Religion in Vogue: Christianity and Fashion in America

Lynn S. Neal. New York Univ., $28 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-4798-1359-9
Neal (Romancing God), professor of religious studies at Wake Forest, mines issues of Vogue magazine from the mid-1940s to the late 1990s to explore fashion’s shifting use of religious symbols in this persuasively argued work. First, she examines how Vogue used explicit religious topics in articles and photos to train readers into being participant-observers that felt acknowledged but also distanced from some practices (such as articles on pilgrimages in foreign lands). Next, she considers advertisements to argue that fashion knowingly drew on notions of Sunday best dress, the conception of women as “Eve,” and even magic to entice Christian women. Neal’s arguments become even more convincing as she turns to fashion articles, with chapters on the cross as an accessory, the creative remixing of Catholic religious dress as fashion, and the use of images of Mary and Jesus on clothing. Neal balances her historical analysis with clear but persuasive theory and has a real skill for summarizing controversies. Scholars of fashion, popular culture, and religion will welcome this fresh take on an underexplored facet of the American experience. (Dec.)
Reviewed on : 09/17/2019
Release date: 12/01/2019
Genre: Religion
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-1-4798-9270-9
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