L’abito immaginato. Abbigliamento e identità nell’albo illustrato moderno


The essay focuses on the examination of a selection of children’s picture books on the theme of clothing as an element of identity and as a means of personal and social transformation. The gender stereotype has always deprived children of the freedom to imagine themselves different from the imposed social model. Modern quality literature aims to free childhood from these constraints through stories that encourage the free expression of one's personality. "Clothing and childhood" is one of the binomial in which these themes appear most evident. While developing different plots, each selected book tells a story enriched by several levels of reading, more or less evident, and this is also due to particularly accurate illustrations, capable of adding further nuances to the text. Furthermore, even if characterized by the symbolic presence of clothes,  these picture books do not make them the narrative fulcrum. In each of these case studies, clothing becomes a pretext for a journey of self-discovery and affirmation of one's individuality in the world. These case studies are a concrete example of the potential of the picture book as a vehicle of complex concepts and stratifications of complementary or parallel meanings that emerge from the dynamic relationship of the text with the image. Each double page opens multiple, free interpretative paths that can be taken at each reading, as the eye catches new aspects and the thought opens up to new discoveries. The imaginary dress is therefore one of the many parallel topics that it was possible to address through these books, with which the possible interpretations of clothing in children's literature have been explored, highlighting above all how much garments are objects charged with metasignification or with projections of a identity in formation such as the one of children.

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