Filling a critical gap in Vienna 1900 studies, this book offers a new reading of fin-de-siècle culture in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy by looking at the unusual and widespread preoccupation with embroidery, fabrics, clothing, and fashion - both literally and metaphorically. The author resurrects lesser known critics, practitioners, and curators from obscurity, while also discussing the textile interests of better known figures, notably Gottfried Semper and Alois Riegl. Spanning the 50-year life of the Dual Monarchy, this study uncovers new territory in the history of art history, insists on the crucial place of women within modernism, and broadens the cultural history of Habsburg Central Europe by revealing the complex relationships among art history, women, and Austria-Hungary. Rebecca Houze surveys a wide range of materials, from craft and folk art to industrial design, and includes overlooked sources-from fashion magazines to World's Fair maps, from exhibition catalogues to museum lectures, from feminist journals to ethnographic collections. Restoring women to their place at the intersection of intellectual and artistic debates of the time, this book weaves together discourses of the academic, scientific, and commercial design communities with middle-class life as expressed through popular culture.
'This is a beautifully written, wide-ranging study of the central role that textiles, fashion and costume played in the cultural history of the Habsburg Empire of the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.' Julie M. Johnson, University of Texas, San Antonio, USA 'In this inspiring new study, Rebecca Houze builds on her series of excellent articles … which deal with Austrian and Hungarian applied arts at the turn of the century … the achievement of this book is to provide a fascinating new approach to the area through the vehicles of textiles, fashion and dress reform.' Reviews in History
"Drawing on a wide variety of contemporary sources and extensive illustrations, and underpinned by sustained, carefully articulated arguments, this book makes a convincing case that notwithstanding the problematics of dress and design reform in Austria and Hungary during the Dual Monarchy, 'clothing motivated programs of change… Throughout the book, the range of sources and illustrations, careful argument, confident style, and the synthesis of fashion, costume, and textiles located within the wider context of design reform ensures that this book is an excellent contribution to scholarship in the field.'" Journal of Design History
"A landmark contribution to [Ashgate’s] new series on material culture and collecting, Houze’s meticulously researched study is essential to those interested in textiles, late nineteenth-cenntury design reform, and the second-class status of decorative and fashionable within modernist value systems…. [The book] brims with detailed analysis of institutional developments and late nineteenth-century ethnographic exhibitions previously familiary only to specialists, amply supporting the author’s thesis that a performative culture of dress fueled questions of national identity and design reform in Dual Monarchy." West 86th
Contents: Introduction. Part I: Preliminary remarks on the principles of dress; Collecting textiles at the new museums in Vienna and Budapest; Establishing a program for needlework reform; Exhibiting cloth and culture. Part II: Embroidery and anxiety; Fashion and its discontents; Imperial masquerade. Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.