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Costume and Fashion: A Concise History
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Costume and Fashion: A Concise History

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  342 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
From the momentous invention of the needle some 40,000 years ago to the development of blue denim; from Neolithic weavers to the biggest names in the fashion industry today—this classic guide covers the landmarks of costume history, the forms and materials used through the ages, as well as the underlying motives of fashion and the ways in which clothes have been used to pr ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 29th 2002 by Thames Hudson (first published January 1st 1969)
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May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chapter one:says, " how it all began." It's mostly by draping something over your naked body. Whether it be an animal skin or a woven grouping of leaves, that's how it all started. Men and women kept warm and or modestly covered in basic ways.
When the threads were woven into cloth, the Greeks and Romans draped cloth, then the needle was invented and seams were the way to go. Belts became the rage, and fashion exploded from that point on.
One can only wonder at the invention of pants, plantations
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, fashion
I've definitely read this book in a previous edition, many years ago. My Mum must have had a copy. This later edition was a present from a friend and proved a lovely reminder of Western European fashion history, a subject I find fascinating. There were some great tidbits that I’d forgotten, for example the original rise of handbags when women’s dresses briefly became so flimsy in the first decade of the 19th century that they could no longer support pockets. The illustrations are excellent - I r ...more
Oct 09, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Carmen Ortiz
Shelves: own, art

This is perfectly fine as far as it goes - you can't cover the history of fashion in great depth in under 300 pages. This edition ends with the early 1980s, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. The ancient world is briefly covered, and then France and Britain get the bulk of attention from the medieval era to the mid-20th century, when finally American fashion makes an appearance as European haute couture begins to die out, and wartime restrictions in Europe allow American manufacturing and design to
Sep 22, 2009 rated it liked it
"Concise" is fucking right.
Jul 10, 2017 rated it liked it
While the title claims this book to be “a concise history” I can’t help but disagree. The majority of its context completely ignores Asia, Africa and the Americas prior to being colonized. This book is more of a concise history of fashion according to England (which is mentioned the most), with a nod to French and Italian costumes when they were viewed as mode. Not until the 20th century does this book acknowledge the influences other culture’s fashions started to have on, well, England. There i ...more
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Un buen punto de partida: recuento histórico que hace descripción de los estilos de la época, apuntando los factores sociales y culturales que influyeron en ellos. Interesante en la medida que permite sacar otras conclusiones que el autor explora en otras obras sobre el ciclo de la moda y la cambiante zona erógena.
Mar 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, fashion
This book ended up being one of my primary resources for a research paper I wrote for school, about fashion and the French Revolution. It perfectly describes many aspects of fashion, and additionally the social causes for the changes that occur, which was the primary emphasis of my paper. Though it is, as the title suggests, a concise history, it goes into just enough detail about each fashion era that it never feels incomplete. There is no in-depth discussion about the influence of Marie Antoin ...more
Apr 24, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
Any book that spans large periods of history over just a few hundred pages can't promise detail. However, it can promise to provide good overview which this books does to a certain extent. However, I had the distinct impression that the author liked certain fashion periods more than others (and so spent more time on them). I found it amusing but irritating when he interjected his opinions on the attractiveness of various styles, good or bad. I wasn't looking for his opinion but a history. He als ...more
I liked this book a lot, its a great intro to the subject, a short read with lots of reference pics (which are always needed with something like fashion). I enjoyed it so much i ordered the new edition which just came out June 2012. Should have great new info since 10 years have passed. Recommend for anyone interested in fashion on trends in general and how they are connected to large historical events and movements.
Jul 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
This isn't something that I would typically pick up but after looking at the first chapter I was hooked. This is a very concise description of fashion throughout all of history. I found myself thinking about how the dress of the different eras spoke to the roles of men and women for the time periods. Sometimes the costuming changed the social roles. I read the 2012 version which included the wedding gown of Kate Middleton. (I found myself thinking what that gown said of our culture now!)
Leonard Houx
Nov 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
The writing could get affected. And there could have been more pictures. And the few pictures could have had better explanations. But, overall, an fascinating, detailed tour which picked up tempo from chapter to chapter.
The book was detailed enough for what it did cover, though it was extremely centered on the Western world and the author inserts his own opinion too often for the account to be considered historically perfect.
Brief overview from ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia to the 1960s. Illustrated with black & white and a few color period illustrations and photos. Includes coverage of male dress as well as sport. One page bibliog, brief index.
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for:
What a way to read history! Excellent study of history/clothing/textiles/gender. Chock full of illustrations--I only wish there had been more!
Jasmine Zhang
Apr 18, 2009 added it
Mariana Brito
Aug 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Completo e didático. Uma verdadeira aula de história da moda.
Feb 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
As a history nerd, I really enjoyed learned about all the strange ways fashions developed and why... stair banisters have a balloon shape? It's to accommodate giant hoop skirts!
Dec 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Väldigt lättläst och informativ samt har bra bilder vilket enligt mig är essentiellt när det kommer till böcker om dräkter och mode. Detta är min go-to bok för dräkthistoria.
Sebastian Stevenson
Jun 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
Concise is right. Some good info, sorta limited in scope overall. Useful to help stick dates with costume trends in historical times. The author has some tude, it's a little irritating in spots.
Jan 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference
A fun book to look at with lots of pictures and short bios/descriptions.
Mehak Kalra
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Jan 20, 2014
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Wednesday Mourning
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Jan 07, 2015
Victoria Moore
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Jul 15, 2014
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Feb 08, 2012
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Dec 26, 2013
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