There’s nothing like knowing that a Really Good costuming book is coming out. Having FOUR to look forward to? I may need a chaise lounge and a fan!
[Full disclosure – I’m an Amazon Associate, so the links to the books below take you to Amazon and will give me like $.02 (and support this site) if you buy from them. If you’d prefer not to support this site, don’t buy from these links!]
First, there’s Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700 – 1915 (coming out Sept. 1, 2010). This accompanies the Fashioning Fashion exhibition (Oct. 2, 2010 – April 3, 2011) at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). LACMA recently acquired a HUGE collection of European costume from the 18th century through the early 20th century, and this exhibition will feature this new acquisition. According to their website, “Highlights will include an eighteenth-century man’s vest intricately embroidered with powerful symbolic messages relevant to the French Revolution; an evening mantle with silk embroidery, glass beads, and ostrich feathers designed by French couturier Émile Pingat (active 1860-96); and spectacular three-piece suits and gowns worn at the royal courts of Europe.” I’ve seen a sneak preview of just one of the 18th century dresses, and it is to DIE for. Thanks to Kim for the heads up that at the same time as this exhibition, they will also be exhibiting a number of paintings and sculptures from big names like Boucher, Vigée-Lebrun, and Fragonard. YAY! Finally something SUPER exciting happening on my side of the country!
Then on Nov. 1, 2010, our friends the Victoria & Albert Museum will be releasing Underwear: Fashion in Detail and Toiles de Jouy: French Printed Cottons, 1760-1830. The Underwear book is another in the Fashion in Detail series, and will highlight the V&A’s collection with incredibly detailed close-up shots. According to the book description, they’ll be including garments “from rare 16th-century examples to Dior’s curvaceous New Look, to Calvin Klein’s notorious briefs.” Toiles de Jouy will be of interest to 18th century costumers — I don’t know too much about the book, but since it’s coming from the V&A, it has to be good!
Finally, on April 1, 2011, the V&A will do it again with Seventeenth-Century Women’s Dress Patterns: Book 1 (thanks to Catherine for the heads up!). I’d heard a while ago that they were working on a book related to 17th century costumes — they’d taken down some pieces from exhibit for the book — but I’d forgotten about it until Catherine emailed me yesterday. According to the book description, “This breathtakingly detailed book presents dress patterns, construction details, embroidery and making instructions for fifteen garments and accessories from a seventeenth-century woman’s wardrobe. Full step-by-step drawings of the construction sequence are given for each garment alongside photographs of the objects and the groundbreaking use of x-ray photography revealing the hidden elements of the clothes, the precise number of layers and the stitches used inside.” I am SUPER excited about this, after making my Nell Gwyn dress (altho I’m also grumbly, because how helpful would this have been?). Oh well, I’ll just have to make another 17th century gown! I’m also excited about the “Book 1″ in the title — does this mean we can anticipate MORE 17th century costume books from the V&A? Be still my beating heart!