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books, exhibitions

Fashioning Fashion Book & Events!

This is a transcript of me, last night, when my copy of Fashioning Fashion finally arrived:



In other words, if you’re lagger-y like me, and you haven’t bought it yet, GO. BUY. IT. NOW.  And then get ready to spend some quality alone time with it.  WHOA.  *fans self*  I mean, SERIOUSLY PEOPLE.  THIS IS SOME QUALITY COSTUME PORN.

And in related news… two events of interest related to the exhibition!

On Dec. 4, the Costume Society of America’s Western Region will be having an in-depth look at the exhibition, including presentations by the curators.  Registration deadline is Nov. 24 — more info here.

On Jan. 15, LACMA is hosting a one day symposium on the exhibition.  Speakers include the curator from the Kyoto Costume Institute (Akiko Fukai) and the costume curator from the Met’s Costume Institute (Andrew Bolton), along with LACMA’s costume curator, the two collectors who built the collection, and more.  Registration is free, but you have to call to reserve a ticket.  I am seriously considering flying down to LA just for the day to attend this.  I mean, the CURATOR FROM THE KCI IS GOING TO BE THERE.  More info here.

That is all!

16th century, 17th century, 18th century, 19th century, 20th century, books, exhibitions, research

Books to Pre-Order (Woot!)

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!

19th century, 20th century, books, exhibitions

Get Yourself to New York ASAP!

The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Brooklyn Museum are both holding fashion exhibitions this summer to showcase the Brooklyn Museum costume collection.  May 5-Aug. 15, the Met has American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity, while from May 7-Aug. 1, the Brooklyn Museum has American High Style: Fashioning a National Collection.  You can see images of all the exhibited garments online:  here’s what will be at the Met, and here’s what will be at the Brooklyn Museum.

Some standouts to me:

You can preorder the catalog from Amazon — it comes out June 15, 2010.

18th century, books, underpinnings, workshops

New Book & Workshops

(Credit to Katherine/Koshka-the-Cat, who heard it from Sewaddicted on LJ) The V&A is coming out with a new book in their “Fashion in Detail” series — this one is focusing on underwear:  Underwear: Fashion in Detail!  According to the book description, it will include examples from the 16th century to the present.  This is SUPER exciting, as the previous books (Historical Fashion in Detail, and Nineteenth-Century Fashion in Detail) are amazing resources for seeing really close up details on fabrics, stitches, embroidery, trims, and more.  They’re porn!  It won’t be released until Oct. 1, 2010, but it gives us something to live for.

If you’d like to support this site AND buy it from Amazon, you can click on the link below and then add it to your wishlist and/or preorder it.

Also, Burnley & Trowbridge (the fabulous VA store that caters to 18th century costumers) is offering two workshops in Northern California!  One will be on quarterback gowns (robes a l’anglaise), the other on the Brunswick.  Both will be taught by Janea Whitacre, the mantua-maker from Colonial Williamsburg; I took her saque workshop and it was amazing how much she knew and how much I learned.  I’ve signed up for the Brunswick workshop — sadly (okay, not TOO sadly) I’ll be in England for the first weekend!

18th century, 18th century court dress, books, court dress, exhibitions

18th c. Court Costume Book Now Available

If you’re interested in buying the catalog for the 18th century court costume exhibit discussed below (Fastes de Cour), it’s now available at the cheapest price here from Yes, the interface is all in French, but the layout/buttons are exactly the same as the English language version, so it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out — and you can sign in to your account and it will pull up all your info. (Random site note: adding tags to this post to see if those are useful; if so, I’ll eventually go back and tag older entries too.)

18th century, books

Book Review: Chintz: Indian Textiles for the West

I’ve realized that something I never do around here is book reviews, which is weird because I’m a total costume book collector. My costumer’s bookshelf page is waaay out of date and needs total revamping. But in the meantime, I’m going to try to start posting book reviews here.

Chintz: Indian Textiles for the West by Rosemary Crill is based on the collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum. I admit that I usually find textiles-specific research boring, as I’m more interested in textiles being applied into clothing. But the one main exception to this is chintz (also called toile/indienne). This is one of the best books I’ve read, with a succinct explanation of the chintz making process and how that changed over time, as well as a history of the production and introduction of chintz fabrics in Europe. The only limitations I found was that it didn’t get into the production of toile and the differences between fabrics for clothing versus furniture, and it cuts off at the end of the 18th century (simply saying that chintz fabrics went out of style, which is an oversimplification — it’s just that European made fabrics took off, but they became the hugely popular cotton prints we associate with the 19th century). The bulk of the book are gorgeous, huge, color images of chintz fabrics — most are flat textiles, but there are some garments included. All in all, a definite must-buy for anyone interested in 18th century printed cottons, and also recommended for 18th century costumers in general.