From Publishers Weekly
Published to accompany a show of the same name at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, this handsome book explores the British fashion industry's genius for drawing upon its past to reinvent the future, often with a postmodern, nearly apocalyptic, flair. In Buruma's introductory essay-a proper academic examination that belies the playfulness of the material-he insists that in England, "dressing up has become a free-for-all ... most of the codes and trappings of class have either collapsed or become increasingly confused ... so that it is no longer subversive for a working-class boy to dress like an Edwardian fop ... or for an aristocrat to pose as a working man." This spirit is reflected in the book's lush, full-bleed photographs and reproductions, an eclectic sample of the museum's collection, which co-mingles fashion treasures from the past-not just in garments, but in canvases and tapestries-with the work of present-day designers heavily influenced by those very works. From the subtle conservatism of Saville Row to the expressionistic works of the UK's latest fashion trailblazers-including Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood-to such avant-garde pieces as Simon Costin's gorgeous "Incubus Necklace" (made with silver, copper and glass vials of human semen), this impressive show catalog hits all the highlights with grace and wit.
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About the Author
Andrew Bolton is Associate Curator of The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.