Dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of fashion from an academic perspective, the quarterly journal Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture views fashion as a cultural phenomenon, offering the reader a wide range of articles by leading Western and Russian specialists, as well as classical texts on fashion theory. From the history of dress and design to body practices; from the work of well-known designers to issues around consumption in fashion; from beauty and the fashionable figure through the ages to fashion journalism, fashion and PR, fashion and city life, art and fashion, fashion and photography — Fashion Theory covers it all.

In this issue's Dress section, Francesca Granata's Fashion Studies In- Between: A Methodological Case Study and an Inquiry into the State of Fashion Studies discusses the challenges in creating a multi-methodological approach to doctoral theses that take the study of fashion as their subject. Using her doctoral thesis on the Bakhtinian grotesque in fashion at the turn of the twenty-first century as a case study, the author highlights the need for the inclusion of theories and methods from a wide variety of disciplines and fields. The article also sets up a comparison between fashion studies and other emerging or newly emerged disciplines and fields, chiefly film and performance studies. It suggests a parallel between the relation of fashion studies to costume studies, and the rela­tion of performance studies to theater studies. Finally, the article opens up the question of whether it is desirable for fashion studies to become a self-standing discipline and/or to remain an interdisciplinary field, as it is described within the introductory pages of this journal.

Once again we focus on the relationship between art and fashion. In Is Fashion Art? Sung Bok Kim suggests that most academic research on fashion fails to take into account one of vogue's most vital characteris­tics — aestheticism. The shortage of works focussing on the aestheticism of fashion gave rise in the early 1980s to a discussion around whether fashion could be seen as art. The debate became especially heated in 1983, when the Costume Institute of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art held a special exhibition to mark the 25th anniversary of Yves Saint Lau­rent's work as fashion designer. Prior to this event, the author stresses, contemporary fashion had not been considered the stuff of museum ex­hibitions. Following the Metropolitan exhibit, however, other museums followed suit, putting on a series of events that linked fashion and art. Sung Bok Kim looks at some of these in detail, focussing in particular on 'Fashion and Surrealism' at London's Victoria and Albert Museum and the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, in 1987; 'Intimate Archi­tecture: Contemporary Clothing Design' at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1982; 'Infra-Apparel' at the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Gallery in 1991; the Roberto Capucci exhibition 'Sculptures in Fabric' held as part of the 1995 Venice Biennale, and the 'Art-to-Wear' exhibition of the 1995 Biennale in South Korea's Gwangju.

Offering a critical analysis of the relationship between fashion and art, the author then looks at several scholarly notes and articles on fashion that appeared in art periodicals between 1980 and 1995. Sung Bok Kim also examines different views on fashion, including the approaches adopted by prominent critics, and attempts to trace the evolution of critical fashion theory as a branch of aesthetic thought.

Sanda Miller presents Fashion as Art; Is Fashion Art? The question whether fashion can be regarded as a form of art begs the question of, what kinds of things can legitimately be thus regarded. In the first section, some of the most recent contributions to dealing with this issue are critically analyzed. The conclusion that emerges is that — like art — clothes can provide the subject of historical research.

The second section deals with the aesthetics of clothes. If sartorial fashion can be a form of art, then we need an aesthetic of fashion. Whilst it would be difficult to contest the artistic quality of clothes throughout the centuries, fashion — like architecture — fulfils primarily a functional dimension. Some of the key concepts pertaining to classical aesthetics, such as taste in the writings of Edmund Burke, the Third Earl of Shaftesbury, and Immanuel Kant, with special reference to Kant's less well-known writings on anthropology, under which he classified fashion, are discussed. Some of the more recent contributions, such as Curt J. Ducasse's brilliant 1944 article The Art of Personal Beauty, are also treated in this section. Finally, Karen Hanson in her article Dressing Up, Dressing Down: The Philosophic Fear of Fashion addresses this important issue, arguing that — like dance perhaps — fashion has systematically been disregarded by philosophers as a worthy subject of research. Like so many articles in Fashion Theory, this piece is an attempt to redress this balance by seeking new ways of providing a serious theoretical and aesthetic basis for the study of sartorial fashion.

