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Lace: The Poetry of Fashion Hardcover – June 8, 1998
About the Author
Bella Veksler teaches Fashion Design and Fashion History at Drexel University and the Art Institute, both in Philadelphia. She is also Curator of the Drexel University Historical Costume Collection. She lives in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is wonderfully photographed, and has an absolutely superb array of antique and vintage garments that articulate better than words can the stunning, breathtaking, intricate inspiration of lace.
I'm not a lace expert, though I'm roughly familiar with types and terms. I was looking for a book to give me a solid foothold into the world of lace: How is each particular type made? What are the distinguising characteristics of each? How do I distinguish machine-made lace from handmade? I'm still looking for my dream book that addresses all I just mentioned, but this book is a good start.
It's a better reference book for those who have a bit more than a beginner's knowledge of lace (because of the lack of side-by-side comparisons; lack of illustrations right next to descriptions of types of lace). However, for beginners, it's still a really fantastic feast for the eyes, just the volume to get one excited about lace.
I already loved lace, but this enhance my appreciation more. Really, enough good things cannot be said about the photography. Truly excellent, with lots and lots and lots of color.
The bad stuff:
The author is in some way affiliated with the museum that supplied most of the antique and vintage garments and examples of lace (she is the curator, I believe). This was an absolute bonus to the book as there are truly some great examples of clothing shown.
However, somehow the power of the curator has swept aside the power of the editor (or publisher), and as a result this book is +filled+ with silly and absolutely non-useful photographs of the author's doll fashion handiwork (which involves, of course, lace).
By no means is this just a couple of pictures. Full color after full color, full page after full page (some even in double-page spreads) the reader is forced to endure what may not be in actuality, but what comes across a bit as the author's artistic vanity.
Small mannequins in the form of Barbie dolls litter and disrupt this book, clad in period-style apparel composed in whole or in part by vintage and modern laces. The sheers number of these doll photographs disrupt the focus of the book. They add nothing to one's knowledge of lace and add little to one's appreciation of lace (the dolls are small and are too minute to model the lace if the intent is to see the lace better by putting it on a doll). It's just a Barbie doll fashion show.
Now, there are many that might delight in this type of thing, in its own place (i.e., its own book: "Vintage Fashions as Modelled by Barbie"). I think even one or two of these photographs would not have detracted from this book. But there are +so many+ of these full-page Barbie photographs that I feel readers are cheated out of information that might have been in its place.
I didn't want this book because I had an interest in the author's doll fashion-crafting hobby, nor am I interested in her design skills as pertain to human-sized fashion (there are some of these photographs as well). This book was supposed to be about the history and pricing of lace, not some ego trip for the author. These dolls belong in another book (which probably would be a fantastic book on its own).
It's like getting squash when you ordered pasta. Some won't mind this inclusion, but a lot of folks will probably feel cheated.
Overall, I recommend this book, but every reader +deserves+ a heads up about this bizarre, misplaced doll parade.
Each chapter covers a different type of lace. From Brussels Lace to Chantilly, you will find detailed historical remarks as well as pictures of antique fashions, historical catalog pages and fashion plates.
If your recreation specialty is fashions of the 1900s to the early 1930s, you will regret not even glancing at this book. It is full of fashion ideas and ways to use modern laces to recreate historical fashions. My only regret was they put historical garments on models who obviously weren't wearing period undergarments.
This title is definitely worth the price tag and is not just another fashion coffee table book.