Women in Weimar Fashion

July 2008
21 black and white illustrations
252 pages
9x6 in
Screen Cultures: German Film and the Visual
Library eBook
Camden House
BISAC SOC028000, HIS014000, HIS054000

Women in Weimar Fashion

Discourses and Displays in German Culture, 1918-1933

Mila Ganeva

eBook for Handhelds
New view of the crucial role of fashion discourse and practice in Weimar Germany and its significance for women.
In the Weimar Republic, fashion was not only manipulated by the various mass media -- film, magazines, advertising, photography, and popular literature -- but also emerged as a powerful medium for women's self-expression. Female writers and journalists, including Helen Grund, Irmgard Keun, Vicki Baum, Elsa Maria Bug, and numerous others engaged in a challenging, self-reflective commentary on current styles. By regularly publishing on these topics in the illustrated press and popular literature, they transformed traditional genres and carved out significant public space for themselves. This book re-evaluates paradigmatic concepts of German modernism such as the flâneur, the Feuilleton, and Neue Sachlichkeit in the light of primary material unearthed in archival research: fashion vignettes, essays, short stories, travelogues, novels, films, documentaries, newsreels, and photographs. Unlike other studies of Weimar culture that have ignored the crucial role of fashion, the book proposes a new genealogy of women's modernity by focusing on the discourse and practice of Weimar fashion, in which the women were transformed from objects of male voyeurism into subjects with complex, ambivalent, and constantly shifting experiences of metropolitan modernity.

Mila Ganeva is Associate Professor of German at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: On Fashion, Women, and Modernity
The Fashion Journalist: Flâneur or New Woman?
Fashion Journalism at Ullstein House
In the Waiting Room of Literature: Helen Grund and the Practice of Fashion and Travel Writing
Weimar Film as Fashion Show
The Mannequins
Fashion and Fiction: Women's Modernity in Irmgard Keun's Novel Gilgi
Appendix I: Biographical Information on Fashion Journalists and Fashion Illustrators
Appendix II: A List of German Feature Films about Fashion from the 1910s, 1920s, and 1930s
Works Cited


Ganeva's carefully researched and clearly written study is not only interesting to film studies scholars for the part that deals explicitly with film. Instead, the entire book works out parallels between the societal perception of fashion and film, both components of popular culture that promised unmatched brilliance and glamour and were medial systems that mirrored the experiences of Modernity in a very direct way and formed a feminine niche in mass culture. FILMBLATT

Mila Ganeva has demonstrated the special meaning of fashion in the discourse on modernity between 1918 and 1933, and particularly has analyzed the intricate role of women between self-empowerment and objectification. .Her work [is] an indispensable contribution to research in this area. QUERELLES-NET

[T]his important and innovative work . . . makes a significant contribution to the emerging literatures of fashion and modernity with respect to gender. H-NET REVIEWS

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