Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Amber Butchart's Fashion Miscellany - a review (I know, two in a row)

In advance of interviewing Amber Butchart later this week (more of that below), I was lucky enough to be sent her new book, Fashion Miscellany.  Before even opening Fashion Miscellany, you are struck by how beautifully it is presented, with a gorgeous hardback cover (in dare I say it, cerulean) and traditional gold lettering.  The book is organised much like a glossary and as such is easy to dip in and out of.  It is full of so much interesting information and covers all areas of fashion, from youth subcultures to tailoring terms, and fashion documentaries to Karl Lagerfeld's cat!  The tone of the book is very conversational, like a friend imparting a fact they've just learnt over tea and cake.

The book is also dotted with quotes regarding fashion and style from luminaries such as the ever quotable Coco Chanel and Oscar Wilde.  One of my favourites is "Style is the simple way of saying complicated things", said by Jean Cocteau (I also love Sophia Loren's "A woman's dress should be like a barbed wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view"). 

So if you are interested in fashion history, learning more about the terms used or want a comprehensive index of the most influential fashion photographers throughout the past century, then this really is the book for you.  It was a joy to read Fashion Miscellany, and I'm sure I'll be looking up some of the facts now and again.  Congratulations to Amber as I hear Fashion Miscellany has almost sold out and is going into reprint and after having read it, I'm not surprised! 


I'll be interviewing Amber this Friday at Puttin' on the Glitz at the British Library for The Vintage News, at a talk she is giving (along with Christopher Laverty of the Clothes on Film blog) on fashion in the 1920s and '30s.  There is also a cocktail party afterwards, hosted by our good friends The Vintage Mafia with entertainment from The AlexMendham Orchestra and hair and makeup from Pretty Me Vintage.

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