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  • Published: 28 November 2023
  • ISBN: 9780241602751
  • Imprint: Particular Books
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $45.00

Bring No Clothes

Bloomsbury and the Philosophy of Fashion



An anarchic, intimate, lushly illustrated look at the clothes and lives of the Bloomsbury Group

Why do we wear what we wear? To answer this question, we must go back and unlock the wardrobes of the early twentieth century, when fashion as we know it was born.

In Bring No Clothes, acclaimed fashion writer Charlie Porter brings us face to face with six members of the Bloomsbury Group-the collective of creatives and thinkers who were in the vanguard of a social and sartorial revolution. Each of them offers fresh insight into the constraints and possibilities of fashion today: from the stifling repression of E. M. Forster's top buttons to the creativity of Vanessa Bell's wayward hems; from the sheer pleasure of Ottoline Morrell's lavish dresses to the clashing self-consciousness of Virginia Woolf's orange stockings; from Duncan Grant's liberated play with nudity to John Maynard Keynes's power play in the traditional suit. As Porter carefully unpicks what they wore and how they wore it, we see how clothing can be a means of artistic, intellectual and sexual liberation, or, conversely, a tool for patriarchal control.

As he travels through libraries, archives, attics and studios, Porter uncovers new evidence about his subjects, revealing them in a thrillingly intimate, vivid new light. And, as he begins making his own clothing, his own perspective on fashion-and on life-starts to change. In the end, he shows, we should all 'bring no clothes', embracing not just a new way with fashion but a new philosophy of living-one which activates the connections between the way we dress and the way we think, act and love.

  • Published: 28 November 2023
  • ISBN: 9780241602751
  • Imprint: Particular Books
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $45.00

Also by Charlie Porter

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Praise for Bring No Clothes

- - Praise for What Artists Wear

Brilliant, loving, visually incisive

Hilton Als

Compelling

Apollo

Revelatory

Guardian

An insightful account ... whether offering visual analysis or social observation, Porter writes with clarity and wit

Frieze

A fascinating exploration of the clothing worn by the rebels, rule breakers and outliers of the artistic world, and what it means to live in it ... The book defies convention ... Porter's curiosity is infectious

Esquire

Eclectic, invigorating ... the chapters devoted to female artists make for the most fascinating reading, their clothes liberating them by giving them permission to be different

Observer

Unique, intelligent and enlightening, super interesting and so well researched. It is rare indeed to come across a book that not only captures the imagination, but informs and amuses at the same time. Each turn of the page is a surprising delight. Perhaps what is most striking about this book is its authenticity ... Charlie Porter's seriousness and genuineness, coupled with his off-kilter sense of humour, not forgetting his huge talent, seep through the entire production. Not a fake nor pompous note anywhere. This is simply the real article, just like Charlie

Adrian Joffe, President of Comme des Garçons

A roving, intimate analysis of the clothes that inform art

AnOther Magazine

Wonderful ... I read it in one delicious gulp. An important page-turner

Jennifer Higgie, author of The Mirror and the Palette

Delicious ... What Artists Wear can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of your art or fashion knowledge ... Porter shares each anecdote with the confidence and clarity of a story teller, weaving memories into the book

Glass

Timely ... intimate ... A leisurely, contemplative journey through the art world of the 20th Century, as shown through the medium of the artists' own clothes

Hypebeast

Brilliant and unexpected... What Artists Wear approaches fashion in a wholly different way

Showstudio

Personal and brimming with anecdotes ...Porter explores the intrinsic connections between artists and their choice of clothing with agility, nuance and insatiable curiosity... His diverse curatorial eye holds both geographic and historical breadth

Dan Thawley, A Magazine Curated By

A clarion call to examine not only the clothes of artists but also our own

The Art Newspaper

Manual and manifesto - a fabulous and interesting read

Lauren Laverne

Unexpected, lushly illustrated ... As a connoisseur of the lived-in, Porter delights at Lee Krasner's paint-spattered slippers and the tactile richness of Alberto Giacometti's rumpled suit

