Well Turned Out: Art and Fashion Titles Walk the Runway

Anderson, Fiona. Tweed. Bloomsbury Pr. (Textiles That Changed the World). Dec. 2016. 232p. ed. by Linda Welters. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781845206963. $114; pap. ISBN 9781845206970. $34.95.

Young, Caroline & Ann Martin. Tartan + Tweed. Frances Lincoln. Feb. 2017. 240p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780711238220. $35. DEC ARTS

Appealing to anyone exploring the language of fashion, Tartan + Tweed, from journalists Young and Martin, weaves the material history of these ubiquitous textiles, chronicling their enduring popularity and shifting cultural meanings in fluid prose and plentiful illustrations. Several previous books also delve into tartan’s history and appearances in popular culture, notably Jeffrey Banks and Doria de la Chappelle’s glamorous Tartan: Romancing the Plaid, and Jonathan ­Faiers’s denser, more academic Tartan. ­

Independent curator Anderson’s Tweed joins the same “Textiles That Changed the World” series as Faiers’s 2008 title. ­Anderson’s study brings new research to the history of tweed, expanding beyond Harris Tweed and upper-class Britain to a more global view. Tweed groans with endnotes, with mostly black-and-white illustrations and a textbook-like format. Books on tweed are generally fewer and less colorful than those on tartan. The most dynamic parts of both Young/­Martin’s and Anderson’s wide-­ranging volumes consider how fashion designers including Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, Ralph Lauren, and Coco Chanel employed and deployed traditional fabrics in serious and subversive ways. They further investigate the curious ability of these fabrics to sustain contradictory meanings. Also of note are Tartan + Tweed’s guides to identifying types—herringbone to houndstooth, Black Watch to Stewart—with practical tips on buying a kilt and caring for a tweed suit. VERDICT Give Tartan + Tweed to your menswear-loving friends, and put Tweed on your fashion history course reserve.—Lindsay King, Yale Univ. Libs, New Haven, CT

redstarColors in Fashion. Bloomsbury Pr. Nov. 2016. 256p. ed. by Jonathan Faiers & Mary Westerman. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781474273688. $114; ebk. ISBN 9781474273718. DEC ARTS

Why did the British suffragettes wear white? What color did Thailand’s Queen Sirikit sport on Fridays? And why were dyed green carnations in the early 1800s so deadly? The role of color in the world of fashion, as readers will learn, is to inform, communicate, and even discriminate, as well as to illustrate political, economic, and sexual ideas. This book includes 16 of the best papers presented at the 2014 Costume Colloquium conference held in Florence, Italy, and they cover many shades of the rainbow to answer the questions above, as well as the meaning of black in postwar Paris, how fashion and color are used to show identity and belonging with the Yoruba in Nigeria, and how early colorized silent films employed high fashion to attract female viewers and blur the lines between upper- and lower-class forms of entertainment. VERDICT Readers of fashion, costume, and design, as well as anthropology, history, and art history will enjoy this accessible, fun title.—Melissa Aho, Univ. of Minnesota Bio-Medical Lib., Minneapolis

Corn, Wanda M. Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern. Prestel. Mar. 2017. 320p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9783791356013. $60. FINE ARTS

Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986) came of age as a young woman and an artist when the “functional simplicity” of the arts and crafts movement was in vogue and a woman’s dress said something about her modernity. Art historian Corn (Seeing Gertrude Stein) considers O’Keeffe’s influences but points to photos of the artist (eschewing the ribbons, bows, and puffed sleeves of her classmates) that indicate O’Keeffe’s minimalist aesthetic formed early on. These qualities, as seen in the painter’s dress, living quarters, and work are clearly articulated and well documented in this generously illustrated book. Thirty years of photos of O’Keeffe by Alfred Stieglitz (and other photographers who came after) offer evidence of how little her style changed over the years, as do numerous images of the beautifully designed and exquisitely sewn garments she made for herself, commissioned and purchased, and preserved. While not immune to contemporary fashions, occasionally adapting new trends and regional wear to her wardrobe (more colors in the 1950s, Marimekko dresses in the 1960s, denim), O’Keeffe’s signature style was one that fused “male with female and East with West.” VERDICT A fascinating, holistic look at a 20th-century icon, superbly illustrated.—Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal

redstarEngel, Allison & others. ThriftStyle: The Ultimate Bargain Shopper’s Guide to Smart Fashion. Charlesbridge. Sept. 2017. 224p. photos. ISBN 9781623545024. $15.99. DEC ARTS

