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Fashion and Fabrication in Modern Architecture

Author(s): Leila W. Kinney


Source: Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 58, No. 3, Architectural
History 1999/2000 (Sep., 1999), pp. 472-481
Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the Society of Architectural Historians
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Fashion and Fabrication
in
Modem Architecture

LEILA W. KINNEY
Massachusetts
Instituteof Technology

(HenryVande Velde, "fashionable"in modem architecturaldiscourseskeptically,


modernarchitects
Many Josef Hoffmann, Lilly Reich, Frank Lloyd observingthat they often serve as a bywayfor the promo-
Wright) or their wives (Anna Muthesius, Lilli tion of masculinistideals.
Behrens) designed clothes. Others, notably Otto Wagner, Indeed, the "fashionphobia"of a key group of modern
Adolf Loos, and HermannMuthesius,wrote aboutfashion. architects and theorists has become an incentive for
FAT (FashionArchitectureTaste), a contemporarydesign research in itself, generating a number of studies that
office based in London, programmaticallyflauntsthe con- addresstheJetztzeitof Modernism,the fluctuatingstatusof
nection. Yet the recent discoveryof a "logic of clothes"in decoration, ornament, surface, and color in architectural
modern architectureand a corresponding abhorrence of design, and the role of everydaylife and its accoutrements
fashion among its theorists and advocateshas caught the in the project of building at large. An unexpecteditinerary
field somewhatby surprise,it seems. Or maybe not. Is the throughthe last half of the nineteenth centuryand the first
claimthatfashionhas functionedas a silentpartnerof avant- third of the twentieth emerges from these writings,which
gardeinnovationin architecturesomethingmore substantial can be located by familiarchronological events, from the
than the latest indictment of the Modern Movement's CrystalPalace exhibition(1851) to the Expositiondes arts
utopianaestheticsand ambitioussocialengineering?Recent decoratifs(1925), and by well-known texts, from Gottfried
interestin the subjectregisterssomethingdifferent,I think, Semper'sbook Der Stil in den technischen und tektonischen
from architecture'svariation on the "task of mourning" Kiinsten,oderpraktische Aesthetik(Style in the technicaland
found in one influentialstrain of art criticism. In his own tectonic arts, or practicalaesthetics [1860-1863]) to Adolf
"farewellto an idea"-an avant-gardeartfoundedupon crit- Loos's 1908 essay"Ornamentund Verbrechen"(Ornament
ical resistance-Benjamin Buchloh, writing in 1997, and crime) and Le Corbusier'sbook L'Artdicoratifd'au-
denounced its "successfulmerger"with the culture indus- jourd'hui(The decorative art of today [1925]), but which
try: "Oneforce that fused them is fashion."' Yet the Frank- otherwise produces an unusual distribution of topics and
furt School assumptions about mass culture that are participants.
Buchloh's benchmark and the frameworkfor much art- Why has the subject of fashion appearedin architec-
historicaldebate about fashion (albeitthrough the atypical tural discourse at this fin-de-siecle moment? A generic
writings of Walter Benjamin)have for the most part been understandingof postmodernism(as opposed to the spe-
left aside in architecturalinvestigations.And most writers cific, architecturaluse of the term)would suggest that cur-
on architectureand fashion have viewed objections to the rent interest in fashion and cognate subjects is both

