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Tilting the day

Lisa Cohen: Writing about Clothes, 7 November 2019

Dressed: The Secret Life of Clothes 
by Shahidha Bari.
Cape, 312 pp., £25, June 2019, 978 1 78733 149 5
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... About​ clothes, it’s awful,’ the protagonist thinks in Jean Rhys’s novel Voyage in the Dark (1934). Everything makes you want pretty clothes like hell. People laugh at girls who are badly dressed … And the shop-windows sneering and smiling in your face. And then you look at the skirt of your costume, all crumpled at the back. And your hideous underclothes ...

Drama of the Gowns

Lisa Cohen, 22 April 2021

Patch Work: A Life amongst Clothes 
by Claire Wilcox.
Bloomsbury, 270 pp., £16.99, November 2020, 978 1 5266 1439 1
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... For​ almost thirty years, I have stored in my small New York apartment clothes that belonged to my grandmother. An unlined shirt-jacket of raw silk, brilliant green, that she sewed in the 1960s or 1970s, and that still holds something of the way she held herself. Three of her coats: a two-colour bouclé with a delicate ivory silk lining; the others black and more practical ...

Clothes were everything to me

Lisa Cohen: Bill Cunningham, 25 October 2018

Fashion Climbing: A New York Life 
by Bill Cunningham.
Chatto, 256 pp., £16.99, October 2018, 978 1 78474 281 2
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... A small boy​ , four years old, ‘parading around’ in his sister’s ‘prettiest dress’, blissfully happy, until: ‘My mother beat the hell out of me, and threatened every bone in my uninhibited body if I wore girls’ clothes again.’ He wept, but did not fail to note where his tears fell: ‘all over the pink organdy full-skirted dress ...

You better not tell me you forgot

Terry Castle: How to Spot Members of the Tribe, 27 September 2012

All We Know: Three Lives 
by Lisa Cohen.
Farrar Straus, 429 pp., £22.50, July 2012, 978 0 374 17649 5
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... is a visibility so tenuous, so different, or so discomfited that it is easy to miss,’ Lisa Cohen observes in All We Know, and, contrariwise, ‘a visibility so simple, so precise, or so extreme that it, too, is obscure.’ Why do we see what we see? Why do we fail to see what others see? Can we see things before they are ready to be seen? Can ...

Fed up with Ibiza

Jenny Turner: Sybille Bedford, 1 April 2021

Sybille Bedford: An Appetite for Life 
by Selina Hastings.
Chatto, 432 pp., £35, November 2020, 978 1 78474 113 6
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... trying to get back to the family château in Baden from the seaside resort where, presumably, Lisa had been meeting up with one of her many lovers.At one point we were marched out of the train at Schwerin … and corralled in the lounge of a hotel on the main square, and here the sailors with their banners and slogans were mutinying all right … There ...

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