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Fashioning the Nation: Costume and Identity in British Cinema

Fashioning the Nation: Costume and Identity in British Cinema
Your Price: $27.99 CDN
Last copy!
Author: Pam Cook
Publisher: British Film Institute
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 138
Pub. Date: 1996
ISBN-10: 085170574X
ISBN-13: 9780851705743

About the Book:

When Christian Dior presented his debut 'New Look' collection in Paris in 1947, Gainsborough Studios in north London had already begun to refashion British sexuality. The studio’s chief costume designer was Elizabeth Haffenden and her flamboyantly feminine gowns for the period costume romances produced by Gainsborough Studios between 1943 and 1950 projected a vision of femininity as both powerful and erotic. Just as the clearly articulated feminine silhouette of 'New Look' scandalized those who preferred the masculinised androgyny of wartime utility clothing, so Gainsborough's spectacular display of the feminine outraged critics and official agencies dedicated to constructing a national cinema in terms of quality, aesthetic restraint and authenticity.

Fashioning the Nation reveals the cultural implications of this scandal, changing the consensus that, even today, tends to define British cinema in narrow parochial terms. The heroes and heroines of Gainsborough's period romances journeyed abroad in search of new hybrid identities. Pam Cook demonstrates how costume in these films contributed to the process of redefining national identity by inviting providing a way for the characters to cross borders and achieve personal freedom and, in turn, inviting audiences to imagine themselves as 'European'. Such adventures in masquerade, she claims, provide a model for cinema spectatorship that is fluid and mobile, crossing boundaries of nation, class, and gender.

What people say:

"A lively and witty look at the costume design of British films." — Times Literary Supplement

About the Author:

Pam Cook is a pioneer of Anglo-American feminist film theory and a leading exponent of gender and cinema studies. She worked at the British Film Institute for 15 years, and was associate editor of the leading film journal Sight and Sound from 1991 to 1994, before being appointed the UK's first Professor of European Film and Media at the University of Southampton in 1998, where she has been Professor Emerita in Film since 2006.