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predictableand symptomatic:it has arisen along with the of the reevaluationof modem domestic architecture,deco-
abandonmentof absolute dichotomies such as appearance ration,and interioritythat beganin the late 1970s,in which
and realityin poststructuralistculturalcritique,andit coin- architects associatedwith Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau,
cides with an advancedstage of late capitalism.The fash- Jugendstil, and the Viennese Secession figured. Research
ion industry,that is, has so permeatedsocial life that it has into the historyof arcades,departmentstores,international
recently been called this century's"mostevident and wide- exhibitions, museums, and the connections among them
spread popular aesthetic form; one can argue about the revealedthe institutionalandtypologicalparametersof nine-
quality of fashion, but not about its pervasiveness."2 teenth-centurycommodityculture.4Andbookssuch as Eliz-
Unavoidable, too, are the questions about fashion raised abethWilson'sAdornedin Dreams(1985) accentuatedissues
over the last twenty-fiveyearsby feministhistoricalinquiry, that made fashion relevantfor architecturalhistorians-its
questionsthat are too compellingto be ignored, even if not links to mass communication,industrialdesign, and urban
all respondentsembraceits agenda.Recognizingfashionas spectacle. But not until the publication of Architecture: In
a fundamentalcomponentof culturalexpression,moreover, Fashion(edited by Deborah Fausch et al., 1994), which
builds both time and unpredictabilityinto historicalexpla- derived from a lecture series organizedby students in the
nation in waysthat other developmentaltheories do not. At Princeton University School of Architecture,was the con-
the sametime, it allowsthe bizarreand the irrationalto dis- cept of fashion granted an explanatoryrole in relation to
turb the predominant technorational explanations of modern architecture.5
modernity;it is for this reason that Benjaminclaimed that The sense of discoverythat this topic producescomes
fashioncontinually"preparedthe ground"for Surrealism.3 from identifying the issues that arise from architecture's
A clusterof writingson architectureand fashionin the specific engagement with fashion rather than concerns
1990s follows by about a decade a surge of scholarlyinter- generic to fashion.Three majorpreoccupationsstand out:
est in other disciplines, which itself was prompted by a the notion of Bekleidungas a first principleof architectural
numberof methodologicalshifts. For most of this century, design ("dressing"in HarryMallgrave'stranslationof Sem-
anthropology, sociology, and costume institutes have per'sterm);6the searchfor universalformsthat could revo-
emphasizedcomparativeand developmentaltaxonomiesof lutionize appearancein contemporarylife acrossa range of
dress, or the social dramaturgyof nonverbalcommunica- materialand architecturalproduction,whetherthroughthe
tion throughclothes.Ethnographicandsemiologicalassess- agency of style, the aesthetic aims of Gesamtkunstwerk, or
ments of urban rituals, post-Marxist attention to the purportedlyobjective selection of standardizedtypes;
consumption ratherthan production,feminist iconoclasm and the effort to control the dynamic of change under
toward prescribedimages of femininity,and performative industrialcapitalism.For the sake of brevity,one can think
theories of identity derivedfrom Hegelian philosophyand of these three interlockingcomponents of the architectural
Lacanianpsychoanalysisall renewed an interest in fashion, discourseon fashion under the rubricsof fabrication,dress
which was analyticallydistinguishedfrom descriptionof the reform, and antifashion.
artifactsthat the term encompassed. The scope of the problem is presented in the wide-
Architecturalhistory,it turns out, was ideally situated rangingessaysby MaryMcLeod andMarkWigley in Archi-
to dealwith the doubleconnotationof fashionas the history tecture:In Fashion;Wigley's White Walls,DesignerDresses:
of clothingstylesandthe more specificuse of fashionto des- The Fashioningof ModernArchitecture(1995) considerably
ignate the processof changepeculiarto capitalism.Because expandsthe topic. In McLeod's essay,fashion and moder-
architects active around the turn of the last century were nity aretriangulatedwith gender,as is the issue of figuration
concerneddirectlywith dress--either as an effortto reform in architecture,which McLeod casts in terms of a choice
modern appearanceor as partof the scenographyof interi- between clothing a building and strippingit bare;the con-
ors-and becausethey were deeply engagedwith the tem- tested element is of course decoration. She describeshow
poral problematicof creatinga modern style, their debates the associationof the classicalorderswith clothed or naked
betray an interesting conflation of clothing as artifactand humanfigureswas transformed,firstthroughSemper'sthe-
fashion as process,which in other fields has createdambi- ories about the relationshipbetween hanging textiles and
guity.To this they broughta theoreticalheritageconcerned the origins of architecture(whathe called "thePrincipleof
with the originsor primordialbasisof architectureas a fab- Dressing"),and then through modern clothes themselves,
ricationof enclosure,shelter,or dwelling;analogiesto cov- which serve as an index, sometimes avowedand sometimes
eringthe bodywere standard,andtextileswere postulatedto not, of attitudestowardmodern architecture(Figure 1). As
have played a crucialrole. Dress design has been an aspect McLeod argues, nudity in architecture, or architecture
FASHION AND FABRICATION IN MODERN ARCHITECTURE 473

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Figure 1 GoffriedSemper, Der Stil in den
technischen und tektonischen KOnsten,oder
-: - : :"........
: - .. .. !••71•;!.. ...;:7
:, ..... .... . praktischeAesthetik. Ein Handbuchfur Tech-
niker,KOnstlerund Kunstfreunde,(Frankfurt
am Main, 1860-1863), vol. 1, plate. VI. Sem-
...........L i ....
.....
. per's study discussed the originsof architec-
ture in the textilearts, a fundamentalpointin
recent writingsabout architectureand fashion.

