Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management
Apparel, Merchandising, and Design
Sara B. Marcketti
Anaïs Nin (b: 1903, d: 1977) was a twentieth-century author of fiction and a lifelong diary. She was born in France, raised in Belgium, Spain, and New York, and spent her adult life in France, New York, and California. Nin’s published diaries were the work that brought her the most recognition in life. In 1986, the first of a series of posthumously published unexpurgated diaries revealed Nin’s romantic partnership with American author Henry Miller (b: 1891, d: 1980) and a short-lived intimate relationship with her cousin Eduardo Sanchez (b: 1904, d: 1986). Using the historical research method, this study documented Nin’s dress and appearance practices, as described in the diaries, in 1931-1932. This study examined the original, handwritten journals upon which the first volume of Nin’s unexpurgated published diaries was based, specifically those written October 1931 through October 1932, plus the journal of Nin’s husband, Hugh P. Guiler (b: 1898, d: 1985), and related secondary sources.
This study’s findings included Nin’s overall appearance, apparel (including dress for day and evening), cosmetic surgery, Spanish dance costume, body image, the effects of Henry Miller’s appraisal of her appearance, and a love of luxury that existed within a bourgeois-bohemian tension. Nin loved silk stockings and French perfume, felt her self-esteem enhanced by Henry Miller’s admiration of her appearance, and had an awareness of her appearance and its effects on herself and others. She was aware of Henry Miller’s fascination with slum living and her own fascination with his wife June Mansfield Miller’s (b: 1902, d: 1979) bohemian ways. Although Nin spent many days and nights in Henry Miller’s apartment in Paris, she was never to give up her bourgeois life with her husband Hugh P. Guiler (not even after her bigamous 1955 marriage to Rupert Pole, b: 1919, d: 2006). She may have sacrificed on her dress in some respects, by wearing mended stockings to save to be able to spend money on gifts for Henry Miller, but she also made cosmetic surgery a priority. As Nin herself wrote, “Absolute luxury is not a necessity to me, but beautiful and good things are.”
Michel, Gwendolyn, "“Beautiful and good things”: The Dress of Anaïs Nin, 1931-1932" (2018). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 17268.