‘Everybody has to get dressed in the morning and go about the day’s business. What everybody wears to do this has taken different forms in the West for about seven hundred years and that is what fashion is’ (Hollander 1994:11). Cf. Fashion and Clothing
Rebecca Arnold’s Fashion: A Very Short Introduction highlights the history of fashion through the lenses of Designers, Art, Industry, Shopping, Ethics, and Globalization. Throughout the book, I was struck by fashion’s very close relationship with media. Arnold notes that designers use the media to brand themselves in a certain way, and then create the clothes to match; for example, Coco Chanel was seen as simple and sleek, Donna Karen branded her self as a busy, working mom, and Donatella Versace is a jet setter type. (10). However, fashion’s relationship with the media goes much further back.
First off let me state that this is not a fashion book. Nor is it a beauty book. Nor, and you may find this surprising, is it a feminist manifesto. Still interested? Good. As the title suggests the author, Linda M. Scott, offers a fresh perspective on the relationship of fashion to radical feminism. Now you may be asking, “What relationship?” That universal misunderstanding is precisely the stereotype that Scott tackles, head on, in this volume. Professor Linda M. Scott, with meticulous research, challenges the longstanding assumption that fashion and feminism exist in stark opposition to each other. In a nutshell, Fresh Lipstick: Redressing Fashion and Feminism is a revisionist approach to the history of fashion and feminism.