ABOUT THIS BOOK
Edith Wharton and the Making of Fashion places the iconic New York figure and her writing in the context of fashion history and shows how dress lies at the very center of her thinking about art and culture. The study traces American patronage of the Paris couture houses from Worth and Doucet through Poiret and Chanel and places Wharton’s characters in these establishments and garments to offer fresh readings of her well-known novels. Less known are Wharton’s knowledge of and involvement in the craft of garment making in her tales of seamstresses, milliners, and textile workers, as well as in her creation of workshops in Paris during the First World War to employ Belgian and French seamstresses and promote the value of handmade garments in a world given to machine-driven uniformity of design and labor. Pointing the way toward further research and inquiry, Katherine Joslin has produced a truly interdisciplinary work that combines the best of literary criticism with an infectious love and appreciation of material culture.