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17th century, 18th century, 19th century, 20th century, books, shopping

Books!

When it comes to costume/fashion history books, I am a sucker. Even though I work in a university library, I still need to own ALL THE BOOKS! With that in mind, here are some recently published and forthcoming books that I am excited about. (It feels like it’s been a while since there’s been a decent number of costume books to be excited about, so, yay!)

Fashion Prints in the Age of Louis XIV: Intepreting the Art of Elegance — I literally just purchased this one, and I can’t wait until it shows up. I’ve only dabbled in 17th century costume, but it forms a basis of the ongoing research I’ve been doing on Turkish influence on 18th century fashion, so I’m looking forward to both reading their analysis and hopefully seeing some fashion prints that are new to me. It was just published at the beginning of this month. From the book’s description,

“Between 1678 and 1710, Parisian presses printed hundreds of images of elegantly attired men and women dressed in the latest mode, and posed to display every detail of their clothing and accessories. Long used to illustrate dress of the period, these fashion prints have been taken at face value and used uncritically. Drawing on perspectives from art history, costume history, French literature, museum conservation and theatrical costuming, the essays in this volume explore what the prints represent and what they reveal about fashion and culture in the seventeenth century. With more than one hundred illustrations, Fashion Prints in the Age of Louis XIV constitutes not only an innovative analysis of fashion engravings, but also one of the most comprehensive collections of seventeenth-century fashion images available in print.”

Style and Satire: Fashion in Print 1777-1927 is from the Victoria & Albert Museum, which is all I need to know. Plus, as well know, satires and caricatures can be such great sources for fashion history — see, for example, my article on 18th century rumps! Also just released.

“From the sky-high coiffures of Marie Antoinette to Victorian hoop skirts, from the sheer gowns of Pride and Prejudice era to the flat-chested 1920s flapper, Style and Satire tells the story of European fashion and its most extreme trends through lavish fashion plates and the glorious satirical prints they inspired. Beautifully printed, hand-colored fashion plates first appeared in magazines and for sale individually in the late 18th century. At the same time (and often by the same artists), satirical prints gloried in the absurdities of fashion, presenting an alternative, often humorously exaggerated, vision of the fash­ionable ideal. Both forms were a product of the same print market, and both documented modern life. Lavishly illustrated, Style and Satire presents a witty and original history of fashion trends.”

Gilded New York: Design, Fashion, and Society — I’m going to NYC in late October, and this is one of the exhibitions I’m really excited to see. I went through a phase of reading about all of the Gilded Age heiresses who went to England (like Consuelo Vanderbilt), so I’ve got a soft spot for the whole late 19th century New York high society thang. I’ll definitely report on the exhibit once I’ve seen it!

“The Gilded Years of the late nineteenth century were a vital and glamorous era in New York City as families of great fortune sought to demonstrate their new position by building vast Fifth Avenue mansions filled with precious objects and important painting collections and hosting elaborate fetes and balls. This is the moment of Mrs. Astor’s “Four Hundred,” the rise of the Vanderbilts and Morgans, Maison Worth, Tiffany & Co., Duveen, and Allard. Concurrently these families became New York’s first cultural philanthropists, supporting the fledgling Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Opera, among many institutions founded during this period. A collaboration with the Museum of the City of New York, Gilded New York examines the social and cultural history of these years, focusing on interior design and decorative arts, fashion and jewelry, and the publications that were the progenitors of today’s shelter magazines.”

The House of Worth: Portrait of an Archive — I’d love to hear from anyone who has purchased this one. It sounds amazing — images from the House of Worth archive at the V&A, with details about designs and fabrics. However, I see in the reviews that most of the images are in black & white, which doesn’t sound as exciting. Has anyone seen this? What did you think?

“Legendary British-born designer Charles Frederick Worth (1825–1895), with enormous talent for design and promotion, built his fashion house into an empire during the last quarter of the 19th century—the first busi­ness of its kind with global reach. His company, through his heirs, endured until 1952, when his great-grandson retired. Profusely illustrated, this astonishing book explores Worth’s success in the realm of haute couture after 1890. Hundreds of photographs selected from the V&A’s unique archive of more than 7,000 official house records capture the Worth style and offer valuable insights into the daily routine at Maison Worth in Paris. Images and text tell the intriguing story of these creations, providing historical context and describing Worth’s inter­national clientele of elegant women of wealth and power.”

Glasgow Museums: Seventeenth-Century Costumes has been on my wishlist for a while now, and at $22 I really should just buy it, because, 17th century! I am super excited that it sounds like they’re planning to publish more books about their costume collection. One reviewer clarifies that the book features mostly “Waistcoats, coifs, bags, hats, gloves” with a focus on “surface embellishments.”

“Rich silks embellished with needlework were used to create expensive, high quality garments, affordable only for the wealthy. Yet their very exclusivity, has meant that few items have lasted through the centuries, many having fallen victim to reuse and re-cycling as other garments and household items. Several rare and beautiful pieces do however survive in Glasgow Museums’ collections. This book is the first in the series of publications about Glasgow Museums’ European Costume collection. Designed to appeal to costume and embroidery enthusiasts and social historians alike, it features new photography and the fruits of recent research, revealing the intricate details of exquisite embroidery.”

