This unique survey offers fascinating insights into the convoluted transformations employed by both men and women to accommodate the fickle dictates of fashion. With high design, wit, and style, Fashioning the Body tracks the evolution of these sartorial devices—from panniers, crinolines, and push-up bras to chains, zippers, and clasps—concealed beneath outer layers in order to project idealized figures. Women’s corsets constricted waists; exaggerated buttocks and hips counterbalanced jutting bust lines; and chic, aerodynamic silhouettes compressed breasts and flattened bellies. Yet masculine fashion has been no stranger to these tortuous practices. Men flaunted their virility by artificially broadening their shoulders, applying padding to their chests, and slipping codpieces over their groins. With more than 200 beautiful illustrations—including reproductions of superb historic advertisements—Denis Bruna reveals the industry and art of these contrivances meant to entice and beguile as well as assert status and power. Contemporary haute-couture designers Thierry Mugler, Jean Paul Gaultier, Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garçons, Christian Lacroix, and Vivienne Westwood are featured in this indiscreet tour of intimate fashion history.

Denis Bruna is Curator of pre-19th-century fashion and textile collections at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris.

Table of Contents
Denis Bruna
Medieval Fashion, Bodies, and Transformations
Denis Bruna

Puffed-out Chests and Paunched Bellies: The Broadening of Men’s Bodies from the Fourteenth to the Sixteenth Century
Denis Bruna

The Pourpoint of Charles de Blois
Maximilien Durand

“Falsity and Pretense”: Stuffed Codpieces
Denis Bruna

Women’s Undergarments and the Submission of the Body in the Sixteenth Century
Axel Moulinier, Sophie Vesin

The Enigma of the Iron Corset
Denis Bruna, Sophie Vesin

Under the Ruff
Denis Bruna

The Ancien Regime of the Body
Michel Delon

From the Doublet to the Justacorps: The Male Silhouette in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
Aurore Pierre

Whalebone Stays and Panniers: The Mechanics of Good Carriage in the Eighteenth Century
Anne-Cecile Moheng

Whalebone Stays and Corsets for Children from the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth Century
Anais Beirnat

The Ninteenth Century: From Artifice to Anonymity
Georges Vigarello

The Corset, Essential Protagonist of Modern Feminity
Aurore Bayle-Loudet

Crinolines and Bustles: The Reign of Metallic Artifices
Lina Maria Paz

Corsets, Stomach Belts, and Padded Calves: The Masculine Silhouette Reconfigured
Sophie Lamotte

Contemporary Undergarments
Anna Zazzo

Brassieres, Girdles, Waspies, and Cami-panties since 1900
Charlotte Delory

Corsets, Crinolines, and Bustles in Today’s Fashions: Drawing Creative Inspiration from the History of Undergarments
Sophie Lemahieu

New Underwear and Notions of Virility in Contemporary Society
Shaun Cole