\The vagaries of fashion throughout the ages are a source of endless interest, not only as indication of our infinite capacity for invention, but also because of the relationship of costume to shifting cultural patterns. Laver presents in this classic study the underlying motives of fashion as well as a survey of the history of costume. He describes the means which have been adopted to satisfy the three functions of clothes: protection, expression of the personality by sartorial display, and attractiveness to others. The momentous invention of the needle (some 40,000 years ago), making possible the sewing together of pelts, and the subsequent introduction of weaving, launched the development of costume as we know it. All the major historical landmarks -- the Renaissance, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the emancipation of women, the two world wars -- wrought profound changes in attitudes to dress: with matchless skill and panache Laver related the development of costume and fashion to these social changes. A new final chapter by Christina Probert brings the history up to the present day [sic] with a detailed discussion of the enormous variety of postwar styles, including the New Look, the mini, and punk-influenced clothes. James Laver (1899-1975) was keeper of the Departments of Prints and Drawings and of Paintings at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, from 1938 until 1959. He was also an important and pioneering fashion historian described as “the man in England who made the study of costume respectable”. Laver is perhaps best remembered for his contributions to the field of fashion history, an interest in which emerged through a desire to date images accurately through the clothing depicted within. Laver defined the relationships between dress design and other applied arts, and discussed the influence of economic and social factors upon the development of fashionable taste.
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"They don't make paperbacks more attractive and more colorful than this one."—Philadelphia InquirerFrom 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 protect, to express identity, and to attract or to influence others. The concluding chapter by Amy de la Haye, covering the second half of the twentieth century, has now been updated by Andrew Tucker. He discusses the reinvention in the 1990s of the luxury label Gucci, the rise of houses such as Prada and Tommy Hilfiger, and the appointments of relatively avant-garde British, American, and European designers to head classic French houses. All the late-twentieth-century and turn-of-the-century style innovations are included, such as the appropriation of utility clothing by designers like Helmut Lang—who spearheaded the predominantly unisex urban sportswear look—and the impact of workplace dressing down on masculine fashion. The phenomenon of the must-have accessory—the pashmina shawl and the Fendi baguette, for example—is also considered. 345 illustrations, 80 in color About the Author:
The late James Laver was Keeper of the Departments of Prints and Drawings and of Paintings at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 1938 until 1959.
Amy de la Haye is Senior Research Fellow at the London College of Fashion.
Andrew Tucker is a fashion writer, author of The London Fashion Book and co-author of Costume and Fashion.
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