Tag Archives: Documenting Fashion; Dress History; Lisa Eldridge; Diana Vreeland; Karl Lagerfeld; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Taschen

Documenting Fashion: Christmas & Boxing Day Wish List

Rebecca & Lucy’s choice: Face Paint: The Story of Make Up by Lisa Eldridge, Abrams

I cannot wait to read this and it would be a perfect Christmas gift! Full of well researched imagery that shows packaging, advertising and editorial shots from the past, as well as fascinating photographs of renowned make up artist Eldridge’s work. A lovely escape into the ways make up has been deployed to create new styles and ways of presenting yourself.

– Rebecca

Not only is it a fun, broad overview of the history of makeup, and illustrated with beautiful photography, but Eldgridge also uses her industry experience to shed unique insights, such as describing historical makeup application techniques by analyzing paintings.

– Lucy

Facepaint by Lisa Eldridge
Facepaint by Lisa Eldridge


Alexis’ choice: Where’s Karl (2015) by Ajiri Aki and Stacey Caldwell with illustrations by Michelle Baron.

Why? Because we all need a little Karl to help usher in the festive season. And it is endlessly entertaining.

Cover of Where’s Karl?

Giovanna’s choice: Poiret Koda, H., Bolton, A., Troy, N. J., Davis, M. E. and N.Y. Metropolitan Museum of Art New York

The catalogue from the 2007 Metropolitan Museum of Art Paul Poiret exhibition is certainly at the top of my Christmas list this year. This huge but stunning book is so beautifully rich with detailed photography of Poriet’s richly textured designs. Many of these photographs are accompanied by contemporary art-deco style illustrations by George Barbier. And to top it all off illuminating essays by the likes of Nancy J. Troy and Caroline Evans shed illuminating insight on the work of the self-proclaimed king of fashion.



Carolina’s choice: Taschen’s All-American Ads of the 1940s (2003)

I would be thrilled if under the Christmas tree I found a copy of this book under the tree (Taschen books are so gorgeously illustrated)! I have always been fascinated by the formulation of the American Dream and propagation of “traditional” gender roles by mid to late twentieth century advertisements. As an ad for a Hoover vacuum in the book proclaims the cleaning machine was, “For the woman who is proud of her home” whilst Seagram’s whiskey was exclusively for “Men Who Plan Beyond Tomorrow”. The post-war era of consumerist America, constructed in a sense by the images in these advertisements, is one that remains fondly remembered by several generations. Indeed, its legacy continues to define contemporary discussions of American values (i.e. 2015 Primary debates) so I believe that these images would prove an interesting and enlightening study over the holiday (accompanied with mulled wine of course).


All American Ads 1940s
The book cover and advertisement for Camels cigarettes (the ones most doctors smoke!) in All American Ads 1940s

Aude’s Choice: the 8 issues of Six magazines published in the late 1980s and early 1990s by Comme des Garçons to illustrate its collections.

No text, only visual enigmas: a mix of photography, illustration and art works. The pairing of images is striking; there is something disturbingly fascinating about them.

Examples of the visual pairings (on the left) and the 8 issues of Six (on the right).
Examples of the visual pairings (on the left) and the 8 issues of Six (on the right).


Leah’s choice: La Mode Retrouvee. Les Robes Tresors de la Comtesse Greffulhe, by Olivier Saillard, Claude Arnaud, Laure Hillerin, Sylvie Lecallier and Valerie Steele (2015).

This book is the catalogue for an exhibition of the same name, currently running at the Palais Galliera in Paris (7th November 2015– 20th March 2016). Because I am not yet sure whether I am going to be able to see the show before it ends this book is on my Christmas wishlist as substitute for the real deal, which displays a selection of the clothes, but also photographs and films of the Countess Greffulhe – an influential and impressive society figure in early twentieth century Paris and Marcel Proust’s inspiration for the Duchess Guermantes in his novel In Search of Lost Time.


La Mode Retrouvee
La Mode Retrouvee

Eleanor’s choice: The Subversive Stitch, by Rozsika Parker (1984, republished 2010)

I would love to find this under the tree Christmas morning because it means someone had actually tracked it down! After scouring London’s bookstores I will have to resort to Amazon to get my hands on this classic book charting the intrinsic relationship between women and embroidery throughout history. Parker covers the journey of embroidery from the domestic to high fashion and fine art (see the work of Louise Bourgeois and Tracey Emin) and the tense relationship between women and embroidery as symbols of both traditional female roles and an outlet for creative expression.

The Subversive Stitch
The Subversive Stitch

Liz’s choice: Diana Vreeland: The Eye has to Travel (2011)

I’d love my own copy of Diana Vreeland: The Eye has to Travel (2011), which charts the legendary Vogue editor’s remarkable career in fashion and the exotic gaze she placed on different peoples and places throughout the world.

Diana Vreeland: The Eye has to travel