This book zeroes in on three distinct historical ‘episodes’ in European and American cinema – early ‘marvellous’ film of the turn of the twentieth century, popular exotic spectaculars of the 1910s and ’20s, and underground queer cinema with its core activity in the 1960s – in order to examine how and why these often foregrounded dress as the star of the show. Interrogating film against wider cultures of urban popular spectacle and entertainment, especially fashion, dance and the theatre, the contributors to this book explore how dynamic displays of costume have helped visualise certain key concerns of modernity, such as movement, time, transience and gender identity. Above all, the essays highlight the immense transformative potential of costume and fashion, both in the moving image and beyond. The volume is lavishly illustrated with film stills, frame enlargements and other archival material.
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