Sunday, September 20, 2009

Couture Costumes

Many moons ago I stumbled across this Dover book at a garage sale — Great Fashion Designs of the Twenties: Paper Dolls in Full Color. It's one of those doll books for children where you cut out the models in front and "dress them" in the subsequent attire using built-in paper tabs. Naturally, if you ignore this step and address the figures faceless, something instantly haunting and brilliant appears. One would think these women would be less personable or even eerie without the token eyes nose lips. And yet, taken out of context their identities mature into idiosyncratic personas rich with intrigue, each communicating something through secret signs, a subtle stance. Copyright 1983 by Tom Tierney.

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