AngloMania Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion Andrew Bolton, Harold Koda

Publication date:
28 Nov 2006
Metropolitan Museum of Art
160 pages: 298 x 235mm
81 color illus.


Anglomania, the craze for all things English, gripped Europe during the mid-to-late 18th century.  As perceived by Anglophiles such as Voltaire and Montesquieu, England was a land of reason, freedom, and tolerance, a place where the Enlightenment found its greatest expression.  What began as an intellectual phenomenon, however, became and has remained a matter of style.  Through the lens of fashion, AngloMania examines aspects of English culture, such as class, sport, royalty, pageantry, eccentricity, the gentleman, and the country garden, which have fuelled the European and American imagination.
This beautiful book presents historical costumes juxtaposed with late 20th- and early 21st-century fashions by Hussein Chalayan, John Galliano, Stephen Jones, Shaun Leane, Alexander McQueen, Philip Treacy, and Vivienne Westwood.  As with the hugely successful exhibition “Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century” at the Metropolitan Museum, the clothing is styled as a series of thematic vignettes in the Museum’s English Period Rooms.  This book comprises photographs of the installations along with text written by Andrew Bolton.
From AngloMania, we learn that Englishness is a romantic construct based on fictive and imaginary narratives.  In terms of fashion, these narratives emerge as ones that are satirical, nostalgic, theatrical, and like the English weather, at once indomitable and unpredictable.

Andrew Bolton is Associate Curator of The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

'When combined with the contextual and historical information that heads each new chapter of the catalogue, this volume becomes more than simply a visually fascinating offering; it is an amusing historical documentation of the English, as perceived by those outside the British Isles. If it is a different take on both history and fashion that you are after, this catalogue provides itself a high quality and refreshingly quirky read.' - Alanna Freeman, The Art Book