Vintage Fashion: Collecting and Wearing Designer Classics, by various authors

>> Thursday, July 23, 2009

TITLE: Vintage Fashion: Collecting and Wearing Designer Classics
AUTHOR: Emma Baxter-Wright, Sarah Kennedy & Kate Mulvey

PAGES: 211
PUBLISHER: Carlton Books

TYPE: Non Fiction

REASON FOR READING: Looked pretty :-)

Vintage Fashion is the ultimate guide to the most exemplary women's clothing from the turn of the twentieth century through the end of the 1980s. Along with a detailed, authoritative text, this gorgeous book offers more than 250 outstanding full-color photographs showcasing the quality fabrics, innovative techniques, silhouettes, shapes, and exquisite workmanship that are testimony to enduring and influential styles.
Ahh, being able to read big, expensive, coffee-table books with plenty of lovely photographs for free: reason number 634 why I love libraries.

Vintage Fashion: Collecting and Wearing Designer Classics has a bit of a deceptive title, as it's more a history of 20th century fashion than a practical guide to actually wearing vintage classics. There's a half-hearted attempt at tips on doing this at the end of the book (advice on which of the pieces you might find in good condition today, that sort of thing) but it had nothing to do with the rest of it.

Being a complete philistine in the area of fashion, I found it all really interesting, although I do have some comments. Chapters (one for each decade) are written by different authors, and there was quite a difference in writing quality. I thought the later chapters were better written, more readable. The images were really beautiful, although sometimes I felt a bit of a lack of coordination between them and the text. I would also have liked the images to illustrate the text more closely. Like, the Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress was mentioned tonnes of times, and yet there were no photos of it. Or, sometimes there would be a mention of a particular dress or style and a picture of it would be pages later.

On a purely personal taste note, from the mid 1970s on, I just hated the fashions shown. So ugly. Previous decades had some particular dresses and styles I didn't care for, but plenty of others that I did, and would actually wear very happily. In the 80s chapter, however, I think there was only a single dress I'd consider wearing these days (unfortunately, I was in my early teens at the end of the 80s, and fashion arrived a bit late to Uruguay, so I did wear some of the ugliest 80s fashions. Ugh). And if this makes me unsophisticated or bourgeoise, so be it.



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