Dressed to Rule


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Royal and Court Costume from Louis XIV to Elizabeth II

Philip Mansel

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Throughout history rulers have used clothes as a form of legitimization and propaganda. While palaces, pictures, and jewels might reflect the choice of a monarch’s predecessors or advisers, clothes reflected the preferences of the monarch himself. Being both personal and visible, the right costume at the right time could transform and define a monarch’s reputation. Many royal leaders have known this, from Louis XIV to Catherine the Great and from Napoleon I to Princess Diana.
This intriguing book explores how rulers have sought to control their image through their appearance. Mansel shows how individual styles of dress throw light on the personalities of particular monarchs, on their court system, and on their ambitions. The book looks also at the economics of the costume industry, at patronage, at the etiquette involved in mourning dress, and at the act of dressing itself. Fascinating glimpses into the lives of European monarchs and contemporary potentates reveal the intimate connection between power and the way it is packaged.

Philip Mansel was educated at Oxford and is the author of several highly praised works of history, including Constantinople: City of the World’s Desire 1453–1924 (1995). He is a frequent reviewer and writer for newspapers and magazines and is editor of the journal The Court Historian.

"Witty, scholarly and highly readable, this is a book to relish, and one only wishes it was longer."---Country Life

"Should Mansel ever submit to the Mastermind chair on this topic, he would score highly - even if I were setting the questions.  He has written a most enjoyable book."---Literary Review

"A magnificent treasure trove of suggestive detail and telling comparisons, hugely impressive in range. . . . His elegantly tailored prose glitters with anecdotal gems. . . . Mansel's study opens up an entirely new perspective on the culture of Europe's old-time ruling elites.”—John Adamson, Sunday Telegraph

"Mansel draws a remarkable global panorama from 1840 to 1914."—Veronica Horwell, The Guardian

"Engaging. . . . Mansel's well-written study, replete with over sixty-nine illustrations, is exactly what students, especially those wearing baseball hats, sitting in the back rows of lecture halls, and interested in hip-retro-attire, will love to read."—Philip F. Riley, The Historian
ISBN: 9780300244502
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
256 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
50 b/w + 16 color illus.

Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean

Philip Mansel

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