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Fifty Years of Fashion: New Look to Now Paperback – August 11, 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This exhibition catalog accompanies respected cultural historian Steele's debut exhibit as chief curator of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). Steele (e.g., Women of Fashion, LJ 10/1/95) offers acute observations about the historic and cultural contexts of fashion trends and fads from 1947 to the present. Interwoven into the superbly written text is a valuable literature study on the subject. Chapters are aptly labeled: "Fashion After the War," "Couture and Conformity: The 1950s," "Youthquake," "Excess" (referring to the 1980s), and "Fin de Siecle" (about the accelerated 1990s). Best of all, readers are treated to over 65 photographs of some of the garments in the museum at FIT. This book should be required reading for students of 20th-century fashion, but it is so well written that lay readers will enjoy it too. Highly recommended.?Therese Duzinkiewicz Baker, Western Kentucky Univ. Lib., Bowling Green
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

From haute couture to hot pants, from glamour to grunge, the past fifty years have witnessed some startling revolutions in fashion. This lively survey of postwar fashion not only describes the great designers and their creations but also places trends in clothing within their social and cultural contexts.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (August 11, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300087381
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300087383
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 9.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #986,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This book has both beautiful photographs and informative text. The only reason I took off one star is that I think more photographs from each designer should have been included. I especially would have liked to have seen a few more photos of clothes from American designers from the 1990s. Throughout the book, the author mostly displays clothes made by European designers. I would not have expected much attention to be focused upon American designers before 1980s or 1990s. Arguably, it was not until the 1990s that American fashion really started to influence Europe, instead of the other way around. Because this reversal of influence was such a change, I would have expected more attention to be paid to it visually. Therefore, the lack of representation in this era makes me think that American designers were somewhat shortchanged in this book. However, I agree that all the designers selected, both European and American, did heavily influence their own time periods.
This book covers Post War 1940s through 1990s. In each era the author focused on a few key designers. The author chose Balenciaga, Balmain, and Dior to represent the 1940s and 1950s. The author primarily showcased Correges, Yves Saint Laurent, and Quant to represent the 1960s. Halston and Yves Saint Laurent were the focus of the 1970s era. More designers are represented in the 1980s. The book has one or two photos from Chanel, Lacroix, Blass, Herrera, Azzedine Alaia, Armani, Gaultier, Comme des Garcon, and Issey Miyake, among a few others. The 1990s are represented by a photo or two of designs from Versace, Anna Sui, Chanel, Tom Ford for Gucci, Galliano, Donna Karen, Westwood, Calvin Klein, and Prada.
Just as it is the maxim for fashion in general, so is it for this book in particular...less is more.
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Format: Paperback
This book takes us from decade to decade from the 50's to now with an examination of social, cultural, economic, and historical factors both setting the backdrop to and influencing changing fashions. This is an intermediate book in fashion, if you compare it to picture-only books to the other end of the spectrum where text dominates (often no pictures), and we see a treatise on aesthetic theory, anthropological roots, feminist writings, and studies on human sexuality and psychology.

This book is a very light introduction to the type of questions you see in more advanced texts, but will not alienate the dilettante fashionista or costumer. The pictures provide exemplary examples of the styles discussed, and the chapters summarize everything quickly enough to have a solid overview of our recent fashion history. Again, I am sure this book will gain lots of interest, whether for browsing or seriously perusing an interest in a compelling aspect of human history and society. Check Steele's other books as well--she writes with insight, but doesn't overdo it with the dry academic stuff; she also has excellent taste with her picture selection.
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By J. Gill on January 10, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book, esp. the photos! FIT is such a great storehouse of fashion history and this books shows some of that off. If you are in NYC and have the chance, look up what their museum is exhibiting (upstairs and downstairs). It's worth it to go see. Also some great restaurants right around there, naturally.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I buy my fashion books for the photographs and then the written materials. Excellent choices of photos in this book. This one has good information for the last 50 years in fashion and is a good addition to my collection of books by Valerie Steele.
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