Everything about the cover of this book is misleading, and unfortunately you will find it in bookshops with a cellophane wrapper so you may not be able to look inside. With only the word ‘Fashion’ in bold pink letters on the spine, and a modern slim-fitting dress flocked on the front, you would be forgiven for thinking this is a book about modern fashion. You’d be wrong…
There really needs to be the words ‘through history’ added to the title. This great door-stop of a book is a comprehensive look at fashions through the ages, beginning with the ancient worlds of pre-history – Egypt, Greece, Rome are obvious starting points, but also including Etruscans, Byzantine style and others – right up to 2012. There is plenty of modern fashion too, so if that’s where your interest lies, then this book will be great, but there is a quantity of information covering fashion throughout history as well. This has to be my favourite non-fiction book ever!
In typical DK style, the book is packed full of pictures. Every change in style through the ages is backed up with evidence – either photos of ancient sculptures; medieval paintings; Georgian fashion plates or Edwardian black and white photos. There are pictures of clothing preserved in museums and close-ups of the details. Amongst the chronological order of the book there are sections about relevant themes, such as Medieval social statements; custom-made armour; Georgian fancy dress costumes; wartime women and the 1980’s power suit. From the last and current century, there are also several profiles of important fashion designers and pictures of what they are best known for.
The reference section at the back is worth its weight in gold and explains fabric, pattern, style and finish; along with several more drawings and photos and a quick overview of men and women’s fashions; hats, shoes and corsets through the years.
The book itself is A4 in size and has 480 pages. It took me a week of evenings just to flick through and I’m still yet to read it in depth. However, it is one you can dip in and out of when you feel like it. If you’re a fashion student then this is a Must-have. If you are at all interested in the history of clothing then you really should buy this book! I absolutely love it.
I hope this book review has been helpful if you’re interested in fashion history. I love books like this, so if you have any other recommendations, please let me know in the comments. Thank you!