The Wednesday Word: Ulrich Lehmann on why Fashion is worthy of study

Erwin Blumenfeld, Audrey Hepburn (1952), New York Audrey Hepburn is wearing a hat designed by Blumenfeld and made by Mister Fred, one of New York's most talented milliners. Blumenfeld here uses a system of mirrors showing the front and back of the hat and allowing infinite repetition of the motif.

“To write about fashion, to discuss its impact and importance, always means to transform the fleeting and transitory into the statue-like and permanent, if only through black letters on a white sheet of paper. Fashion as a topic remains embroiled and disputed because of its alleged lack of substance–in artistic as well as metaphysical terms. The profound and eternal are considered worthy of intellectual analysis; what is transient and fugitie will nearly always be equated consciously or unconsciously with the facile and futile. Yet herein lies fashion’s most absorbing fascination: it challenges us to transpose transitoriness, also the hallmark of modernity, into a medium of high regard, while maintaining its distinct characteristics; to theorize and analyze, yet not to petrify.”

–Ulrich Lehman in Tigerspring: Fashion in Modernity (MIT Press, 2000)

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