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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.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780300106978
ISBN-10: 0300106971
Format: Hardback
(235mm x 156mm x 23mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Yale University Press
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publish Date: 24-May-2005
Country of Publication: United States


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Author Biography - Philip Mansel

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.

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