In Culture Transition: Fashion's Cultural Dialogue between Com­merce and Art, Melissa Taylor examines the fashion phenomenon in the context of contemporary culture. Within post-modern culture, fash­ion's constantly evolving presence and placement in the spheres of both culture and commerce, have forced a widespread re-evaluation of its significance in cultural debate. The production of fashion now exists within a diverse range of contextual settings, and as such encompasses a broad range of communicational scope. In the media, from internet sites offering photographs and video footage of fashion shows, to the innu­merable glossies of today, fashion is communicated in the commercial domain as a cyclical industry, whilst it is simultaneously critiqued in cultural theory. It is in this new cultural placement of that fashion arena that designers can afford much of the same creativity as is to be found in the art world. It is in its newly found presence in both high and pop­ular culture that fashion finds itself located across both commerce and art, and now seems to be entering into a new cultural dialogue of previ­ously opposing cultural contexts.

Nicky Ryan's Prada and the Art of Patronage examines the relationship between luxury brands and the arts through an analysis of Prada's patronage of 'avant-garde' artists and architects. Luxury is a relational concept and the significance of Prada's strategies of distinction is contextualized within the prevailing narratives of luxury. The collaboration between Prada and Rem Koolhaas in the creation of the New York and Los Angeles epicenter stores provides a detailed case study through which to explore what is at stake in the corporate appropriation of 'avant-garde' positions within the parameters of the market. It is argued that the 'cultural capital' of artists such as Sachs, Gursky, Elmgreen & Dragset, and architects such as Rem Koolhaas is appropriated to produce symbolic capital for the Prada brand. The proposition that global corporate identity has increasingly become linked with artistic creativity is tested in relation to Pierre Bourdieu's writings about social distinction (1984) and his analysis of the 'field' of cultural production (1993).

In the Body section, Luciana Ugrina offers Celebrity Biometrics: Norms, New Materialism, and the Agentic Body in Cosmetic Surgery Photography. This article offers a critical reading of celebrity media to examine new understandings of the body. Reviewing before-and-after cosmetic surgery images, the author argues that celebrity photography surfaces a dual tendency. The body of cosmetic surgery is often conceived as inert raw material, the passive recipient of technological modification. On the other hand, the body is also seen as active and unpredictable in ways that correspond to new materialist understandings of the body. These understandings take shape alongside a biometric dynamic that has made its way into celebrity media as well, one that promises to decode the surgically transformed body. Acknowledging that the body is agentic — lively and wilful in its own right, and thus subject to change in ways that both sustain and destabilize normative standards — opens out new perspectives on cosmetic surgery and other body modification practices.

Florentina C. Andreescu's article Covering over Trauma with a Fetishized Body Image: The Invasive Imaginary and Cosmetic Surgery reflects on late capitalism's societal shift from one structured by language and the prohibition of enjoyment, to one in which images and the command to enjoy have become the driving force, and this shift's connection to the increased societal need for cosmetic surgeries. The author argues that this shift has impacted one's sense of ontological security, usually provided by symbolic networks. The new, narcissistic subject's body inhabiting the imaginary society bears an atomistic vision of security, stemming from the subject's growing aggressivity, all of which leads to focusing on controlling and reshaping the body. Instead of a symbolic identity associated with modernity, this late- or post­modern narcissistic subject identifies with an image of his/her surgically chiselled body, through which the subject expects to experience a sense of wholeness, security, enjoyment, and mastery of the self.

In this issue's Culture section, we offer Margarita Albedil's 'They'll Cover Your Hair, They'll Bring You New Cares': On the Ritual Sym­bolism of Marriage Rites. The Russia of today boasts plenty of mar­riage agencies only too happy to organize a wedding to suit any taste, however outlandish. Yet most Russians prefer to stick to what is seen as a more traditional scenario. The bride wears white, the groom a dark suit; a playful 'bride kidnapping' scene is staged, followed by a lush or modest wedding ceremony in a Palace of Weddings or Registry Office. Some couples decide to exchange vows in an Orthodox church before the customary tour of Moscow and wedding reception. Despite being seen as traditional, however, this sequence of events is hardly rooted in Russian customs. Seen as the main event in a person's life, the wedding rituals of the Eastern Slavs, ancestors of present-day Russians, were en­tirely different to the marriage ceremony of today. Complex procedures with clear sacral and religious meaning, they were more closely connected with magical rites. In certain parts of Russia, elements of the old ceremo­ny survived as late as the early 20th century. Much has been written on the wedding rites of Eastern Slavs, and the author did not feel the need to describe in detail each stage and element. Focusing instead on certain key aspects of the rites, Albedil discusses their intense depth and sym­bolic significance, as well as their social and psychological impact. The marriage ceremony, the author argues, was largely directed at the bride rather than the groom. Thus, Albedil focuses her main attention on the role of the bride in this process.