The Impossible Wardrobe: Highlights from Three Centuries of French Fashion at the Galliera Museum. The Musee Galliera has a huge, amazing costume collection on the level of the V&A. However, they don’t show a permanent collection; they only do special exhibitions. So I’m really excited to see what gets featured in this book. I saw the Modes en Miroir exhibit (which was about 18th century fashion in France and the Netherlands), and it was really amazing. So I have high hopes! Note that this doesn’t come out until January 2015.

Fashion Victims: Dress at the Court of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette — Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell has published a number of scholarly articles on 18th century dress that are seriously fabulous, plus she’s contributed to a number of books and exhibitions (including LACMA’s Fashioning Fashion). Plus, most of my academic research is in late 18th century French fashion. So, I am THRILLED that she is coming out with this book. THRILLED. And I’m not happy about having to wait until April 2015 for it to come out!

“This engrossing book chronicles one of the most exciting, controversial, and extravagant periods in the history of fashion: the reign of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette in 18th-century France. Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell offers a carefully researched glimpse into the turbulent era’s sophisticated and largely female-dominated fashion industry, which produced courtly finery as well as promoted a thriving secondhand clothing market outside the royal circle. She discusses in depth the exceptionally imaginative and uninhibited styles of the period immediately before the French Revolution, and also explores fashion’s surprising influence on the course of the Revolution itself. The absorbing narrative demonstrates fashion’s crucial role as a visible and versatile medium for social commentary, and shows the glittering surface of 18th-century high society as well as its seedy underbelly. Fashion Victims presents a compelling anthology of trends, manners, and personalities from the era, accompanied by gorgeous fashion plates, portraits, and photographs of rare surviving garments. Drawing upon documentary evidence, previously unpublished archival sources, and new information about aristocrats, politicians, and celebrities, this book is an unmatched study of French fashion in the late 18th century, providing astonishing insight, a gripping story, and stylish inspiration.”

16th century, 17th century, books, exhibitions

Tudor/Stuart Fashion Exhibition & Book

From May to October, Buckingham Palace will hold the exhibition:  In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion.

From the site:

This exhibition explores the sumptuous costume of British monarchs and their court during the 16th and 17th centuries through portraits in the Royal Collection. During this period fashion was central to court life and was an important way to display social status. Royalty and the elite were the tastemakers of the day, often directly influencing the styles of fashionable clothing.

In Fine Style follows the changing fashions of the period, demonstrates the spread of styles internationally and shows how clothing could convey important messages. Including works by Hans Holbein the Younger, Nicholas Hilliard, Van Dyck and Peter Lely, the exhibition brings together over 60 paintings, as well as drawings, garments, jewellery, accessories and armour.

A book related to the exhibit is forthcoming, written by the curator of paintings at the Royal Collection:

It looks like I may be in the UK this June, so I’m hoping to catch this exhibit while I’m there!

18th century, 18th Century Hairdressing Book, 18th century wigs, books, publications, research

18th Century Hairstyling Book?

So, a potentially crazy idea… A conversation at Costume College got me thinking about the possibility of writing a book on 18th century hairstyling (and makeup?) — using modern techniques to achieve a historically accurate look, working with your own hair, adding false hair, and wigs.  Now, this could be a lot of work, so it wouldn’t really be worth the time unless people would buy it.

Here’s what I picture:

  • Something along the line of Lauren Rennells’ fabulous book on vintage hairstyling
  • Start with some history, include lots of pictures and source material (if possible?  gotta look into that whole public domain images thing)
  • Go over some basic your-hair styling techniques, like ways to curl your hair, tease, etc.
  • Go over some semi-advanced wig/false hair styling techniques, like different ways to curl/straighten synthetic hair, ways to create volume, ways to create rolls, how to attach wigs/false hair to your head, how to match colors, how to not look like you’re wearing a Wig, how to adapt a wig for different hairlines, etc.
  • Step by step instructions that walk you through hairstyle for different eras — I picture 1-2 styles for each decade, with some info on variations
  • Hairstyles would be those worn in France and England (there’s some differences b/t the two, and lots of similarities) — the English stuff could be extrapolated to those doing American
  • Possibly 1-2 styles that are appropriate for lower/middle classes, but most would be upper class styles — I would talk about ways to tone things down if you’re doing middle class
  • Mostly I’m picturing this focusing on women, but it could also talk about men’s styles
  • Possibly including some brief info on creating an 18th c. makeup look using modern products
So, crazy idea or good one?  I’ve created a survey that I’d love if you would fill out so I can try to figure out 1) if there’s a market for such a thing, and 2) what specifics people would want.  Please feel free to share any thoughts in the survey or by commenting here — I wonder if people are concerned about geography, class, etc…. And my forte is NOT “here’s how this recipe from this 1764 beauty manual makes up,” so again, we’d be talking modern/theatrical techniques — would that work for you?
Please feel free to forward this survey around!  The more input I get, the clearer an idea I’ll have as to whether or not this is a viable idea.