,/

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relieved of superfluous ornament, was equated with the bond between clothing and architecture is crucial to
functional male suit, especially during the years 1890 to Wigley's argument, but not always for the reasons one
1925; Le Corbusier, for instance, made this point by con- might suspect.Contraryto the typicalcondemnationof the
trasting images of Lenin and Louis XIV in L'Art dicoratif ornamentalexcessesof Secessionistarchitecture,for exam-
d'aujourd'hui. ple, Wigley states:"Indeed,they see their commitmentto
Analyzing many of the same sources used by McLeod, dressdesign as being responsiblefor their principleof con-
Wigley develops these points further.
The precisemeans by struction ratherthan a means to disregardit."' He elabo-
which he arguesthat Semper'sideaswere transposedto the rates this proposition across a large swath of modern
twentieth century are intriguing and no doubt debatable. architecture,where he persistentlytakesup Le Corbusier's
For example, Le Corbusier's "Law of Ripolin" (1925) challengeto "thinkagainsta backgroundof white."'
referredto Loos's"Lawof Dressing"(1898), which in turn However,it is the blackfrockcoat calledby Baudelaire
was obviouslyindebtedto Semper.In the end, Wigley redi- in 1845 "theouter skin of the modernhero"that takeson a
rects Semper'sargumentsabout polychromyand the func- surprisinglyliteralrole in the primarysourcesthat are ana-
tion of fabricsas a mask for the materialfunction of wall lyzed in these studies,as the cut of a man'ssuit is seen to be
towardwhitewashand erasure.Surfaceand skin,not struc- the paradigmaticmodel for the construction of modern
ture or space, are the basis of modern design, no matter housing in particular.9 The AnglophilesLoos and Muthe-
what its apologists said; following Semper,Wigley treats sius were influential in mobilizing English tailoring as a
spaceas clothing. He tracesa second displacementof Sem- model for architecture,arguing that the gentleman'ssuit
per'sthinkingby following the impact of Riegl'smodifica- achieveda stabilityof appearancein the face of the fickle
tion of it (a complicated subject in itself) on architects femininity of fashion (Figure 2). The dramatic sexual
associatedwith the various institutions out of which the dimorphismof clothing that characterizedthe nineteenth
modern emerged, specificallythe Viennese Secession, the centuryuntil its disruptionin the 1920s by the new look in
GermanWerkbund,and the Bauhaus,and then reconnects women'swear structuresMcLeod'saccountand providesa
to Sempervia the GermanandAustrianabsorptionof Eng- fascinatingfilter through which to examine the architec-
lish Arts and Crafts,which had a decisiveimpact on Sem- turalproductionof the firsthalfof the twentiethcentury.By
per'sarticulationof the "Principleof Dressing"in the first the late 1920s, after women's clothing had dramatically
place. A third version of Semper resonates in Chicago, changed,architectsincludingBrunoTautandLe Corbusier
throughthe contactsand mutualsympathiesbetweenLoos experienceda significantlevel of anxietyaboutthe laggard
andLouis Sullivan.A fourthis to be foundin Le Corbusier's styles of men'sclothing and, correspondingly,their lack of
unpublished1931 manuscripton polychromearchitecture. fit with domestic architecture (Figure 3). Tracking the
A fifth is transmittedthrough De Stijl.The survivalof the appearanceand disappearanceof male, female,andandrog-

474 JSAH / 58:3, SEPTEMBER, 1999

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cific architectsandmovements,is made abundantlyclearby
Rotch
the assemblage of evidence. The point is not that dress
reformis somethingthat architectshappenedalso to under-
DAS ANDER.... " take; rather,reform clothing was on the frontier of argu-
ments for the modern, makingit possible to see form as it
EIN BLATT ZUR EINFUEHRUNG
ABENDLAENDISCHER KULTUR might eventuallybe articulatedin architecture.This claim
IN OESTERREICH:GESCHRIEBEN that dress reform was avant-gardehas traditionallybeen
VON ADOLF LOOS . JAHR madeusing the exampleof the RussianConstructivistssuch
TAILORS AND OUTFITTERS , Franco-Autrichienne
Socist6 as Liubov Popova and VarvaraStepanova,who had, Osip
GOLDMAN & SALATSCH pourlcs artsindustriels
Brik announcedin 1924, "alreadyset out on the road from
K. SAYM HOP', MOBELSTOFFE pictureto calico-print."'12In contrast,architectsworkingin
LIEFBRANTE•
LYONER SEIDEN-
SAMT-BROKATE
UND
developedconsumersocietiesfoundthat fashionthreatened
ECHTE UND IMITIERTE
GOBELINS
or compromised their goals; the ambivalence of the
ENGLISCHEUND Bauhaus,which eliminatedclothing design from the school
FRANZOSISCHETEPPICHE
and restrictedwomen to the textile workshops,is a reveal-
UND APPLIKATIONEN
SPITZENVORHANGE
ing case.
Even artists most closely identified with clothing
:HermErzherzogJosef
. WIEN, I. Kirntnerstrasse 55, 1. Stock design, includingVan de Velde and Hoffmann, one learns,
WIEN,I. GRABEN 20. Soci6thFranco-Autrichienne undertook dressreform in the name of opposition to fash-
ion. One of the predictable ambiguities in writing about
architectureandfashion,an ambiguitythat generatesa good
Figure2 Coverof DasAndere,no. 2 (15 October1903).Loos'smag- deal of confusion in whatevercontext it is encountered,is
azinecontainedads forGoldmanandSalatschmen'sclothingstore, whetherfashionis vilifiedbecauseof its associationwith the
whichhe designedin 1898. MaryMcLeoddiscussesAdolfLoos's feminine, or whether it is accusedof being feminine by its
embraceof Englishtailoring as a modelformodernarchitecture.
opponentsas partof a rhetoricalstrategyof condemnation.
The leader of this effort, in Wigley's estimation, was
SigfriedGiedion, whom he characterizesas the chief infor-
ynous clothing in architectural design and discourse also mation officer of the "fashionpolice" and whose writings,
starklyrevealsthe extentto which genderbecamea primary especiallySpace,TimeandArchitecture: TheGrowthofa New
way of signifyingpowerstruggles,evenwhen sexualityitself Tradition(1941), disciplinedtroops of young architectsfor
was not necessarilyat stake.'0An extreme(or shouldwe say severalgenerationsthereafter.
"hysterical"?)example is Loos's gender-baitingattack on Modern architects'search for a principle-function,
the "feministiceclectic rubbisharts"of the Wiener Werk- standardization,type, a machineaesthetic-that would save
stdittein 1927, a chargeto which Hoffmannrespondedwith them simultaneouslyfrom feminizationand the fatalobso-
a libel suit."1 lescence of becomingyesterday'sfashionssuffusesthis mid-
The degree to which architectsand writerson fashion century literature.Even the infamousargumentsbetween
participatedin the dress-reformmovement, while previ- Muthesius and Van de Velde about individualizedversus
ously known from specializedliteratureon fashion or spe- standardizedproduction can best be graspedthrough the

Figure 3 BrunoTaut,Bauen: Der


neue Wohnbau(Leipzig,1927).
The evolution of women's clothing
returns in the 1920s to the simplic-
ity of the Egyptiansand Greeks.

