Visibility and invisibility: make-up for the nightclub

Miller, Janice (2018) Visibility and invisibility: make-up for the nightclub. In: Kries, Mateo , Eisenbrand, Jochen and Rossi, Catharine, (eds.) Night fever: designing club culture, 1960-today. Weil am Rhein, Germany : Vitra Design Museum. pp. 272-281. ISBN 9783945852248


This chapter is concerned with the relationship between makeup and the culture of the nightclub. It seeks to illustrate how makeup, a largely overlooked area of design history, has been a significant aspect of bodily adornment in club culture. Here, the chapter argues, make up symbolises and expresses identity in these spaces, particularly when it comes to gender. The chapter examines a number of iconic venues, and uses textual analysis to consider the social and cultural significance of club makeup in these various moments. Further, this chapter argues that makeup deserves greater attention as a technology of the body since the nightclub has been a space in which makeup has played a key role in enabling club-goers to raise a challenge to social convention. The chapter emphasises that makeup, so often associated with the surfaces of the body has, on many occasions, triggered real and lasting social change.

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