The Concise Dictionary of Dress: by Judith Clark & Adam Phillips

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A brilliant amalgam of psychoanalysis, literature, art and couture, The Concise Dictionary of Dress is bestselling author and psychoanalyst Adam Phillips and fashion curator Judith Clark''s inventive recasting of dress in terms of anxiety and desire. The book is structured as a dictionary, but an unusual one: Each entry--for words including "armor," "brash," "comfortable," "conformist," "diaphanous," "essential," "fashionable," "loose," "measured," "plain," "provocative," "revealing," "sharp," "tight" and so on--is elucidated by a litany of highly unconventional definitions. "Loose," for example, is defined as "1. Never knowingly over-attached; a disappearing act. 2. A moveable feast; not conforming to contour or arrangement; subject to influence and gravity; seeking direction. 3. Of uncertain boundary." Phillips'' entries in The Concise Dictionary of Dress are paired with photographs of installations that Clark created among the rolling racks, rambling corridors and high-security vaults of the Victoria & Albert Museum''s vast reserve collections at Blythe House in west London. Cast objects and photographs, tableaux of clothing and accessories and metaphors of repression and ceremony continue the conversation. Phillips said that viewing the works at Blythe House is "like looking up a word in a dictionary and finding a picture instead of more words; it is not clear whether the word and its definition are the caption, or vice versa."

Judith Clark is Reader in the field of Fashion and Museology at London College of Fashion, where she is Director (with Amy de la Haye) of M.A. Fashion Curation. Clark opened the first independent gallery of dress (Judith Clark Costume Gallery) in 1998, and has since curated major exhibitions at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, ModeMuseum in Antwerp, the Palazzo Pitti in Florence and Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam.

Psychoanalyst and writer Adam Phillips is the author of 14 acclaimed books, most recently Side Effects and On Kindness (written with the historian Barbara Taylor). He is the editor of the New Penguin Freud translations, and a regular reviewer for the London Review of Books.

Norbert Schoener is a German photographer and filmmaker, and the author of The Order of Things. He has exhibited at White Cube, Comme des Garons and Chapman Fine Arts.

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