Abb. 28 rFianenkleidUing rvonI alten, Agypten bil helite.


Nach dem Hausfrauenkalender der Franckhschen Verlagshandl ung, Stuttgart.

FASHION AND FABRICATION IN MODERN ARCHITECTURE 475

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subtextaboutclothes in their writings;amplifyingthem is a Recent studiesof late-nineteenth-and early-twentieth-


paralleldiscourseabout the relativevirtues of art-dressor century German architecturaltheory have revealed how
uniformityin clothing,or, one mightmore profitablyargue, closely intertwinedare the termsfashionandstyle;the latter
the differencebetweencoutureandready-to-wear.Although has long been recognizedas a "keyword"in the Kulturver-
Wigley devotesconsiderableattentionto the 1927 Weissen- sus Zivilisationdiscourse, and the former is explored in
hofsiedlungorganized by the Deutsche Werkbund,whose FredericJ. Schwartz's1996 study of the aesthetic, socio-
receptionin subsequentliterature,he argues,is symptomatic logical, and economic writings associatedwith the Werk-
of the blindingeffectsof the mythologyof the white wall in bund, from its formation in 1907 through its 1914
modernarchitecturalcriticism,the debatessurroundingthe exhibition in Cologne.13 The publications of McLeod,
formationof the Werkbundfrom two decadesearlierarein Wigley, and Schwartzare indispensablesupplements and
fact as crucial to understandingthe connections between correctivesto one another.14 Although they analyzemany
fashion and architectureand, indeed, the entire subjectof of the samearchitecturalsources,Schwartzincorporatesthe
mass culturein earlyModernism(Figure4). writings of economists and sociologists whose work was
476 JSAH / 58:3, SEPTEMBER, 1999

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crucialfor Werkbunddiscourse,includingWernerSombart anonymous and insidious but near-magicalrealm of fash-
and Georg Simmel;yet in spite of all his discussionof fash- ion. It was no longer, "In what style shall we build?"but,
ion, he makes no mention of the dress designs of major "Styleor fashion,that is the question";not a battle of styles
Werkbundarchitectsor the obvious point that in many of but a battlefor style.17
these texts,women'sclothes standfor fashionand men'sfor All these recent writings are part of a growing recog-
standardization. His exemplary reconstruction of the nition that a heroic version of Modernism that demonized
intense and occasionallyponderous German literatureon nineteenth-centuryantiquarianismwas in fact indebted to
fashion, however, allows one to develop an ear for the the period's debates about decoration, ornament, poly-
unstated assumptions that inform the slogans and pro- chromy,and historicism,and not only for a set of theoreti-
nouncements about fashion in the literature of modern cal principles to reject. Schwartz's book, furthermore,
architecture. Fashion, Schwartz argues, must be seen in providesan importanthistoricalandintellectualcontextfor
relationto style-or rather,as its antithesis.Never as neu- Walter Benjamin'swritings, particularlyhis notes for what
tral as the concept of space, which also emerged in late- he called the Arcadesproject,an unfinishedbook in which
nineteenth-century German discourse and has received fashionwas a majortopic. Benjamin'sideaswere among the
more attention, fashion was the organizingprinciple for a first to be brought to bear on architecture and fashion,
discussionof what kind of culturalproductioncould coex- notably in Beatriz Colomina's discussions of Loos. The
ist with or even survivemass production.The Werkbund resultis to situateBenjamin'sviews on fashionwithin those
writerswere fixatedupon fashion'sthreat to style, because of the German thinkersto whom he was indebted, rather
its exaggeratedsubjectivitydestroyed society'scapacityto than exclusively within the orbit of his well-known dis-
createconnectedness.For them, fashionboth exploitedand agreements with Theodor Adorno about mass culture.
causedfragmentationin modem life;style'schallengewas to Although Schwartzcautionsagainstassumingthat the dis-
become the unified formal expression of an epoch. This courses of fashion, style, and the commodity remain the
therapeuticnotion of style is quite distant from the classi- same throughoutthe Werkbund'sduration,he nevertheless
fying systems derived from the natural sciences and reads Adorno's "culture industry" thesis and Benjamin's
Enlightenment philosophy; ultimately, however, it was a Arcadesproject as ironic final chaptersin the Kulturkritik
theory of cohesivenessprojectedupon the past. According debates.
to Schwartz,"If style was a figure of longing, it was also a If Loos is the link between Semper and Le Corbusier,
theory of form under precapitalistconditions of culture." then Corbu (or Charles-EdouardJeanneret, in his earlier
The workingsof fashion,by contrast,contained"anascent, incarnation)is the link between the ideas of the Werkbund
if crude theory of mass culture."15 From the dystopia of andthe decorative-artsmovementin France,as Nancy Troy
fashionwould emerge the utopia of style. and others have shown (Figure 5). Loos'sessay "Ornament
In this context one can graspthe sense in which archi- and Crime,"publishedin French in 1913, has long set the
tects felt themselvesto be Davids to fashion'sGoliath; the agenda for historians of the decorative arts, who have
crusadersfor Modernismwere in competitionover the def- sought to understandthe dramaticreversalof fortunein the
inition of the "new" with an inescapable and powerful statusof the decorationthat took placein the yearsbetween
adversary; the very words modern, moderne, and moderniti 1890 and 1914. They wanted to know not only why orna-
contain the evil root modethat needed to be expurgated. ment was "criminalized"but when it was feminized, and
And Otto Wagner obliged, by changing his title Moderne which came first.That domesticitywas anothersite of anx-
Architektur(1896) to Die BaukunstunsererZeit in its last edi- iety and disavowalin Modernismis the thesis of the recent
tion (1914).16The "dilemmaof fashion"turns out to be as collection of essayseditedby ChristopherReed entitledNot
fundamentala discussion for the history of art and archi- at Home: The Suppressionof Domesticity in Modern Art and
tecture at the turn of the last century as the historicists' Architecture (1996). Loos, Le Corbusier,and Benjaminfig-
"dilemmaof style" had been a century earlier,for fashion ure prominently,but little of the other Semperian,dress-
had radicallyalteredthe tempo of change by continuously reform,or antifashionrhetoricappears.Becausediscussions
plunderinghistoricalstyles andpresentingthem, with small of fashion and architecture so frequently crop up in the
variations,in order to stimulateartificiallydemandfor the vicinity of discussionsof domestic architecture,even if the
up-to-date. Vieux-neufis the French term for an historical latterarenot alwayspresentedas such, it becomes apparent
pastiche,and, by extension,it can be appliedto the distinc- that "a successful merger" of the topics of decoration,
tive rhythmof changeand productionof novelty that early- domesticity, and fashion in modern art and architecture
twentieth-century commentators saw deployed in the would be welcome. Debora Silverman'sbook on Art Nou-
FASHION AND FABRICATION IN MODERN ARCHITECTURE 477

