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HAUTE COUTURE: Fashion in Detail

Book number: 93323 Product format: Hardback Author: EDITED BY CLARE WILCOX

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Bibliophile price £26.00


Among the many beautiful books that have landed on Bibliophile's shelves, none can have been more gorgeous than this big volume from the Victoria and Albert Museum's costume collection. With a close-up colour photo on each double spread, and meticulously detailed sketches showing the garment's construction on the page opposite, this is a sumptuous pictorial history of costume from the 17th century to the end of the 20th. Each century has a slightly different theme. In the 17th and 18th centuries the focus was on quilting, pleats, looped drapery, collars, cuffs and applied decoration. The stomacher was the panel down the front of a bodice that allowed the bodice itself to be laced to fit a woman's figure. Chronological examples here are mostly English and are lavishly embroidered, with a particularly beautiful pale turquoise stomacher donated to the collection by Harrods. The shoe section shows that pointed toes and kitten heels were the rage in the 17th century. The 19th century transformed a woman's silhouette with whalebone corsets, cage crinolines and bustles, while artificial dyes started to take over from embroidery as a source of colour. This section opens with men's tailoring, showing a preponderance of stand-up collars and frogging. A cycling suit of the late century is made with machine-knitted green jersey and trimmed with mohair braid. A woman's riding jacket is also frogged but fastened with practical hooks and eyes beneath the buttons. A cream pelisse of Jane Austen's era has an empire line and stunning sleeve panels of pleated silk, while mid-19th century day dresses have huge skirts, often using roller-printed wool and decorated with a peplum or large bow. A Liberty's frock from the 1890s has a looser fit, smocked at the waist, and trimmed with machine lace. The 20th century covers both mass-produced clothes and also high end couture. The section opens with the wedding dress worn by Miss "Baba" Beaton in 1934, its stunning simplicity the result of clever seaming, while a Galliano wedding dress of 1987 is a riot of silk and organza sculpted flowers. A Chanel suit of red wool from 1960 is plain and elegant, catering to the working woman, and a tweedy wartime suit from Digby Morton reflects the same practical trend. Underwear ranges from mass-produced polyester to boned and embroidered corsets by Dior. 598pp, high-quality close up colour photos hundreds of drawings, text and glossary in eight languages. New full price V&A publication nearly 12" square, heavyweight and a stunning coffee table book.
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Additional product information

ISBN 9782809908800

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