Here’s the survey:  http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KDVJZY7

And, in case you aren’t a regular reader of this blog, here’s some examples of hairstyles and wigs that I’ve done:

16th century, books, research

Lucas de Heere 16th c. costume illustrations

Researchers of 16th century English costume are probably familiar with Lucas de Heere’s sketch of middle and lower class London ladies (discussed here, higher resolution image here).  It’s an important source, given that de Heere is documented as having actually BEEN in England when it was drawn, and it shows the common people.  Most images depicting common people of this era are drawn/painted by people who may never have seen a commoner of whatever-country in their lives.  There are a couple other famous-within-the-costuming-community images by de Heere:  his images of Irish dress and his allegory of the Tudor succession.

About five years ago, I found some further images of Englishwomen by de Heere in a book on the Valois tapestries, but they weren’t the highest resolution and were only in black and white, which started me on a hunt to find more.  It turns out that he published a costume book with a number of images I’d never seen.  I found an online copy of a dissertation written somewhere in the Netherlands or Belgium which included all of the images, but the resolution was TINY.  So, every year or so I’d do some poking around and hope to find an online or print source with usable images.  And today I found it, digitized at the University of Ghent!

There’s a lot that’s in it that I think will be very interesting to 16th c. costume researchers.  The book is a mix of representations of historical and contemporary dress.  Some of the illustrations are probably pretty accurate, and some may be completely made up.  However, there are enough images that are likely to be correct to make it a great source for costume research, and importantly costume books like this often served as models for future painters (ie an artist needed an image of some French peasants to fill out his/her landscape, so they’d copy those peasants out of a costume book).

Here is a link to the bibliographic data on the book, and here’s the scanned PDF of the book itself…. and here are some individual images from the book that I find most interesting!

16th century, 17th century, books

Another 17th C. Dress Patterns Book!

EEP!  If you loved the first Seventeenth-Century Women’s Dress Patterns — okay, and even if you didn’t! — the next installment, Seventeenth-Century Women’s Dress Patterns: Book 2, comes out on May 1, and can be preordered now.

It sounds really cool, particularly all the info on stays:

Book Two in the V&A’s groundbreaking new series presents 17 patterns for garments and accessories from a 17th-century woman’s wardrobe. It includes patterns for a loose gown, a jacket, a pair of stays and a boned bodice, ivory and wooden busks, shoes, a hat, a stomacher, linen bands and supporters, a bag, and a knife case. It also features a description of the stay-making process. Full step-by-step drawings of the construction sequence are given for each garment to enable the reader to accurately reconstruct them. There are scale patterns and diagrams for making linen and metal thread laces and embroidery designs. Multiple photographs of the objects, close-up construction details and X-ray photography reveal the hidden elements of the clothes, the precise number of layers and the stitches used inside.

If it’s anything like the first book, it will be of interest to those into 16th c. costume as well!

16th century, 17th century, 18th century, 19th century, books

Some Upcoming Books

Some interesting sounding books out now, or coming soon!

Russian Elegance: Country & City Fashion from the 15th to the Early 20th Century features examples of Russian dress from the State Historical Museum, from the 15th-20th centuries, looking at both Russian peasant dress and Western styles worn in cities.

Classic Beauty: The History of Makeup is written by the founder of Besame Cosmetics, so you know she knows what she’s talking about! Covers the 1920s-present, with over 430 photos, timelines, and color palettes.

Facing Beauty: Painted Women and Cosmetic Art is written by renowned costume historian Aileen Ribeiro so again, you know it’s going to be good. According to its description, it “discusses the shifting perceptions of female beauty, concentrating on the period from about 1540 to 1940″ with lots of illustrations.

Slightly further afield… ie of interest to niche markets:

Spanish Fashion in Early Modern Europe: The Prevelance and Prestige of Spanish Attire in the Courts of the 16th and 17th Centuries could be interesting to those who geek out on this era. It looks like it’s going to be more analytical than illustrative.

And in a similar vein, Politics of Fashion in Eighteenth-Century America (Gender and American Culture) “explores how and why fashion–both as a concept and as the changing style of personal adornment–linked gender relations, social order, commerce, and political authority during a time when traditional hierarchies were in flux” — again, analytical rather than illustrative.

Happy shopping!

18th century, books, exhibitions

Threads of Feeling Online Exhibition

Many of you have read about the Threads of Feeling exhibition, which is made up of 18th century textile tokens that were left with abandoned babies at the London Foundling Hospital.  The Foundling Museum has just come out with a very nice online exhibition, with beautiful high resolution images of some of the textile scraps.  Beautiful, and really heartbreaking!

You can read more about the exhibition.  There’s also an exhibit catalog, although it’s listed as out of print on Amazon, and out of stock on Amazon.co.uk.  Not sure if it came and went, or if it’s just not really available yet!