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Fashion, Italian Style Hardcover – March 11, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Steele declares the coming-out party of Italian fashion as a July 1952 show at the sparkling Palazzo Pitti in Florence, which American fashion editor Bettina Ballard's summed up thus: It was so manifestly attractive to discover fashion in a country so full of treasures to see and eat, and people who were so polite and open-armed. Italian designers have buoyantly and sumptuously dressed the world for the 50 years since then. For this exhibition catalogue, Steele, chief curator and acting director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, traces the evolution of Italy's casually elegant style from the birth of the country's fashion in the Roman Empire through the cultural dominance of Italian textiles in the 20th century. She discusses the distinctions between designers like Gianni Versace and Gianfranco Ferre, while also explaining the complex political and industrial underpinnings of the Italian fashion system. But despite some graininess and an indifferent layout, it's the 132 color and five b&w shots that really tell the story here: gorgeous fabrics, classic yet experimental lines and colors, alluring accessories. Short essays like The Rise of Milan and the ‰Italian Look' and A Fellini-like Sensuality get shown up by photos of stunning clothes that strain against their frames. The result is awkwardly instructive and straightforward, too literal to be elegant.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"[The catalogue] beautifully illustrates the hallmarks of the most exclusive Italian design. . . . Steele offers an educated overview of Italian fashion." -- Pamela Klaffke, Calgary Herald

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; First edition. edition (March 11, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300100140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300100143
  • Product Dimensions: 12.1 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,213,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As usual, Valerie Steele's prose is lucid and her text based on thorough research and considerable experience. If you are buying this book for the information in it, you're likely to be pleased with it.
If, like me, you're buying the book for photographs of garment details you can use in your own sewing, you may be as disappointed as I was. My impression was that photograph selection was turned over to a layout artist with little or no interest in the subject. Many of the garments were pointlessly shown in more than one photo, some photos were exactly duplicated on other pages, and of all the close-up shots, only one revealed details that were not perfectly obvious in the long shot. Some of the garments were nothing to look at (v-necked blackish thing on top with a black skirt-shape), a number were of extreme fashions (a skirt made of black bras), and too few showed the fascinating, intricate design that has is found many sophisticated Italian fashions. I found fewer than half a dozen women's outfits with details I wanted to remember. There were also some atmospheric shots and a few photos of tailors at work that took up space and weren't particularly interesting.
To be fair, some of book's pages given over to photos of menswear, handbags, and knit garments, which did belong there but weren't what I wanted to see. Metaphorically speaking, I felt as if I'd found a lot of air in the photo package and very little substance.
I have other books of Valerie Steele that have much better photographs--and I'm willing to absolve her of blame for this photo selection. And the scholarship and writing ARE good.
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By Natalia on January 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is written at a very elementary level, but provides good pictures and discusses many topics although very broadly
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By John Mariani on May 16, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thin in size and scope.
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