A definitive and beautifully illustrated visual history of fashion from one of America’s premiere fashion historians, Caroline Rennolds Milbank.
This unrivaled and exceptional fashion resource is an immersive 150-year visual odyssey which tracks year-by-year, decade-by-decade, the ever-changing fashion landscape from 1850 to the present. With over 1400 photographs, almost all of which are rare—either never before published or rarely seen—we see fashion transform from the crinoline-supported billowing skirts and enormous ballooning sleeves of the late 19th century to the hemlines that fell along with the crashing stock market in 1929; through the shocking pants styles of the ’30s and short A-line shifts of the ’60s; through the designer-driven styles of the ’80s, ’90s, and today. In her introduction, Milbank explains the importance of photographs in that they “show what fashion illustrations cannot; what people actually wore, what exaggeration they adopted and the actual prevalence of style.”
While the focus is not on specific designers, notable designers are included, such as Charles Frederick Worth, Chanel, Poiret, Charles James, Karl Lagerfeld, Halston, Ungaro, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Lanvin, Rudi Gernreich, Celine, Geoffrey Beene, John Galliano, Issey Miyake, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Prada, and Dior. As the decades progress, photographs of designer fashion predominate, and many notable personalities are included like Princess Pauline de Metternich, considered the chicest woman in Europe in the 1860s; members of Queen Victoria’s family, including her impeccably dressed daughter-in-law, Alexandra, Princess of Wales; opera stars renowned for their wardrobes, Christina Nillson, Adelina Patti; working women, athletes, dancers, actresses, courtesans, royal mistresses; feminists who chose to dress outside the fashion system like Civil War surgeon Dr. Mary Walker. Milbank states that “photographs show women courageous enough in their convictions to flout convention.”
As the book travels primarily through North America and Europe, presenting multiple images for each year, Milbank keenly illustrates how a certain style of dressing was ubiquitous–the same silhouette worn not only in France and the U.S. but also in India and Hungary. Along with tracking every major change in fashion, readers also see evolutions in hairstyles, jewelry, hat styles, outerwear, and footwear. The photographers range from the earliest well-known professionals like Disdéri, to charming amateur works as well as to the very beginning of street photography. Photographs of stylish women seen out and about span over 100 years, with recent examples from Mary Hilliard and Scott Schuman.
FASHION: A Timeline in Photographs will be a welcome addition to the library of any fashion or costume designer as well as students of fashion, history, art history and photography, and is sure to become an instant classic!