Irina Mikhailova offers 'The Newlywed Prince Cometh with His Train': Weddings in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Muscovy. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Russians tended to believe that closely observing traditional marriage customs would guarantee young newlyweds a long and happy life together. Keeping to old customs, it was supposed, would help ensure that the young people would have many healthy, clever and obedient children and grandchildren. Describing the medieval Russian wedding ceremony, historian Dr. Irina Mikhailova concludes that it was a pompous, semantically complex ritual, fusing traditional Christian rites and practices aimed at purification and protection. Practised in Muscovy up until the late seventeenth century, many of these rites had their roots in ancient Slav pagan traditions.

Natalia Lebina presents Black and White Red Wedding. The mar­riage industry with all its different elements is relatively well-established in present-day Russia. The basic ingredients of this industry were actually formed in Soviet times through the active engagement of various state bodies. Despite this, however, the authorities did not begin to take a positive view of wedding rituals, or of the organisation of weddings in this way until the 1960s. Between the 1920s and early 1940s, state policy was clearly directed at destroying the traditional visual elements of city weddings that had become established by the time of the revolution in 1917 and were linked with exchanging vows in church. Church weddings had necessarily involved wedding rings, a snow-white wedding dress and veil for the bride and, generally, a dark suit for the groom.

Lebina's piece then looks at how new Soviet wedding rituals came about. The author explains how attitudes towards the ritual aspect of the city wedding changed, tracing the evolution of the various elements of the ceremony. These, Lebina stresses, became a curious fusion of old and new, modern and traditional. The author follows this process through several decades, opening with the first Soviet Code on Marriage and Family. Passed in 1918, this destroyed the remaining feudal traits of the Russian family, bringing greater freedom to private life and acknowl­edging the social demand for common-law marriage that had emerged by the early twentieth century. Lebina closes with the new Code on Mar­riage and the Family passed in 1969, which took account of the changes in marriage procedures that had taken place over the 1960s.

Yulia Demidenko's piece is on Marriage Blanc. Over the years, a number of eminent personages from the Almanach de Gotha have been credited with introducing the white wedding dress. Some attribute the custom to Queen Victoria, while others say Empress Sisi of Austria was behind the tradition. How much truth is there behind such theories? In this article, Deputy Director for Research at the St. Petersburg State History Museum, art historian Yulia Demidenko examines the various notions concerning the origins of the white wedding dress and comes to the conclusion that most of them are in fact groundless. The author also looks at the evolving tradition of the white wedding dress in Rus­sia and in the West.

In this issue's Events section, Ksenia Borderiu visits the exhibition 'Dries van Noten: Inspirations' at the Paris Musee des Arts Decoratifs (1 March — 31 August 2014).

Jana Melkumova-Reynolds presents Italian Dictionary: a review of 'The Glamour of Italian Fashion' at London's Victoria and Albert Mu­seum (5 April — 27 July 2014).

Lorraine Hamilton Smith looks at 'Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!' at the Embankment Galleries, Somerset House, London (20 November 2013 — 2 March 2014).

Elisabeth Wilson walks us through 'Camouflage' at the Imperial War Museum, London (18 March — 23 September 2007) and 'Sailor Chic' at London's National Maritime Museum (25 July — 2 December 2007).

Irina Sirotkina contributes Touching and Educational: her review of 'BezGraniz Couture', held as part of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia in Moscow's Manezh (27 March — 1 April 2014).

Olga Annanurova's (Non)chronological Montage discusses 'Erwin Blumenfeld (1897 — 1969). Photographs, Drawings, Photomontage' at Moscow's Multimedia Art Museum (19 February — 11 May 2014).

In the Books section, Ksenia Gussarova offers Identity: Patterns from Couture — her review of Parkins I. Poiret, Dior and Schiaparelli: Fash­ion, Femininity and Modernity. London; N.Y.: Berg, 2012. 194 pp.; ill.

Liuba Popova presents The Last Emperor of Fashion on Tony di Corcia's Valentino. Ritratto a Piu Voci dell'Ultimo Imperatore della Moda. Lindau, Torino, 2013. 300 pp.

Erica Esau contributes Colour in Detail, her take on Blaszczyk R. L. The Color Revolution. The MIT Press, 2012.

Margaret Maynar offers More than a Catalogue: her review of Stag­ing Fashion 1880-1920: Jane Hading, Lily Elsie, Billie Burke, ed. Michele.