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  • Published: 12 July 2021
  • ISBN: 9780141991252
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 376
  • RRP: $26.99

What Artists Wear

A revelatory journey through the wardrobes of modern and contemporary artists, by fashion critic and art curator Charlie Porter, featuring original interviews, as well as over 300 images selected by the author

Most of us live our lives in our clothes without realizing their power. But in the hands of artists, garments reveal themselves. They are pure tools of expression, storytelling, resistance and creativity: canvases on which to show who we really are.

In What Artists Wear, style luminary Charlie Porter takes us on an invigorating, eye-opening journey through the iconic outfits worn by artists, in the studio, on stage, at work, at home and at play. From Yves Klein's spotless tailoring to the kaleidoscopic costumes of Yayoi Kusama and Cindy Sherman; from Andy Warhol's signature denim to Charlotte Prodger's casualwear, Porter's roving eye picks out the magical, revealing details in the clothes he encounters, weaving together a new way of understanding artists, and of dressing ourselves.

Part love letter, part guide to chic, and featuring generous photographic spreads, What Artists Wear is both a manual and a manifesto, a radical, gleeful, inspiration to see the world anew-and find greater pleasure and possibility in the clothes we all wear.

  • Published: 12 July 2021
  • ISBN: 9780141991252
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 376
  • RRP: $26.99

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Praise for What Artists Wear

A liberation and a joy, beautifully written and brilliantly thought. What Artists Wear is at once a revelatory account of how art is made and an electrifying investigation into the relationship between clothes and autonomy, freedom and power

Olivia Laing

Brilliant, loving, visually incisive

Hilton Als

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

Jennifer Higgie, author of The Mirror and the Palette

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

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


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




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


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


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 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




A roving, intimate analysis of the clothes that inform art

AnOther Magazine

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


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

The Art Newspaper

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