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On Fashion
Village Voice, Sept 6, 1994

Edited by Shari Benstock and Suzanne Ferris Rutgers University Press, $45;$16 paper“

You never forget the first touch,” reads the ad painted on the sidewalk outside my office, referring not to sex, but to Elyasaf Kowner shoes. Given that the line between sex and footwear is so thin, how could I not love an anthology of writing about fashion that begins: “Shoes. Dream shoes. Shoes to power the imagination. We sat spellbound before Mildred Pierce,” and continues in dear earnest, “Whatever the price or pain, we want Joan Crawford’s shoes.”
We do. Some signifiers are simply hotter than others; the fashion system exists at that steamy juncture of aesthestics, capitalism and various delightul forms of scopophilia that, like film, lets you question your pleasure while having it, too. But unlike film, you get to put it on and walk around in it. “I go to Soinia Rykiel as one goes to a woman, as one goes home,” wriets Helene Cixous...


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