Fashion Under Fascism

Fashion Under Fascism: Beyond the Black Shirt

by Eugenia Paulicelli

Eugenia Paulicelli is Professor of Italian, Comparative Literature and Women's Studies at Queens College and The Graduate Center, The City University of New York (CUNY), USA. At The Graduate Center she directs Fashion Studies in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) and the PhD Concentration. Among her books: Moda e Moderno (editor, 2006); The Fabric of Cultures: Fashion, Identity, Globalization (co-editor, 2009); Writing Fashion in Early Modern Italy (2014); Rosa Genoni: Fashion is a Serious Business (2015). Visit her website at Eugeniapaulicelli.com. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Berg, 2004
  • DOI:
  • ISBN:
    978-0-8578-5408-7 (online)

    978-1-8597-3773-6 (hardback)

    978-1-8597-377-81 (paperback)

    978-1-8452-0842-4 (epdf)
  • Edition:
    First edition
  • Place of Publication:
  • Published Online:
Fashion Under Fascism
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When we think of Italian fashion, Gucci, Max Mara and the meteoric rise of Prada immediately spring to mind. But Italian fashion has a dark history that has not previously been explored. The Fascism of 1930s Italy dominated more than just politics - it spilled over into modes of dress. Fashion under Fascism is the first book to consider this link in detail.Fashion often functions as a tacit means of making a social statement, but under Mussolini it vividly reflected political tyranny. Ones allegiance to the regime was choreographed by the dictatorship with the intent of creating a new national consciousness. Women in particular were manipulated through fashion ideals to create an authentic Italian femininity. Paulicelli explores the subtle yet sinister changes to the seemingly innocuous practices of everyday dress and shows why they were such a concern for the state. Importantly, she also demonstrates how these developments impacted on the global dominance of Italian fashion today.This fascinating book includes interviews with major designers, such as Fernanda Gattinoni and Micol Fontana, and sheds new light on the complicated relationship between style and politics.