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Figure 5 Advertisement for Innovation,
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veau in France,its revivalof the rococo stylemoderne,and mity to a surprising conclusion (Figure 6). Using an
the feminizationof the luxury-craftstraditionprovidesan approachto the historyof clothing suggestiveof both Sur-
importantpart of the picture.Nancy Troy'songoing work realistexhibitiontacticsand ofJ. C. Flugel'sThePsychology
on the couturierPaul Poiret, who joined interior to dress of Clothes(1930),the exhibitionrevealeddressto be a bizarre
design in a mutuallyreinforcingenterprise,will no doubt architectonicreshapingof the humanbody. However,lest
offer another. one be misled, an introductory text panel proclaimed:
The organizationof the fashionindustryinto couture, "Warning!This is NOT a fashionor dress-reformshow."19
ready-to-wear,and interiorsectors needs to be more care- Felicity Scott has describedthe unusualgenesis and unex-
fullycorrelatedwith developmentsin architecture,an analy- pected presentationof this show at MoMA (the only one in
sis Val Warke has undertaken from a contemporary the museum's history devoted to clothing), which, she
perspective,wherethe parallelsseem obvious.'8 The process argues,deployedcostumeas a critiqueof modernarchitec-
by which modern architects embraced,more or less des- ture, specificallyof the excessiverationalizationand disre-
perately,standardizationas the solution to the twin prob- gard for domestichabitstypicalof the InternationalStyle.
lems of style and the chaotic change that afflicted As an architecture-reformshow, it began with a critical
commoditiesis a large topic. Schwartzhas made an impor- investigationof modern domestic habits. Because Rudof-
tantcontribution,with an analysisof Behrens'sdevelopment sky viewed architectureitself as a formalizationof habita-
of a trademarkand brand name for AEG that graspsnot tion and routine behavior,changingclothing'srelationship
only the substitutionof trademarkfor ornamentationin the to the body would entail a changein the spacesthat people
turbinefactorybuilding,but also the creationof a signature inhabit:"A change in dress from irrationalto rationalwill
style for the commodity.At the same time, the early-twen- bring about a parallelchange in our surroundingsand will
tieth-centuryarchitecturaldebateaboutstandardization and permitbetter ways of living."20Aestheticreformulation,in
the identificationof idealtypes(so strikinga departurefrom otherwords,wouldmove bottom-upratherthantop-down,
the typologicalfunctionthatphysiognomyandclothinghad a reversalof the typicalhierarchyof the materialarts. In a
servedin previouscenturies)can be more preciselyunder- displaywindowinstalleda month afterthe show'sopening,
stood by consideringthe history of the fashionindustry. Saks Fifth Avenue took up the narrow question, "Are
The unusualexhibitionorganizedby BernardRudof- clothes modern?"but, accordingto Scott, the architectural
sky 1944 for the Museum of Modern Art, Are Clothes
in journals did not engage Rudofsky'sproposed "readjust-
Modern?bringsthis embraceof standardizationandunifor- ment"of InternationalStyle architectureto accommodate

