Chinese Looks

Chinese Looks

Fashion, Performance, Race
Sean Metzger
Distribution: World
Publication date: 04/25/2014
Format: Paperback 35 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-01256-2
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From yellow-face performance in the 19th century to Jackie Chan in the 21st, Chinese Looks examines articles of clothing and modes of adornment as a window on how American views of China have changed in the past 150 years. Sean Metzger provides a cultural history of three iconic objects in theatrical and cinematic performance: the queue, or man's hair braid; the woman's suit known as the qipao; and the Mao suit. Each object emerges at a pivotal moment in US-China relations, indexing shifts in the balance of power between the two nations. Metzger shows how aesthetics, gender, politics, economics, and race are interwoven and argues that close examination of particular forms of dress can help us think anew about gender and modernity.

Author Bio

Sean Metzger is Assistant Professor of Performance Studies in the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television. He is editor (with Olivia Khoo) of Futures of Chinese Cinema: Technologies and Temporalities in Chinese Screen Cultures and (with Gina Masequesmay) of Embodying Asian/American Sexualities.


“A thoroughly researched, richly detailed study of the ways that items of clothing can both reveal and fashion cultural relationships.”
 — SanSan Kwan, University of California, Berkeley

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Table of Contents


Part I. The Queue
1. Charles Parsloe's Chinese Fetish
2. Screening Tails

Part II. The Qipao
3. Anna May Wong and the Qipao’s American Debut
4. Exoticus Eroticus, or the Silhouette of Suzie’s Slits during the Cold War
5. Cut from Memory: Wong Kar-Wai’s Fashionable Homage

Part III. The Mao Suit
6. An Unsightly Vision
7. Uniform Beliefs?
8. Mao Fun Suits

Epilogue: The Tuxedo


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