Style over Substance?: Fashion, Spectacle and Narrative in Contemporary US Television

Warner, Helen (2009) Style over Substance?: Fashion, Spectacle and Narrative in Contemporary US Television. Journal of Popular Narrative Media.

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Abstract

Previous scholarship on fashion and film has debated the aesthetic role played by onscreen costume. Yet there has been little exploration of fashion and its use in television. Existing work on fashion in onscreen media has approached the debate from a textual perspective, and such work has been informed by the longstanding assumption that fashion acts primarily as ‘spectacle’, disrupting the economy of narrative flow. This article seeks to challenge this assumption by arguing that previous work is limited by the wider conceptual and methodological problems of purely textual approaches. Using CW’s Gossip Girl as a case study, the author suggests that a mixed method approach to the study of costume (using both textual analysis and reception studies) provides a more productive foundation upon which to begin to examine the function of onscreen fashion in contemporary US television. Such an approach may have particular importance in understanding how costume in ‘fashion-forward’ television can be best understood if one steps beyond the text to explore the sense-making of viewers, the intentions of costume designers and the relationship between viewers, the shows and the wider fashion market.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Film,Television and Media
University of East Anglia > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Political, Social and International Studies
Depositing User: Helen Warner
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2011 15:40
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2019 13:43
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/35637
DOI:

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