James Abbe, a 1920s fashion photographer, and Zoran, the designer whose simple, monochromatic clothes were extremely popular in the 1970s, anchor the 500 entries in this massive encyclopedia of fashion. Each designer, photographer, model, or icon gets a page with a large photo and informative but short caption. This has the wonderful effect of weighting each entry equally, thereby devoting the same amount of space to Charles Revson, creator of the Revlon cosmetics empire and relative makeup newcomer François Nars, pioneering clothing designer Mariano Fortuny and contemporary favorite Tom Ford.
Clearly, a good set of eyes edited this book. It's a tall order to choose just one image to define the many facets of a designer, model, or photographer. The choices made here are excellent and often surprising. The indomitable Coco Chanel demonstrates the ease of movement her designs afforded women by briskly swinging her arm out to one side, while Kate Moss is shown at the height of her waifdom, likely the mode in which she will best be remembered. Model Linda Evangelista is pictured with curly locks of hair. It's obvious, too, that the editors employed the haphazard juxtaposition created by the alphabetical organization. Facing entries, no matter how seemingly incongruous, are united by a visual theme, to spectacular effect. The ovals made by the either screaming or yawning mouths of Kurt Cobain and his infant daughter are mirrored in a 1937 Jean Cocteau illustration of an Elsa Schiaparelli design. A model in a 1930s outfit by John-Frederics faces a portrait of post-punk design queen Betsey Johnson, whose floral outfit echoes the flowery silhouette behind the model. A troika of Robert Lee Morris bracelets matches the arcs of a bombed-out London building in a 1941 Beaton photo of a Digby Morton design. The vibrant prints of Emilio Pucci and Lilly Pulitzer fall together naturally.
The reams of fabulous images and the inventive design alone make The Fashion Book a treat at any cost, but the low price-to-size ratio (like its cousins The Art Book and The Photography Book) makes it a real steal.
From Library Journal
This highly illustrated coffee-table book celebrates 20th-century fashion in style. It is a virtual cavalcade of the most successful names in the fashion industry and highlights a host of designers, models, illustrators, photographers, milliners, tailors, cosmetics and makeup artists, hairdressers, publishers and editors, and fashion icons, including Armani, Avedon, Cartier, Ferragamo, Gucci, Twiggy, Vreeland, and James Dean, to name a few. Alphabetical entries cite contributions to the industry. The biographical information is kept to a bare minimum, and there is no traditional subject index linking similar entries together, although this is partly accomplished by guides at the end of each entry. The book concludes with a glossary of movements, genres, and technical terms, as well as a directory of museums and galleries. This lightweight treatment is reluctantly recommended as a popular culture item.?Stephen Allan Patrick, East Tennessee State Univ. Lib., Johnson City
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.