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UAL Research Online

‘how to get the London model-girl look’: democratizing and disciplining female citizens in post-war Britain

McDowell, Felice (2017) ‘how to get the London model-girl look’: democratizing and disciplining female citizens in post-war Britain. In: The Costume Society Conference - Fashion and Democracy?, July 8 - July 10 2016, Whitworth Gallery, Manchester.

Type of Research: Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item
Creators: McDowell, Felice

In histories of post-war Britain the ‘model-girl’ emerges as a particular ideological figure that achieved her status through wage earning and consumer spending, rather than, necessarily, through structures of economical or social privilege. According to contemporary media ‘new ‘ modes of feminine appearance and dress thus marked a ‘levelling-off’ of ‘painful class distinctions’ (Fleur 1962: 10). In this sense the ‘model-girl’ not only refers to the professional fashion model, it also refers to a wide-range of young women living and working in modern post-war culture.

In its discussion of this history, this paper focuses on Lucie Clayton’s 1968 book The World of Modelling: and how to get the London model-girl look. Here an overview of the modelling industry is offered in conjunction with advice to its readers on how to achieve a certain way of looking and behaving. The paper addresses this discourse as part of a wider cultural turn in which the image and realities of the ‘model-girl’ was both a product of, and productive in, meanings and values concerning post-war British citizenship and democracy. In doing so it questions how processes of democratization are interlinked with practices of self-discipline, particularly in the production and consumption of fashion and dress.

Official Website: http://costumesociety.org.uk/conference/fashion-and-democracy
Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: Advice Literature; Life-writing
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Fashion
Date: 10 July 2017
Event Location: Whitworth Gallery, Manchester
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2016 12:32
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2016 12:32
Item ID: 10308
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/10308

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