Bring No Clothes

Bring No Clothes

Bloomsbury and the Philosophy of Fashion

Summary

'He makes us see a subject we thought we knew so well from a completely different angle; in writing that is deeply researched, but inviting, warm, and full of personality' Katy Hessel

'Charlie Porter is a magician' Olivia Laing


Why do we wear what we wear? To answer this question, we must go back and unlock the wardrobes of the early twentieth century, when fashion as we know it was born.

In Bring No Clothes, acclaimed fashion writer Charlie Porter brings us face to face with six members of the Bloomsbury Group-the collective of creatives and thinkers who were in the vanguard of a social and sartorial revolution. Each of them offers fresh insight into the constraints and possibilities of fashion today: from the stifling repression of E. M. Forster's top buttons to the creativity of Vanessa Bell's wayward hems; from the sheer pleasure of Ottoline Morrell's lavish dresses to the clashing self-consciousness of Virginia Woolf's orange stockings; from Duncan Grant's liberated play with nudity to John Maynard Keynes's power play in the traditional suit. As Porter carefully unpicks what they wore and how they wore it, we see how clothing can be a means of artistic, intellectual and sexual liberation, or, conversely, a tool for patriarchal control.

As he travels through libraries, archives, attics and studios, Porter uncovers new evidence about his subjects, revealing them in a thrillingly intimate, vivid new light. And, as he begins making his own clothing, his own perspective on fashion-and on life-starts to change. In the end, he shows, we should all 'bring no clothes', embracing not just a new way with fashion but a new philosophy of living-one which activates the connections between the way we dress and the way we think, act and love.

Now with a new Afterword by the author

Reviews

  • A triumph. I could read Charlie Porter's books all day long. He makes us see a subject we thought we knew so well from a completely different angle; in writing that is deeply researched, but inviting, warm, and full of personality
    Katy Hessel

About the author

Charlie Porter

Charlie Porter is a writer, fashion critic and curator. He has written for The Financial Times, The Guardian, The New York Times, GQ, Luncheon, i-D and Fantastic Man, and has been described as one of the most influential fashion journalists of his time. Porter co-runs the London queer rave Chapter 10, and is a trustee of the Friends of Arnold Circus, where he is also a volunteer gardener. He lives in London.
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