An 'unexpected pearl': gender and performativity in the public and private lives of London couturier Norman Hartnell

Jane Hattrick

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter

Abstract

The London couturier Norman Hartnell, active between 1923-1979, is best known for dressing British royalty. This chapter, however, offers up a new view of this famous, royal dressmaker. Hartnell’s personal consumption of fashionable clothes in both men’s and women’s styles helped him construct duel identities as both ‘actress’ and ‘dandy’. Hartnell’s self-fashioning thus reflected his personal taste and his sexual subjectivity as an effeminate gay man. This chapter argues that Hartnell’s taste and identity translated into the garments he designed, resulting in his signature looks and house style. Using surviving garments, personal effects and photographs, this work will demonstrate the marrying of object based dress and fashion history approaches with what Lou Taylor has described as ‘critical stories’, issues and theories of taste, gender and sexual identity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDress history: new directions in theory and practice
EditorsCharlotte Nicklas, Annebella Pollen
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury
Pages145-160
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781474240512
ISBN (Print)9780857855411
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2015

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