|20th Century Fashion, by John Peacock. Preface by Christian Lacroix.|
This book was a total charm to read, so much so that I couldn't resist buying my own used copy (rather inexpensive as the book was published in the 1990s). Regardless of how fanciful some of the illustrations are, they really are representative of the styles, colors, and silhouettes of 20th century fashion. In fact, I wish there were companion books: 19th century fashion, 18th, 17th, 16th......
The illustrations are not only plentiful but beautiful, and impossibly detailed. Smocking was clear, patterned fabrics didn't look like stained blobs, and seamlines were all emphasized, including darts. Most, if not all, illustrations seem to be taken from period sources, such as fashion plates or actual garments. The illustrations appear to be plausible representations of the height of fashion; not really much dramatic exaggeration here.
The book is very well organized. After a few pages of illustrations, there are descriptions for every single item in every illustration--down to the gloves and shoes. I couldn't put it in better words, so here is the description of the book from the author:
"This collection is divided into nine parts, each representing a decade. Each part begins with the work of leading couturiers (though since the 1960s it would perhaps be more accurate to describe these as 'designers') and continues with the sections on Underwear, Leisure Wear, Day Wear, Evening Wear, Bridal Wear and Accessories. . . An annotated chart at the end of the book depicts the fashionable outline in silhouette, and notes the principal changes in shape, length, color, fabric, accessories, etc., for each five-year period. There is also a brief account of the working lives of those couturiers whose garments I have illustrated as well as a select bibliography."
|Couture Wear 1900-1903|
2. Maison Rouff 1901. Pale green silk-velvet afternoon dress, fitted bodice with deep waistband, three-quarter-length sleeves gathered into narrow fur cuffs matching the asymmetric trimming on bodice and flared skirt. Mock blouse of striped silk with high stand collar. Heavy boldly patterned lace covering one shoulder, forming fitted under-sleeves and trimming the skirt. Straw hat with brim turned up at each side, decorated with large green silk-taffeta bow and green curled ostrich feathers.
Wow, look at those magenta silk stockings! And all the corsets and brassieres....
|Leisure Wear 1900-1904|
|1904. Heavy-rib cotton corset, heavily boned, whalebone front busk, back lacing and front fastening, suspenders covered with ruched ribbon. Waist-length nainsook camisole trimmed with broderie anglaise and threaded ribbon.|
|Evening Wear 1905-1909|
|Evening Wear 1910-1914|
|Chanel 1920, Worth 1923|
|Evening Wear 1920-1924|
|Bridal Wear 1920-1924|
|Leisure Wear 1925-1929|
|Couture Wear 1930-1934|
I'm so pleased that they included all of the different and unique styles of the backs of dresses in the 1930s!
|Evening Wear 1930-1934|
|Day Wear 1937-1939|
|Leisure Wear 1940-1944|
|Couture Wear 1945-1949|
|1953. Collarless white cotton tennis top, asymmetric buttoned opening, wide cap sleeves split on edge of shoulder seam, short pleated skirt in matching fabric.|
|Bridal Wear 1980-1984...Princess Diana's Famous Dress|