they stand out against their backgrounds, they also mimic the settings. Furthermore, the artist successfully deceives us with her use of all sorts of rags and trashy devices visually shaping a proper (female) subject. Here, the idea of fashion becomes a major tool for the re-enactment of gendered (stereo-)types. In that sense, fashion, or at least dress, is among the most effective means with which Sherman has now organized her enticing gallery of models for more than three decades.

Fashion is a device, a prevailing manner, usage or style. The verb to fashion works as a metaphor in the broader sense of staging or enacting. Both meanings come together in the contemporary notions of mimicry and mimesis in cultural theory. Given that mimicry combines aspects of protection and assimilation with aesthetic excess and that these factors address the eye of the...

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