Books: Dedicated follower of fashion

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The Independent Culture
Dress historian Aileen Ribeiro has set Jean- Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867) up as the Mario Testino or the David Bailey of his day. Ingres's famous portraits - currently displayed at the National Gallery in London - show dark-eyed, solemn-faced women in opulent surroundings. They recline on brightly coloured satin sofas, their plump white arms resting on cushions; or stand next to draped tables, framed by dark, heavily patterned wallpaper. But what stands out is the clothes. Ingres meticulously recreates every detail of every crease, fold, tuck, bow, collar, bead and embroidery of these women's outfits. Looked at in this way, his work can be seen as documenting the subtly shifting fashions of the 19th century. Madame Marcotte de Sainte-Marie, seen above in a sketch for her finished portrait, wears a brown silk pelisse dress typical of the 1820s. The book includes colour plates alongside Ribeiro's essays on how the identities of Ingres's women are defined and moulded by what they wear.

'Ingres in Fashion', Yale University Press, pounds 30