478 JSAH / 58:3, SEPTEMBER, 1999

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domestic habits.21Here againis a plea for an architecture adornmentthat Baudelairefirstidentifiedin his 1863 essay
of everydaylife, which, more than anythingelse, seems to "The Painter of Modern Life" became by the turn of the
characterizeboth the threat and the promise of architec- centurythe basisof social theories of imitationand emula-
ture'sengagementwith clothing. tion in writings on fashion by Georg Simmel in his essay
Relativelylittle writing on fashionhas originatedfrom "Die Mode" and by Thorstein Veblen in The Theoryof the
within the domain of architecture,whereasthe relatedlit- Leisure Class(1899).23 Today it dominatesunderstandingsof
eraturein economics,history,sociology,anthropology,cos- fashion, which is construedboth as an arenafor the con-
tume history, decorative arts, and women's studies is struction of identity and as a conceptual metaphor that
extensive.Aside from the majorscholarlyeffort underway explainsthe incompletenessand contingencyof that effort.
to write an adequatehistoryof consumersocieties,the most Sorting through these issues and their relevancefor archi-
compelling writing on fashion in the last thirty years has tecturalhistoryis a complicatedtaskandone still underway.
emphasizedunpredictableand resistantuses of commodi- But thanks to these initial analyses,the sheer quantityof
ties, particularlythe mobilizationof style in the definition referencesto clothingand fashionin architecturaldiscourse
of subcultures.22The personal transformation through can no longer be ignored.

