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« The Dressed Body : the Moulding of Identities in 16th Century France »

Abstract : A specific type of clothed body emerged in 16th-century France. Clothing put its mark on the body, accentuating sexual dimorphism, imposing either Renaissance rectitude or Baroque distortions, transforming the body into a decorative surface for displaying magnificence. Its specificity resulted from the influence of various vestimentary and decorative fashions, starting with the new kinds of civility circulating in Renaissance Europe which fashioned self-presentation. It found its fullest expression on the bodies of cosmopolitan aristocrats seeking a distinctive eloquence for their particular identity. At the same time, the identities which clothes imprinted on their wearer seemed threatened by transfers of vestimentary practices between sexes, sexual groups, and/or nations. The unease created by this mixture of appearances reflects that of a changing French society, its national identity re-defined in singularly bloody fashion by prolonged religious warfare. Things would ultimately change. By the second half of the 17th century, French styles governed European fashion.
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Contributor : Isabelle Paresys <>
Submitted on : Monday, July 24, 2017 - 7:28:20 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - 2:18:09 PM


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Isabelle Paresys. « The Dressed Body : the Moulding of Identities in 16th Century France ». Herman Roodenburg. Forging European Identities, 1400-1700, Cambridge University Press; European Science Foundation, pp.227-257, 2007, Cultural Exchange in Early Modern Europe, 9780521845496. ⟨hal-01568119⟩



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