This comprehensive guide is written in a friendly, approachable way, as if your cool aunts took you along to their favorite Salvation Army shop. It’s much more than a thrift store junket, though. All three authors are seasoned thrifters and have years of writing and TV experience (twins Allison and Margaret Engel collaborated on plays and the Food Network’s Food Finds; TV producer Reise Moore has worked with A&E’s Biography and for Animal Planet). Here they canvas 165 stores around the country and then stage a “fashion shoot” using real people in all-thrifted ensembles (Roger Snider’s photos are charming and plentiful). The book also features trips to the tailors, dry cleaners, reweavers, and sewists who help whip the bargain finds into shape—a nice touch to see the people behind the scenes. Throughout, the authors convey the joy of discovering designer pieces for pennies, and the chapters on defining your own style and developing your eye to find those hidden treasures among the racks are informative. An extensive resources list includes many online and app options, from finding a store to learning to sew to stain removal. Lightly laid atop the shopping advice is an admonition against fast fashion and waste. VERDICT Slip this into your valise the next time you visit ­thriftlandia.—Liz French, Library Journal (LF)

Heck, Erik Madigan & others. Erik Madigan Heck: Old Future. Abrams. Mar. 2017. 160p. photos. ISBN 9781419725913. $45. DEC ARTS

Beautiful images are a constant in Abrams publications, and this volume does not disappoint. Intended as an introduction to the work of photographer Heck, it features 100 of his fashion and nature images, both in the studio and plein air. The photos admirably illustrate his versatility, respect for his models, and commitment to beauty and the art of photography. Luscious, saturated colors and patterns make it sometimes difficult to tell where the models begin and end, what is fabric, and what is background. Shooting primarily for independent designers, Heck does not follow preconceived notions of what photography should be. He works to understand the designer and uses ornament, graphics, shapes, and shadows to bring his ideas and their creations to life. This book also includes short essays by Susan Bright (independent curator of photography, Art Photography Now) and Justine Picardie (editor in chief, Harper’s Bazaar UK; Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life). Bright also features an interview with Heck and a list of plates, which includes the piece, model, designer, and collection on display. VERDICT Sumptuous photographs that will appeal to artists, designers, and photographers alike.—Nancy J. Mactague, ­formerly Aurora Univ. Lib., IL

Hill, Colleen. Paris Refashioned, 1957–1968. Yale Univ. Feb. 2017. 252p. photos. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780300226072. $55. DEC ARTS

The 1960s saw a major shift in the fashion industry, from the dominance of Parisian haute couture to a grudging acceptance of ready-to-wear (prêt-à-porter). The changing style toward a more active and youthful look simultaneously inspired French designers, such as stylists ­Emmanelle Khanh and Sonia Rykiel. Hill (Exposed; Fairy Tale Fashion) is associate curator of accessories at the Museum of FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in New York and draws upon its extensive collections in her analysis and the associated exhibition. Her detailed account includes American press reactions to these modern French designs and contemporaneous reviews accompanied by images from Vogue, Elle, and the exhibition. Four essays add depth to this story as they describe activism in 1968 Paris, the impact on couturiers Cristóbal Balenciaga and Yves Saint ­Laurent, and changes in fashion photography during the 1960s. VERDICT A compelling account of how French fashion came to reflect societal changes as women embraced a more modern and active role in the world.—Nancy B. Turner, Temple Univ. Lib., Philadelphia

Kelly, Simon & Esther Bell. Degas, Impressionism, and the Millinery Trade. Prestel. Mar. 2017. 296p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9783791356211. $75. FINE ARTS

