Book Reviews Category Archives

Guest Post – Researching & Writing ‘Making Edwardian Costumes for Women’

Guest contributor Suzanne Rowland has a background as a theatrical costume maker. She is a lecturer at the University of Brighton where she is about to start a PhD looking at the development of the ready-to-wear fashion industry in the 1910s using the blouse as a case study. She is sharing her experience researching and writing her book Making Edwardian Costumes for Women available from Crowood Press. This was my first …

Book Review: Costume: Performing Identities Through Dress

When I was a teenager, I loved to try on new personas with clothes, makeup, and hair, imagining myself to be more glamorous and cool than I really was. During a particular period I was enamored with 1960s London and the stylized mod and futuristic looks that prevailed in the fashion magazines, films, and shop windows of the time. As I emerged from my room …

Book Reviews preview: Transformations

Between personal matters and a looming deadline, Book Reviews is on hiatus this month. Coming next month will be a review of a study that is revealing itself as an engaging and in-depth look at the power of clothing to transform the wearer.  While this may not seem like a new, revelatory statement, Pravina Shukla’s book Costume: Performing Identities Through Dress argues forth the thesis …

Book Review: Young Originals

It’s been several generations since the fashionable ideal was a woman in her 30s or 40s (the ubiquity of model Lisa Fonssagrives Penn in the pages of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in the 1950s, for example), so it may be slightly difficult for many readers to imagine or recall a time when young adults in their teenage years were awkward outliers of the fashion world. …

Kōrero Kākahu: At the Beach

It is the reality of living anywhere that you cannot make it to every exhibition that you want to see. Such was the case with the most recent exhibition by the New Zealand Fashion Museum (whom I have mentioned before), At the Beach: 100 years of summer fashion in New Zealand. I did actually happen to be in Auckland while this was showing but for the reason of holidaying …

Monica Punk Style Talk in Chicago

          FYI Chicago I’ll be doing a talk/discussion about Punk Style at the Chicago History Museum February 9 in the evening. It’s part of their book club where they’re reading Joe Meno‘s (Punk Planet) Hairstyles of the Damned. Drop me a line if you can come out. More details to come. See the link and go to events and scroll down.

Book Reviews: Art + Fashion

This is the time of year that we turn our attentions towards beautifully packaged surprises and time with family and friends.  The generous size, plethora of lush color photographs, and lively, eye-catching graphic design of E.P. Cutler’s and Julien Tomasello’s Art + Fashion: Collaborations and Connections Between Icons are tailor-made for holiday excess and communal viewing.  The overall tone is exuberant and infectious, and feels like …

Kōrero Kākahu: A Real feast for these Modern Eyes

On one of my many visits to my Nan, who was born in 1933, we began talking about her youth. In recounting earlier years of her life she remarked about how much pressure there was to always look perfect. She said this while eyeballing the messy bun atop my head (which was on-trend thank you Nan). I have always found this aspect of life in the …

Book Reviews: Forbidden Fashion

Around 1564 there were in Venice over 30 convents and monasteries, inhabited by 2,107 nuns. Isabella Campagnol begins her absorbing study, Forbidden Fashion: Invisible Luxuries in Early Venetian Convents, with a startling statistic. These numbers, coupled with firsthand accounts of the convent population, throw into stark relief the reason for her emphasis on fashionable clothing and accessories in Venetian convents from the 16th through 18th …

Book Reviews: Sustainable Fashion

“Once a revered commodity, fashion is now all too often considered disposable.” (p. xvi) Jennifer Farley Gordon and Colleen Hill’s Sustainable Fashion: Past, Present and Future is a book that delivers to fashion-loving consumers everywhere a clearly written, concise, and well-researched reminder that our current system of clothing production and consumption is dangerously broken.  Sustainable Fashion makes abundantly clear, chapter after chapter, that there are no …

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Available now: Punk Style by Worn Through founder, Monica Sklar, PhD. Find it at : Amazon.com, Powell's Books, or a bookseller near you.