Throughout the mid-twentieth century, Ethiopia experienced a period of rapid modernization that affected the ways in which the Ethiopian people—particularly those in the capital city of Addis Ababa—navigated the shifting world around them. Their relationship with a modernizing urban center is explored in this article through the lens of portraiture and fashion. Examining the unique social presence of the Ethiopian royal family in the media, both at home and abroad, this article presents an analysis of the fashionably dressed bodies of Emperor Haile Selassie and his children within a broader scope of the politics of embodiment and the formation of a modern Ethiopian identity, one that specifically celebrated the successes of the Ethiopian monarchy.

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