Sunday, November 14, 2010

V&A Fashion In Detail

At some point this summer, when I noticed Amazon was out of "Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Fashion in Detail", [Amazon, B&N,GoogleBooks,V&A], I hurriedly ordered "Nineteenth Century Fashion in Detail" before it also vanished, [Amazon,B&N,GoogleBooks,V&A]. At some point "Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Fashion in Detail" came back in stock and I got around to ordering it. Well, last week I ordered "Underwear: Fashion in Detail", [Amazon,B&N,GoogleBooks,V&A]. So now I have three V&A books of eye candy.

The cover photos on the books are of course ©V&A
Shop at the V&A: 17th & 18th C., 19th C., Underwear

The "Underwear: Fashion in Detail" may have somehow been both the most disappointing and the most interesting. Despite having a gorgeous corset on the cover, I think most of the book covered 20th century underwear. They had plenty of earlier pieces (chemises, shifts, drawers, stays, corsets, hoops, and bustles), but the book was organized to highlight certain things, and the 20th century had so much change in underwear, including underwear as outerwear, that there seemed to be a lot of 20th century selections. I found this is what made the book interesting; the text explained a lot of the changing fashions and how they sometimes fit within the more general social context.

In any case, some of the 20th century pieces were still stunning. One of my favorites was the stocking with the embroidered, sequined snake encircling the leg, circa 1900, Item V&A:T.53-1962. Another was one of the dresses, circa 1930s, shown on the back cover (the one on the left), Item V&A:T.308-1984.

Again, photos displayed on the front and back covers are ©V&A
I am also vaguely tempted to try and crochet a whirlpool bra. Don't know what I'd do with it if I made one, but designing and creating something like the bra on pg 150-151, Item V&A: T.196-1989, just seems kind of interesting.

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