Saturday, August 23, 2008

These are the books on fashion (or related to the subject) that I own:

The Art of Lee Miller by Mark Haworth-Booth. This is a very informative coffee table book with 5 colour plates and 175 duotone illustrations.

Big Book of Fashion Illustration by Martin Dawber. You can take a look at some of the pages inside this book on Amazon. It is very comprehensive and was a present. I wanted to grasp more about external parts of the industry and one of the ways of doing this is checking out the different types of illustration available.

Nineteenth Century Fashion in Detail by Lucy Johnston. Reading this and examining the pictures was a good way of grasping how clothes were made pre-industrialisation. It's also a good book for nineteenth century trends.

Historic Costuming by Nevil Truman has description of dress through different historical periods including the Romans (509BC to 324 AD) and George II (1727-60). If I have a sudden urge to understand Tudor daywear in court I look it up here.

Couture Culture by Nancy Troy.
This book is basically about modernity and the beginning of the commodity culture. It's very interesting and begins with a section on Poiret who is a designer that everyone has an extreme stance on.

Adorned in Dreams by Elizabeth Wilson is probably the staple. If you're interested in fashion history and theory and haven't read it then you probably need to go and get hold of a copy.

The Empire of Fashion by Gilles Lipovetsky. A book about the industry and culture rather than clothes. Ready to Wear as democratic revolution, advertising on the offensive, this book is about clothing as a cultural weapon and it gave me a good understanding of the complications of clothes.

London - after a fashion by Alistair O'Neill. This book examines the relationship between nineteenth and twentieth century London and fashion. It's incredible for fine detail, full of surprising little facts.

Fashion Dictionary by Guido Vergani. This literally is a current fashion dictionary.

The Fashioned Body by Joanna Entwistle. This is a lovely book that was incredibly helpful to me when I first started reading about this subject and it's summed up very well in the first chapter, the social world is a world of dressed bodies.

The History of Underclothes by C. Willet and Phillis Cunnington is a good education if you're interested in everything that people wear.

The Fashion Book. I forgot that I even had this but it sits alongside the Fashion Dictionary very well as a reference guide.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

KM Stitchery is based in Brooklyn and she hand cuts stencils of feminists that are then printed onto recycled clothing.

The image above comes from KM Stitchery's blog and the clothes can be ordered from her etsy store. This strikes me as a good way to sport idealism and cottage industry craft simultaneously.

If you like a smattering of '50s style and prefer to buy organic clothes then Small Axe Clothing has been touted on Tree Hugger recently. There first fashion show is on their site but they're American so not exactly carbon friendly for the UK consumer.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Skin and Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture

Todd Eberle's photographs of the Prada Aoyama Epicentre should have been the first images I saw as I entered the Skin and Bones exhibition at Somerset House. A marriage of architecture and fashion is immediately clear in the two images of the building, demonstrating that two parallel practices can be attuned to the extent that they perfectly compliment each other. Instead chronology was given precedence and the exhibition was introduced by 1980's media images. Consequently I wandered through the ground floor in some confusion, the description of the symbiotic relationship between these two forms of design did not seem to express the same sentiment of creative practice as the initial images. The media is ever changing, 20 years has produced a startling visual difference in magazine photography and the work in the exhibition seemed to be at odds with this. Only when I climbed the stairs and discovered Yeohlee Teng's 1982 'Cape' was I parted from this vague feeling of unease. The black hooded bowing garment brought me back to the aesthetic delights that characterised this show. My particular favourites were Teng's Infanta Two-Circle Dress, Junya Watanabe's garments made of cotton and metal wire from Autumn/Winter 1998-99 and a number of pieces from Maison Martin Margiela. Split into 17 sections with titles like geometry, weaving and suspension the exhibition gained clarity through the main body of design presented and ultimately achieved its original purpose to examine parallel practices in fashion and architecture.
I love American Apparel, although I wouldn't buy a lot of the clothes they sell I have two Cotton Spandex Jersey Bandeau dresses that see me through the seven days of English summer that our climate achieves each year. I am not sure that we can forgive them for this, oh sure they may call it the Unisex Thermochromatic Sheer Jersey T-Shirt on the website but I remember when Marks and Spencer sold hypercolour T-Shirts in my youth. Even in Junior school I thought they were fashion crimes and even if you think a good half of American Apparel's stock is weird, they don't generally reach the hyper-horrifying heights of hypercolour. It's unsexy.

In other painful news the smock top still hasn't died out. It's a trend that keeps going leaving us with a reduced ability to shop. My nightmare catwalk vision is probably a hypercolour smock top worn with six inch heels and three quarter length leggings. I thought fashion was meant to change with the seasons but apparently that notion is beyond the High Street's buyers?