The 20th Century saw the effective end of haute couture, the rise of prêt à porter and, finally, the triumph of street fashion. Bonnie English unravels the complexities and contradictions behind these changes to chart the history of modern fashion. What caused the demise of haute couture in the 20th century? What does the "democratisation" of fashion actually mean? Which key designers bridged the gap between "couture," with its associations of elite class and taste, and "street style," a product of tribalism and of popular culture and protest? If fashion imitates art and art imitates life, does life imitate fashion--do we wear the clothes or do the clothes wear us? Setting fashion within its social, cultural and artistic context,this book presents an engaging history of the interplay between commerce and culture, technology and aesthetics, popular culture and pastiche, and fashion and anti-fashion.