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Dressed in Black / [Text By] Valerie Mendes ; Photography by Richard Davis

Mendes, Valerie D. Richard Davis (Photog. )

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ISBN 10: 0810966891 / ISBN 13: 9780810966895
Published by New York : Abrams. "V & A Publications In Association With Harry N. Abrams, Inc. , Publishers. ", 1999
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About this Item

An exceptional copy; fine in an equally fine dw. Particularly and surprisingly well-preserved; tight, bright, clean and especially sharp-cornered. Literally as new. ; 144 pages; Description: 144 p. : ill. (some col. ) , ports. ; 35 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 140-141) and index. Subjects: Evening gowns --History --20th century. Dresses --History --20th century. 144 pp. Bookseller Inventory # 108467

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Dressed in Black / [Text By] Valerie Mendes ...

Publisher: New York : Abrams. "V & A Publications In Association With Harry N. Abrams, Inc. , Publishers. "

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Edition: Second Edition.

About this title


Celebrating a fashion staple--the little black dress--this unique illustrated book features designs from Fortuny, Schiaparelli, Dior, Balenciaga, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, and many other fashion institutions.


Wallis Simpson, the famously well dressed Duchess of Windsor, once remarked that "when the little black dress is right, there is nothing else to wear in its place." And designer Christian Dior was so passionate about the "little black frock" that he once said he "could write a book about black." Dior did not write Dressed in Black--Valerie Mendes did--but the photos and anecdotes in the book affirm that the two renowned trendsetters were not alone in their affinity for the non-color. The core of the book comprises images and histories of 59 black dresses by various designers and one black pantsuit--designed by Vivienne Westwood--all culled from the collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Arranged chronologically, the outfits illustrate the evolution of women's fashion over the last century, from early-20th-century half-mourning dresses--black gowns with small touches of color to signify the end of a long mourning period--to mid-'90s evening gowns. Highlights include an embroidered, drop-waisted Chanel evening dress from 1922; a quilted, full-length evening gown designed by Matilda Etches in 1947 to wear to sparely heated public spaces in postwar London; and a casual cotton summer dress accented by a bright orange asymmetrical hem, created by Yohji Yamamoto in the late 1980s. Calvin Klein, Mariano Fortuny, Balenciaga, and Azzedine Alaia are among the famous and lesser-known designers whose sartorial creations are explored here. Mendes's detailed introductory essay traces the rise of black as a dominant feature in fashion, from its selection as the 15th-century duke of Burgundy's favorite clothing color to Chanel's decision to omit black entirely from its 1999 collection. Dressed in Black is a visual and factual treat for anyone interested in the history of fashion, or the simple pleasure of wearing black. --Jordana Moskowitz

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