Libertine Fashion: Sexual Freedom, Rebellion, and Style

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Libertine practices have long been associated with transgression and social deviance. This innovative book is the first to focus fully on the relationship between libertinism as a social phenomenon and as a form of fashion. Taking the reader from early modernity to the present day, Adam Geczy and Vicki Karaminas reveal how the connection between clothing and the taboo, the erotic, and the forbidden is at the heart of "libertine fashion".

Moving from the decadent courts of Charles II and Louis XV to the catwalks of the 21st century, Libertine Fashion examines literary and sartorial figures ranging from the Marquis de Sade and Lord Byron to Oscar Wilde, Josephine Baker, Colette, and Madonna. Focusing on libertinism as a sartorial practice and identity, this book traces the genealogy of the concept through the proto feminists of the English Reformation, the hedonistic decadents of the fin de siècle, and the Flappers of the Roaring 20s. The historical arc traverses the 1970s era of punk and glam, the shapeshifting personae of David Bowie, and the “disciplinary regimes” of Jean-Paul Gaultier.

Looking at libertine practices and appearances with fresh eyes, this bracing and original book affords many new insights into transgressive style, and of the relationship between sexuality and clothing. Accessible and thoroughly researched, Libertine Fashion uses a multidisciplinary approach that draws on historical literature, film, fashion, philosophy, and popular culture. Offering a historical and philosophical grounding in contemporary forms of identity and dress, it is essential reading for students and scholars of fashion, gender, sexuality, and cultural studies.

Author: Adam Geczy & Vicki Karaminas

Paperback Published 3 October 2020 256 pages

“What does it mean to give oneself over to pleasure in dress without compromise? In Libertine Fashion Geczy and Karaminas provide provocative answers. With intelligence and wit their case studies and wide-ranging references bring sartorial libertinism alive, offering an original and much needed history of this fascinating terrain for a new generation.” Chris Breward, National Museums Scotland, UK

“Making a significant contribution to critical literature, and highly entertaining to read with a pleasing lightness of touch, Libertine Fashion illuminates social and sexual rebellion, complex encounters, bizarre dalliances and innovative experiments in behaviour, manners and dress; it brings a fresh perspective to the study of fashion, gender and sexuality.” -Pamela Church Gibson, London College of Fashion, UK

“Both lively and scholarly, Libertine Fashion sheds new light on one of the most sensational and underestimated aspects of European cultural history. Geczy and Karaminas offer a compelling overview of transgressive fashion practices and ideologies, combining extensive research with imaginative interpretation. This provocative and witty study of Libertine tradition demonstrates the centrality of fashion for subverting gender stereotypes.” –  Olga Vainshtein, Russian State University for the Humanities, Russia

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