chapter  1
48 Pages

Moda and Moderno

Writing Fashion in Early Modern Italy focuses on clothing and fashion as they are described and represented in literary texts and costume books in the Italy of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. My aim is to emphasize the centrality of Italian literature and culture for understanding modern theories of fashion and gauging its impact on the shaping of codes of civility and taste not only in Italy but beyond its borders in Europe and the West. Using literature to uncover what Peter Stallybrass and Ann Rosalind Jones have called the “animatedeness of clothes,” my hope is to underscore the political meanings that clothing produces and has always produced in public space. The meanings of Italian fashion in early modernity speak beyond the confines of Italian Studies to reach out towards a broader horizon that connects the local with the global, the intimate with the public.3