FASHION AND FABRICATION IN MODERN ARCHITECTURE 479

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Notes Useful Category of Historical Analysis,"AmericanHistoricalReview91
1. BenjaminH. D. Buchloh, "Criticalreflections,"Artforum35 (January (December 1986):1053-1075, reprintedin JoanWallaceScott, Genderand
1997):69. The full text reads:"Predictedwith gloom in Theodor Adorno thePoliticsofHistory(New York,1988), 28-50.
and Max Horkheimer's1947 Dialecticof Enlightenment,cited since then 11. Wigley (76-77) discussesthe incident,which is known primarilyfrom
almostritualisticallyby artists,critics,andtheoreticiansas though the invo- newspaperaccounts.His sources are WernerJ. Schweiger,WienerWerk-
cationcouldperhapsstill wardoff the inevitable,it hasbecomeindisputable stdtte:Designin Vienna,1903-1932 (New York,1984), and EduardSekler,
that the sphere of social production traditionallycalled 'avant-gardeart' JosefHoffmann:TheArchitectural Work(Princeton,N.J., 1985).
andthe one called,since 1947, the 'cultureindustry'haveperformeda suc- 12. Osip Brik, "FromPicture to Calico-Print [1924],"excerptin Charles
cessfulmerger.Oneforce that fused them is fashion." Harrisonand Paul Wood, eds., Art in Theory:1900-1990: An Anthologyof
2. Giannino Malossi, "The Industryof Fashion,"Rassegna73 (1998): 53. ChangingIdeas(Oxfordand Cambridge,Mass., 1992), 327-328. Originally
Specialissue on "Coating." published in LEF (Moscow), no. 6 (1924): 30-31, 34. Translationby R.
3. "Die Mode is die Vorgaingerin, nein, die ewige Platzhalterindes Surre- Sherwood,Form(Brighton)no. 10 (October 1969). ChristinaKaierdeliv-
alismus"(Fashionis the forerunner,no, the eternalplaceholderfor Surre- ered a paper entitled "Agit-Fashion"on Popova'sand Stepanova'stextile
alism). Walter Benjamin, Das Passagen-Werk,vol. V:1 of Gesammelte and clothing designs in the session "Fashion,Culture, and Identity"that
Schriften,ed. Rolf Tiedemann(Frankfurtam Main, 1982), 113. On the role Nancy Troy and I cochairedat the College Art Associationannualconfer-
of fashionin Benjamin'swork, see also SusanBuck-Morss,TheDialecticsof ence in 1999. The fledgling attemptto create a socialistconsumersociety
Seeing:WalterBenjaminandtheArcadesProject(Cambridge,Mass.,andLon- in the 1920swill be discussedfurtherin Kaier'sforthcomingbook on Rus-
don, 1989). sian Constructivism.
4. There is a largeliteratureon these topics by now, but severalearlybooks 13. FredericJ. Schwartz,The Werkbund: Design Theoryand Mass Culture
inspiredby WalterBenjamin'sresearchagendawere decisivein shapingthis Beforethe First WorldWar (New Haven and London, 1996). See also
topic. See Michael B. Miller, The Bon Marche:BourgeoisCultureand the FrancescoDal Co, FiguresofArchitecture and Thought:GermanArchitecture
DepartmentStore,1869-1920 (Princeton,N.J., 1981); RosalindWilliams, Culture,1880-1920, trans. Stephen Sartarelli(New York, 1990), which
DreamWorlds: MassConsumption in LateNineteenth-Century France(Berke- noted the importanceof discussionsof fashion.
ley, 1982);Johann Friedrich Geist, Arcades: The a
Historyof BuildingType 14. In an endnote addendumto his book, Schwartzstressesthat "the dis-
(Cambridge,Mass.,and London, 1983).For the convergenceof the tactics cursivefunctionof the concept of fashionthat McLeod and Wigley focus
of exhibition,publicity,anddisplayat Bloomingdale'sandthe Metropolitan on can only be understoodthroughan explorationof the materialeconomy
Museumof Art in the 1980s, see Debora Silverman,SellingCulture:Bloom- implied by the term."See p. 227 n. 67.
ingdale's,Diana Vreeland, andtheNewAristocracy of Tastein Reagan'sAmerica 15. Ibid., 27.
(New York,1986). 16. McLeod, 40, and Wigley, 167, both refer to HarryFrancisMallgrave,
5. The editorsof this volumeidentifythe eventsandsourcesleadingto their Introductionto Otto Wagner,ModernArchitecture (SantaMonica, Calif.,
publicationas follows:a seminaron fashiongiven in 1987 by Val Warkeat 1988), 45.
Cornell University; Beatriz Colomina's 1990 lecture "The Split Wall: 17. Fritz Schumacher,"Stilund Mode,"in Im KampfeumdieKunst:Beitriige
DomesticVoyeurism,"laterpublishedin Colomina,ed., SexualityandSpace zu architektonischen Zeitfragen(Strasbourg,1899),24-25, cited in Schwartz,
(New York, 1992), 73-128; the workshop "Gender,Fashion, Style: The 28. See Wolfgang Herrmann,ed., "InWhatStyleShouldWeBuild?":The
Constructionof Modernity,"which I cochairedwith MaryMcLeod at the GermanDebateonArchitectural Style (SantaMonica, Calif., and Chicago,
BarnardFeministArt HistoryConferencein 1990,anda subsequentlecture 1992).The title is from HeinrichHiibsch,In welchemStylesollenwirbauen?
by McLeod at Princetonin the fall of 1990;andMarkWigley'stheorization (1828) (Karlsruhe,1984).
of structureand ornamentin graduateseminarsat Princeton. 18.ValK. Warke," 'In'Architecture:Observingthe Meaningsof Fashion,"
6. See Harry FrancisMallgrave,"Introduction,"in GottfriedSemper:The in Deborah Fauschet al., eds., Architecture: In Fashion,(New York, 1994),
FourElementsofArchitecture andOtherWritings,trans.HarryFrancisMall- 125-147. In a fascinatingpaper presented at the 1991 symposium that
graveand WolfgangHerrmann(Cambridgeand New York,1989), 24 and remainsunpublished,H6lkne Lipstadtused Bourdieu'sanalysisof trade-
293 n. 84. Mallgraverejects the customarytranslationof Bekleidung:"I markin couture to trace the emergence of signatureson buildingsin the
believe the narrower rendering of this term as 'cladding' (with all its nineteenthcentury.See PierreBourdieuandYvetteDelsaut,"LeCouturier
'
unhappyassociationsin English of an inexpensivecovering)fundamentally et sa griffe:contribution un theorie de la magie,"Actesde la Recherche en
distortsthis crucialconceptof his theoryandestrangesthe notion of 'dress- SciencesSociales1 (January-February 1975):7-36.
ing' fromits relatedconceptof 'masking.'"It would be interestingto know 19. Felicity Scott, " 'PrimitiveWisdom' and Modern Architecture,"Jour-
whether"cladding"becamethe common term in partbecauseof the Mod- nal ofArchitecture3 (Autumn1998): 241-261, wall label quoted by Scott,
ern Movement'semphasisupon structureratherthan surfaceor ornament. 247.
7. Mark Wigley, White Walls,DesignerDresses:TheFashioningof Modern 20. Ibid., 248.
Architecture (Cambridge,Mass., and London, 1995), 88. 21. Ibid., 241. Rudofsky'sexhibition was first called to my attention by
8. "Theremay be people who thinkagainsta backgroundof black.But the ChristinaCaloghirou,whose master'sthesis cites the Saks display."Mar-
tasksof our age-so strenuous,so full of danger,so violent, so victorious- keting the Aesthetic Encounter:The Role of Consumptionin the Design
seem to demand of us that we think against a backgroundof white." Le of the Museumof ModernArt,"master'sthesis, MassachusettsInstituteof
Corbusier,"ACoat of Whitewash:The Law of Ripolin,"in TheDecorative Technology,1998.
Art of Today(Cambridge,Mass., and London, 1987), 192. 22. For usefulintroductionsto this burgeoningareaof scholarship,seeJohn
9. CharlesBaudelaire,"The Salonof 1845,"in Baudelaire: SelectedWritings Brewerand Roy Porter, Consumption and the Worldof Goods(London and
onArt andArtists,trans.P. E. Charvet(Cambridgeand New York,1972), New York,1993);Ann BerminghamandJohn Brewer,eds., The Consump-
105. tionof Culture1600-1800:Image,Object,Text(LondonandNew York,1995);
10. A classicstatementof this fundamentaltenet is Joan Scott, "Gender:A John Brewer and Susan Stavis, eds., EarlyModernConceptions of Property
480 JSAH / 58:3, SEPTEMBER, 1999

