Sunday, January 23, 2011

A fashionable book report ...Isms: Understanding Fashion

Did you know that Princess Diana’s voluminous wedding dress was part of a mainstream cross over of “New Romanticism”, an evolution of the London Punk scene?  How about that this movement, an attempt by Punk enthusiasts to distinguish themselves from ‘posers’ adoption of their slash trash look, was inspired by revolutionism of 1789, hollywoodism of the 1930s’, and Glam of the 1970s’?  How about that the original Punk was a form of deconstructionism that draws parallels in its message to Japanese Avant-gardism of the same time period?  Do you know the requisites for a design house to truly be considered Haute Couture?  These are all very intriguing questions that one may not think to ask but may still be interested to know.

...isms: understanding fashion by Mairi Mackenzie is full of interesting fashion items of note.  Part of a series of “ism” books looking at everything from religion to architecture, this installment provides analysis of fashion trends from the 17th century to present day. The structure is standardized for each trend providing a brief synopsis with dates, influences, key characteristics, influential figures, terms, examples, comparisons, and places to view key collections.  Also included are beautiful pictures, and color-coded pages making the book as visual as it is informative and interesting. 

This analysis of fashion is presented with a global eye and while interesting enough to read from cover to cover as a chronological story could also be used as a reference guide.  It presents timelines for easy view of overlapping trends, a glossary of fashion terms, glossary of notable names, and global exhibitions.  It also acts as a starting point for resources of additional study. 

The brevity of each ism may leave something to be desired for a studied fashion student, but for the average fashionista ...ism: understanding fashion is the right dose of information to be inspiring, entertaining, and educational.

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