Volume 47, Number 1, January 2013

Digital copies of this edition of Costume can be purchased online from Ingentaconnect.



pp. 1-2(2)


Colour, Chemistry and Corsets: Mary Philadelphia Merrifield's Dress as a Fine Art

pp. 3-27(25)
Palmer, Caroline

The Victorian writer Mary Philadelphia Merrifield (1804‐1889) exploited her considerable knowledge of art and science in order to validate the study of fashion and to raise it in seriousness as a topic. Merrifield covered a broad range of topics in her publishing career, ranging from fresco and fashion to flora and fauna; she was an important contributor to debates about the materials and techniques of painting, the diffusion of colour theory and the aestheticization of dress. This article will demonstrate how her Dress as a Fine Art (1854) challenged prevailing stereotypes, not by denying women's fascination with fashion, but by associating it with higher intellectual principles. In particular it will show how her scholarly approach to fashion countered the long-standing notion that women were interested only in ‘idle fripperies’.  


From the `union parfaite' to the `union brisée': The French Couture Industry and the midinettes during the Great War

pp. 28-44(17)
Bass-Krueger, Maude

This article is an expanded version of a paper presented at the ‘Developments in Dress History’ conference at the University of Brighton in December 2011. Based on research from the author's master's thesis, ‘La mode en France durant la Première Guerre mondiale’, written at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris, this article examines the declining relationship between the Chambre syndicale de la couture parisienne, the couturiers and the seamstresses, which ignited an industry-wide labour strike in May 1917.


From Clothing for Sport to Sportswear and the American Style: The Movies Carried the Message, 1912-1940

pp. 45-62(18)
Warner, Patricia Campbell

When I hear the words ‘fashion’ and ‘sport’ together, what immediately comes to mind is sportswear — that casual collection of menswear-styled separates that the world now lives in. The history of its development as the essence of American Style covered some thirty to forty years. These were the same years that American movies were taking over the imagination of the world. In my opinion, this was not a coincidence. The movies are unique in the twentieth century for being both an unparalleled reflection of and influence on who we are at any given moment. Sportswear, as the foundation of American Style, developed hand in hand with the growing influence of American movies. Movies, in fact, carried this new look almost instantaneously to the rest of the world, creating a demand that few acknowledged or even realized at the time. As we will see, many influences came together to create this twentieth- century phenomenon. It all began with women's enthusiasm for sport in the mid-nineteenth century.


Vivienne Westwood's `Seditionaries' Clothes and the Change in Japanese Girls' Cute Fashions in the Early 1990s

pp. 63-78(16)
Kurokawa, Yuko

A major change overtook Japanese girls' fashion in the early 1990s. Influenced by the fashion magazine Cutie, a version of the young girl-oriented subculture publication Takarajima, girls began to aggressively express themselves with individualistic clothing that did not go out of its way to pander to the opposite sex. Girls' fashions up until then tended to be imbued with a very Japanese childlike girlishness, but the ‘new’ cute look added boyish elements. This early 1990s trend in Japanese fashion was related to the popularity among Japanese youth at that time of the ‘Seditionaries’ clothing line created by British designer Vivienne Westwood in the late 1970s.


Developing Distinctive Dress: Textiles and Clothing of the Katang and Mankhong Ethnic Groups of Southern Laos

pp. 79-100(22)
McIntosh, Linda S

The Mainland South-east Asian country of Laos is renowned for its traditional costume composed of intricate hand-woven textiles. The woven material that is the focus of exhibits and publications are primarily produced by the politically dominant Lao and related groups, which together make up a small percentage of the sixty-eight ethnic groups recognized in Laos. The traditional textiles and dress of the people making up the minority groups, especially groups living in the southern region, are often overlooked. Information about the clothing and textiles of the Katang and Mankhong, two minority groups living in upland areas in southern Laos, has been limited. Field research conducted by the author revealed that Katang and Mankhong women, as the primary producers of cloth, have mastered weaving and other adorning techniques to decorate cloth with patterning. The weavers have utilized embroidery, supplementary weft, weft ikat, and supplementary warp techniques to develop distinctive textiles used as costume and ceremonial items. Over the last ten years, regional trade has developed rapidly in the area inhabited by the Katang and Mankhong due to Asian Development Bank sponsorship of such projects as the East‐West Economic Corridor in the Greater Mekong Subregion. The distinctive heritage of these minority groups is at risk, but projects encouraging the production of their traditional attire may assist the Katang, Mankhong, and related groups in preserving their culture.


Selective List of Recent Articles from Periodicals

pp. 101-105(5)
Poppy, Pat


Selective List of Recent Dress Exhibitions

pp. 106-112(7)
Stewart, Imogen


Book Reviews

pp. 113-135(23)


The Costume Society Awards

pp. 136-136(1)



pp. 137-137(1)

The current Editors of Costume, Penelope Byrde and Verity Wilson, will reach the end of their five-year contract in December 2013.

Expressions of interest are therefore invited for two posts to edit the Journal from 2014 (with an overlap period for a smooth succession).

Those interested should have a broad knowledge and interest in history, preferably in the history of dress, with special reference to material culture, and they should have a network of contacts within the fields of visual and cultural studies. A museum or academic background and some experience of the publishing process would be an advantage. Familiarity with modern technology is a requirement.

These posts attract a modest honorarium plus expenses, and they are offered as five-year appointments.

Click here for more information