Monday, 1 February 2016

Vintage Fashion Complete by Nicky Albrechtsen

 The most comprehensive and ambitious guide to vintage fashion ever produced’ – Vintage Explorer Magazine

‘… opens a window on how good ideas skip the years to fertilise a future designer’s imagination’– The Guardian

Brilliant … beautiful … a real definitive guide to style throughout the 20th century and an incredible reference for anybody interested in vintage fashion and design’–

Indispensable as a reference book for the vintage fashion enthusiast, 'Vintage Fashion Complete' truly is a “Fashion Bible” ’– Inretrospect Magazine

• Explores every aspect of a woman’s vintage wardrobe in over 1,000 stand-out examples, from dresses and skirts to hats, shoes and bags, drawn from fashions from the 1920s to the 1980s.
• Not just another history of fashion, this is a survey of how fashion past continues to inspire fashion present – as seen on the street, on the catwalk, and on devotees such as Kate Moss and Sienna Miller.
• Designs by world-famous names feature alongside lesser-known brands beloved of collectors, such as Lilli Ann and Horrockses Fashions.
• Unique handmade pieces as well as icons of vintage fashion, from Marilyn Monroe’s bra to the Ossie Clark dress that famously features in David Hockney’s painting.
• Includes invaluable practical tips on how to build a collection, and how to date, clean and care for vintage clothing.

Nicky Albrechtsen is a costume designer and the proprietor of the vintage resource studio Vintage Labels, which sources inspirational clothing for fashion, textile and costume designers. She is the author of The Printed Square; Scarves (with Fola Solanke); and Fashion Spectacles, Spectacular Fashion (with Simon Murray), all published by Thames & Hudson.

Vintage Fashion Complete
Nicky Albrechtsen
ISBN 9780500517611
30.80 x 24.00 cm
Hardback without Jacket
With over 1,300 illustrations

First published 2014

Vintage Fashion Complete
Reviewed by:
Jeffrey Felner

an objective, insightful, well researched, heavily documented and illustrated book . . .”

Vintage Fashion Complete is one of those books whose title might or might not be a misnomer. The fact and reality it is that this is an epic undertaking that looks at the world of vintage clothing and accessories in the most comprehensive, authoritative, and encyclopedic way. Albrechtsen provides the reader with an all-encompassing point of view that is remarkably unbiased and factual without ever being preachy.

If you are expecting a book filled with names from the annals of fashion history, then move on as this is void of such, but if you want to know the origins, the trends, and the evolution of fashion then this is indeed should be your book of choice.

What keeps the reader so rapt is that the approach taken here is not the same path as been taken before by other titles dealing with this area of fashion. For instance, this epic volume uses a physical timeline as only one division or aspect for the book instead of basing its entire format on chronology.

Combine the timeline with trends in fabrics, silhouettes, prints, millinery, shoes, fashion jewelry, swimwear, aprons, and much much more, and it is then that you start to comprehend the full breadth of the subject matter.

Even more to her credit, Albrechtsen unearths some names and trends that have long since been forgotten and yet were major components in the history of fashion such as the brand Mister Pants and a 70s phenomenon of the beaded butterfly top. It is so easy to forget or overlook what existed, when there are marquee names that so often overshadow other brands and trends.

Another case in point is the name of Dorothee Bis which is most certainly overlooked in related titles. The book leans heavily on the Brits of fashion, but given that Albrechtsen is British, well, it is understandable. For some this might be a deficit.

As a summary of sorts, Vintage Fashion Complete serves as a history of fashion as well as a directory of vintage fashion. Albrechtsen is to be applauded for turning out an objective, insightful, well researched, heavily documented and illustrated book that is a credit to her knowledge as well as to the industry, past and present. This is a book to be used as reference, as education, and certainly for pleasure.

Jeffrey Felner is a dedicated participant and nimble historian in the businesses of fashion and style. Decades of experience allow him to pursue almost any topic relating to fashion and style with unique insight and unrivaled acumen.

No comments: