JAMES LAVER QUOTES

British art critic & author (1899-1975)

Ten years before its time, a fashion is indecent; ten years after, it is hideous; but a century after, it is romantic.

JAMES LAVER, attributed, 20,000 Quips & Quotes

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Nothing is more revealing of an age than its hypocrisies.

JAMES LAVER, "Fashion: A Detective Story", Vogue Magazine, January 1, 1959

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When women take off their corsets and heighten their skirts it always means high inflation and low morals.

JAMES LAVER, attributed, Sûrya India, vol. 12

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Today, if you travel the world, everything is the same. If you stay in one spot for a year, however, practically all the women change their hats. We have exchanged the tyranny of place for the tyranny of time.

JAMES LAVER, "Fashion: A Detective Story", Vogue Magazine, January 1, 1959

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Poor Englishwomen! When it comes to their clothes--well, the French reaction is a shrug, the Italian reaction a spreading of the hands and a lifting of the eyes and the American reaction simply one of amused contempt.

JAMES LAVER, New York Times, 1963

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Clothes are never a frivolity: they always mean something, and that something is to a large extent outside the control of our conscious minds.

JAMES LAVER, attributed, Obsessed by Dress

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If we could understand the full significance of a woman's hat we could prophesy her clothes for the next year, the interior decoration of the next two years, the architecture of the next ten years, and we would have a fairly accurate notion of the pressures, political, economic and religious that go to make the shape of an age.

JAMES LAVER, "Fashion: A Detective Story", Vogue Magazine, January 1, 1959

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Every style seems completely appropriate to its epoch. We cannot imagine Madame de Pompadour, or the Empress Josephine, or the early Victorian lady in anything but the clothes she actually wore. Each represents completely the ideals of her time: elegant artificiality or post-Revolutionary morals, or the prudery of the rising middle class.

JAMES LAVER, "Fashion: A Detective Story", Vogue Magazine, January 1, 1959

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The erogenous zone is always shifting, and it is the business of fashion to pursue it, without ever catching it up.

JAMES LAVER, New Society, February 2, 1984

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Clothes are inevitable. They are nothing less than the furniture of the mind made visible.

JAMES LAVER, attributed, Quote Unquote

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A generation ago it was the fashion to declare that we should not look for any meaning in a picture, we should be content with its "significant form." An artist was praised for painting his mother as if she had been a piece of cheese. But the human mind is strangely recalcitrant to such theories. It persists in taking an interest in the "subject" of a picture.

JAMES LAVER, Models and Muses

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When seen in retrospect, fashions seem to express their era. Although it is more difficult to draw conclusions from contemporary clothes, the same principles which hold for the clothes of the past must hold for clothes of the present and the future.

JAMES LAVER, "Fashion: A Detective Story", Vogue Magazine, January 1, 1959

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