The Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology The Corset: A Cultural History exhibition catalogue

The Corset: A Cultural History

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'This is cultural scholarship and social history at its absolute best' - Literary Review

'Obligatory reading for fashion historians' - Times Literary Supplement

The Corsets: A Cultural History

An essential element of fashionable dress from the Renaissance into the twentieth century, the corset has been viewed not only as an object of eroticism but also as an instrument of torture and subjugation. This lavishly illustrated and well written book, which accompanied an exhibition at MFIT,  explores the history of corsets up to the present day for both men and women including its role in fashion history, in social movements, and the development of fashion styles and figure modification.

Author Steele undertook thorough research in writing the book, for example collaborating with a cardiologist and a nurse to prove that tight-lacing diminished lung capacity enough to cause occasional fainting; and disputing the findings of a forensic anthropologist who attributed deformities in skeletons at the Smithsonian to corsets.

Named one of the Best of the Year 2001 by the Toronto Globe & Mail. Selected for inclusion in the Books to Remember list by the New York Public Library. Winner of the 2002 Milia Davenport Publication Award sponsored by the Costume Society of America.

  • Authors: Valerie Steele, Director, MFIT
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Date published:  February 2003
  • Language: English
  • Delivery: Allow 1-2 weeks
  • ISBN: 978-0300099539
  • Product Dimensions: 27.9 x 23.1 x 1.5 cm

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