Walking the streets of Paris, Edgar Degas frequently peered into the shop windows of the many millinery establishments of the day. This affection for and devotion to the fashions of the times is brought to light in this catalog for an extraordinary traveling exhibition of the artist’s many images of the milliners, “modistes,” and hat wearers. The book’s four major essays by curators and art experts discuss Degas’s portrayal of women in 19th-century life; examine what were essentially female professions at the time; spotlight various creators and their evolution in the fashion world; and look into the modernizing of a historical tradition in the period. Art history, social history, the fashion and textile industry, and the role of women in commerce are covered in this impressive work. Curators Kelly and Bell pay tribute to the famous Parisian milliners with a series of wonderful images of 19th-century Paris. The well-annotated illustrations give readers a splendid opportunity to see some of these marvelous creations and to appreciate the time and effort that went into their making. VERDICT Hats off to those who put together such a singular production, intellectually and visually, remarking on a very special aspect of the work of Degas and as such, a stimulating addition to the literature.—Paula Frosch, Metropolitan Museum of Art Lib., New York

London Uprising: Fifty Fashion Designers, One City. Phaidon. Feb. 2017. 608p. ed. by Tania Fares & Sarah Mower. photos. ISBN 9780714873350. $100. DEC ARTS

Printed on a combination of faux newsprint and glossy paper, using Courier typeface in a vintage hand-typed style, post-bound with photographs of designers and their styles, this is more scrapbook than study. Accompanying the photographs are interviews by established London-based fashion journalists with 50 contemporary designers. The title goes behind the London fashion world’s closed doors, into studios ranging from one-room, live-work spaces to comfortable home offices to corporate entities. Showcased are well-known names such as Stella McCartney and Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, who designed the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress, as well as newcomers to the scene. In addition to several of the interviews, editors Fares (founder, BFC Fashion Trust) and Mower (MBE; visiting professor, Central Saint Martins, London) contribute chapters about the city’s unique style and how the fashion uprising came about. VERDICT This informative book with its numerous, colorful images will be of interest to designers and design students.—Nancy J. Mactague, formerly Aurora Univ. Lib., IL

Piazza, Arianna. Fashion 150: 150 Years, 150 Designers. Laurence King. Oct. 2016. 536p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781780676203. $65. DEC ARTS

This fashion parade begins with an introduction by Piazza (history of art, textiles, & fashion, Afol Moda, Milan), which discusses the intersectionality of art and fashion and the interactivity of fashion among designers, makers, and wearers. Then the title marches down the runway in alphabetical order, from Colombian-born designer Haider Ackerman, whose gowns are regularly worn by edgy fashion types, to Zoran, a Yugoslav minimalist who had no formal fashion training. In between these two are many well-known game changers, such as Christian Dior (the New Look), Diane Von Fürstenbrg (wrap dresses), Jean Paul Gaultier (cone bras!), and Elsa Schiaparelli (shocking pink), various counterculture “movements” (e.g., “Ethnic,” “Preppy,” “Hipster,” “Emo”), a few mass-market brands, even the movie Lolita. The listings have “Inspiration & Philosophy” and “Icons” boxes focusing on the designers’ and movements’ achievements and influences. Mood boards from designers such as ­Armani, Chanel, and Yamamoto are also included. VERDICT This big, bold, and beautiful book is a pleasure to browse; it will delight art and fashion historians and those who seek style inspiration.—LF

Possémé, Evelyne & others. Jeweled Splendors of the Art Deco Era: The Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan Collection. Thames & Hudson. Apr. 2017. 256p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780500519479. $75. DEC ARTS

Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan (1933–2003) was an avid art collector and had one of the finest private collections of Islamic art in the world. In 1972, he married Catherine Aleya ­Beriketti Sursock, and together they amassed a magnificent collection of jeweled art deco objects created by Cartier, Boucheron, and Van Cleef and Arpels, to name a few. Photographer Doug Rosa does a magnificent job of presenting some of their most gorgeous vanity cases, cigarette cases, and miscellaneous objects from the 1920s and 1930s. The art deco period was a time of technological advances and decadent styles. There are over 230 objects represented in fine detail. Each chapter has a catalog of the items with thorough descriptions. Many of the pieces are also shown with the original design drawings. This entire book is a feast for the eyes with images of intricate inlay, bright colors, and inventive design. VERDICT An elegant offering filled with jeweled works beyond compare but not a necessary purchase.—­Sandra Knowles, South Carolina State Lib., Columbia

redstarRibeiro, Aileen. Clothing Art: The Visual Culture of Fashion, 1600–1914. Yale Univ. Feb. 2017. 582p. illus. ISBN 9780300119077. DEC ARTS