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(LondonandNew York,1996);andVictoriade GraziaandEllen Furlough, ernArt andArchitecture. London:Thames and Hudson, 1996.
eds., The Sex of Things:Genderand Consumption in HistoricalPerspective Rudofsky, Bernard. Are Modern?Catalogueof the exhibition,
Clothes
(BerkeleyandLos Angeles, 1996).This lastvolume containsa comprehen- Museum of Modern Art,New York,November 1944-March1945.
sive bibliographyon fashionandrelatedsubjects. -. Are ClothesModern?An Essayon Contemporary Apparel.Chicago:
23. There are severalversionsof Simmel'sessay.It first appearedas "Zur Paul Theobald, 1947. Revisedas The Unfashionable HumanBody.New
Psychologie de Mode," Die Zeit (Vienna),12 October 1895, and the final York:Doubleday,1971.
version,"DieMode,"canbe foundin Philosophische Kultur:gesammelte Essais Schwartz,FredericJ.TheWerkbund: DesignTheory andMassCultureBeforethe
(Leipzig, 1911).The versionmost often quotedis "Die Mode" from 1904, FirstWorldWarNew HavenandLondon:YaleUniversityPress,1996.
translatedas "Fashion(1904),"in DonaldLevine,ed., GeorgSimmelonIndi- Scott, Felicity." 'PrimitiveWisdom' and ModernArchitecture." Journal
vidualityandSocialForms,(Chicago, 1971). ofArchitecture 3 (Autumn1998):241-261.
Semper,Gottfried. TheFourElementsofArchitecture and OtherWritings.
Selected Texts Translatedby HarryFrancisMallgraveandWolfgangHerrmann.
Benjamin,Walter.Das Passagen- Werk.VolumesV:1 andV.2 of Walter Cambridgeand New York:CambridgeUniversityPress, 1989.
Benjamin:Gesammelte Schriften.Edited by Rolf Tiedemann.Frankfurt Silverman,Debora.Art Nouveauin Fin-de-SiecleFrance:Politics,Psychology
am Main:SuhrkampVerlag,1982. and Style.Studieson the History of Society and Culture,no. 7. Berke-
Colomina,Beatriz."The Split Wall:Domestic Voyeurism."In Colomina, ley and Los Angeles:Universityof CaliforniaPress, 1989.
ed., SexualityandSpace,73-128. PrincetonPaperson Architecture. Troy,NancyJ. Modernism andtheDecorativeArtsin France:Art Nouveauto
New York:PrincetonArchitecturalPress, 1992. Le CorbusierNew Haven:YaleUniversityPress, 1991.
. PrivacyandPublicity:ModernArchitecture as MassMedia.Cam- -. "Domesticity,Decoration and ConsumerCulture:SellingArt
bridge,Mass., and London: MIT Press, 1994. and Design in Pre-World War I France."In ChristopherReed, ed.,
Fausch,Deborah,PauletteSingley,RodolpheEl-Khoury,andZvi Efrat,eds. Not at Home:TheSuppression in ModernArt andArchitec-
of Domesticity
Architecture:In Fashion.New York:PrincetonArchitecturalPress,1994. ture, 113-129. London:Thames and Hudson, 1996.
Le Corbusier.TheDecorative Art of Today.TranslatedbyJames I. Dunnett. Warke,Val K. " 'In' Architecture:Observingthe Meaningsof Fashion."
Cambridge,Mass., and London:MIT Press, 1987. In DeborahFauschet al., eds., Architecture:In Fashion,125-147. New
Loos, Adolf. Spokenintothe Void:Collected
Essays1897-1900. Translatedby York:PrincetonArchitecturalPress, 1994.
Jane O. Newman andJohn H. Smith. Cambridge,Mass., and Lon- Wigley,Mark."ArchitectureafterPhilosophy:Le Corbusierand the
don:MIT Press, 1982. Emperor'sNew Paint."JournalofPhilosophy andthe VisualArts2
. "Ornamentund Verbrechen"(1908). Translatedas "Ornament (1990): 84-95.
and Crime"by WilfredWang in YehudaSafranand WilfredWang, -. "White Out: Fashioningthe Modern (Part2)."Assemblage 22
eds., TheArchitecture ofAdolfLoos,100-103. London:ArtsCouncil, (December 1993):6-49.
1985. -. "White Out: Fashioningthe Modern."In Deborah Fauschet al.,
McLeod, Mary."UndressingArchitecture:Fashion,Gender,andModer- eds., Architecture:
In Fashion,148-268. New York:PrincetonArchitec-
nity."In Deborah Fauschet al., eds.,Architecture:In Fashion,38-36. turalPress, 1994.
New York:PrincetonArchitecturalPress, 1994. - . WhiteWalls,DesignerDresses:TheFashioningofModernArchitec-
Reed, Christopher,ed. Not at Home:TheSuppression in Mod-
of Domesticity ture.Cambridge,Mass., and London:MIT Press, 1995.

FASHION AND FABRICATION IN MODERN ARCHITECTURE 481

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