Unfolding the Past
“A fascinating, often funny, and eminently stylish personal memoir … I loved it.” - Chris Breward, author of The Suit
“Wide-ranging, thought-provoking and important.” - Claire Wilcox, author of Patch Work
Elizabeth Wilson is a pioneer of fashion studies, yet she never intended to become an academic. Starting her literary career as a feminist activist writing for the underground press, she went on to explore tennis, 'bohemians' and of course fashion – her obsession – along with forays into fiction. Throughout, she has never seen her work as abstract or disengaged from 'real life'.
In her memoir, she traces this relationship between personal experience and her writing, revisiting pivotal moments from childhood, adolescence and adult life to explore her belief that research, by its nature, is always a form of autobiography. She unfolds the garment of her life in a wide-ranging exploration of scenes from her past: her difficult relationship with her mother, fashion in the 60s and gay liberation. In this journey through time she shows how experiences are inseparable from the way we seek to explain and understand them, offering a unique and deeply personal account of her – and our – cultural world.