Hettie Judah, V&A Magazine

As he cycles through the lives of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Sarah Lucas, Martine Syms, and Joseph Beuys, Porter's deep dive is a tender report on the legacies we leave behind and the clothes that accompany us along the way

Dazed Books of the Year

Inquisitive and insightful, Porter's skillful dissection of the historical context, social commentary, and personal symbolism behind each artist is a pleasure to get lost in

Publishers Weekly

Unique, wide-ranging... Style guru Charlie Porter takes us on a voyage of discovery

Creative Boom

Porter captures the various 'archetypes' associated with artists. He emphasises the shift from the 'codification of patriarchy to the breaking of the canon

Araba Opoku, The Art Newspaper

Clothes can be a prison. But Porter makes a powerful argument that they offer freedom too, to work against the structures "that control what we all wear

En Liang Khong, Times Literary Supplement

A triumph. I could read Charlie Porter's books all day long. He makes us see a subject we thought we knew so well from a completely different angle; in writing that is deeply researched, but inviting, warm, and full of personality

Katy Hessel

A call to arms from the first page - it's thrilling and radical

Chantal Joffe

Charlie Porter is a magician, a radical historian who has pulled away all the threadbare myths about Bloomsbury, using clothes as a way of revealing the vulnerable bodies and wild new ideas of Woolf and her circle. In his hands, what people wear becomes an astoundingly rich way of thinking about love and grief, art-making and intimacy - and above all about old power structures and how to upend them. Bring No Clothes is at once an enriching account of the past and a primer for the future: a guide to how we too can clothe our bodies for freedom

Olivia Laing

Charlie Porter applies a literary critic’s close reading to the clothes of the early twentieth century, unpicking philosophical texts from their textures. Bring No Clothes offers a way of recalibrating the world by understanding the tensions that underpin and overdetermine it through the ways we dress. With curiosity and contemporaneity, he finds in the Bloomsbury Group’s experiments in intimacy a queer possibility for the way we live today

Sam Buchan-Watts, author of Path Through Wood

One of the best books about Bloomsbury!

Maggie Humm, author and Vice Chair of the Virginia Woolf Society

Fascinating

Samira Ahmed, BBC Front Row

Spot-on ... the way the [Bloomsbury] circle thought about clothes was part of a wider revolt ... Thanks to his access to the contents of several Bloomsbury wardrobes, together with a trove of previously unseen photographs, Porter is able to provide a detailed illustration of how "Make it new" played out on the material level

Guardian

Excellent … Porter’s generous, empathetic eye feels like a corrective for the more salacious historical depictions of the Bloomsbury Group’s affairs … Bring No Clothes doesn’t just introduce a new frame of thinking, it adds a fresh layer of humanity to the collective

Independent

Unlocks the Bloomsbury Group’s wardrobes to expose the intricate interplay between attire, liberation and control

Vogue

A deep dive into the wardrobes of the Bloomsbury Group. Behind colour choices and hemlines are fascinating insights into their bodies and minds

Monocle

Porter clearly enjoys [the Bloomsbury Group’s] company – exploring how Virginia Woolf’s loose, long-line garments, John Maynard Keynes’s ‘soft tailoring,’ Vanessa Bell’s wildly colourful home-made dresses, photographs of a naked Duncan Grant, and the loosening of EM Forster’s buttoned-up suits all demonstrate the radicalism of a group of people determined to live differently

New Statesman

Spot-on ... the way the [Bloomsbury] circle thought about clothes was part of a wider revolt ... Thanks to his access to the contents of several Bloomsbury wardrobes, together with a trove of previously unseen photographs, Porter is able to provide a detailed illustration of how "Make it new" played out on the material level

Guardian

Fresh, empathetic … personal as much as intellectual … Bring No Clothes might be read as the manifesto of a queer human

Times Literary Supplement

A call to arms from the first page - it's thrilling and radical

Chantal Joffe