Ribeiro’s (emeritus, ­history of dress, Courtauld Inst. of Art, London) complete and engaging narrative addresses the history of clothes seen through European art from 1600 to 1914. She demonstrates how fashion portrayed in paintings might be altered by the artist while still communicating information about the style of a specific period or revealing truths about the figures depicted. Presented chronologically yet also thematically, the book begins with an exploration of portraiture and how the real vs. the imaginative in attire played out through this medium. The same ideas are also discussed in relation to the issue of ­national dress, in this case in 17th-century Holland. In the 18th- and early 19th-century France and England, the predilection for dressing up in clothing reflecting a romanticized past is examined. In 19th-century France, modernity is reflected in fashion developing as a growing industry. Lastly, in the more modern eras, dress reform is reflected in art with the liberation of the corset and the simplifying and relaxing of the lines of women’s garments through the style of “artistic dress.” Also during this period, artists such as Henry Van de Velde and Gustav Klimt designed clothes themselves. VERDICT Well written and stunningly illustrated, this title is recommended for readers interested in the history of dress.—Sandra Rothenberg, ­Framingham State Univ. Lib., MA

redstarSims, Josh. Men of Style. Laurence King. Nov. 2016. 192p. photos. ISBN 9781780678641. pap. $29.95. DEC ARTS

Sims (Icons of Men’s Style) presents 43 “men of style” in this compendium. There are the bad (Johnny Cash, Jim Morrison, James Dean, Alain Delon, the Duke of Windsor), the beautiful (Delon again, David Bowie, Johnny Depp, Cary Grant), the homely (Serge Gainsbourg, Winston Churchill, Gabrielle D’Annunzio), the icons (Bob Marley, Elvis Presley, John F. Kennedy, Frank Sinatra), and writers, artists, basketball players, and literary lights (Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Truman Capote). Sprinkled among the well-known subjects are a few lesser-known gents, including London tailor Tommy Nutter, who introduced the Rolling Stones, Elton John, and others to the bespoke world, and Jean René Lacoste, creator of the Izod shirt. The brief bios discuss each man’s personal style and effect on the world: jazz musician Miles Davis co-opted the preppy look early in his career; Depp was the first male to receive the Fashion Designers of America Fashion Icon Award; actor Steve ­McQueen’s wife advised him to show off his muscled forearms in The Great Escape. Much is made of tailoring and accessory choices, especially designer watches. VERDICT A lavishly illustrated collection featuring stylish men, with a little something for everyone. ­Recommended for all libraries, fashion and otherwise.—LF

Short Takes

Markowitz, Yvonne J & Elizabeth Hamilton. Oscar Heyman: The Jewelers’ Jeweler. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Apr. 2017. 160p. illus. ISBN 9780878468362. $45. DEC ARTS

“Jewelers’ jeweler” Oscar Heyman & Brothers, founded in 1912 by a Russian immigrant family, is still creating exquisite pieces for elite firms. This work includes vintage and contemporary creations, drawings from the company’s archives, and photos of famous clients wearing the jewelry. Boston Museum of Art curator emerita Markowitz and researcher/writer Hamilton shine a light on a business that previously worked behind the scenes and is now creating jewelry under its own name.—LF

Weir-de La Rochefoucauld, Juliet. Lydia Courteille: Extraordinary Jewellery of Imagination and Dreams. Antique Collectors’ Club. Nov. 2016. 240p. photos. index. ISBN 9781851498376. $75. DEC ARTS

A monograph covering the life and work of contemporary Parisian jeweler Lydia Courteille presents her fanciful, ornate, gothic creations, many meditating on the brevity of life and the battle of good and evil. Courteille cites many influences, including African and Amazonian imagery, fairy tales, memento mori items, and beasts mythical and real. The photographs are delightful, but the use of graphic representations of fantasy-like rather than human models might be off-putting for some.—LF

Wilcox, Claire with Elizabeth Currie. Bags. Thames & Hudson. (V&A Accessories).May 2017. 160p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780500519370. $24.95. DEC ARTS

This updated, beautifully bound volume from the “V&A Accessories” series looks at purses and handbags primarily from London’s Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A). Fashion curators and coauthors Wilcox and Currie, who spent years at the V&A, trace the development of bags in the 16th century through the designer “it” bags of the 2000s. With informed commentary, 90-plus ­illustrations, and a glossary.—LF

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