Wednesday, December 12, 2012
1930s Fashion: The Definitive Sourcebook
To call a book the "definitive" anything is a pretty bold statement, and my expectations were high. But oh boy does this book deliver. We're talking about over 550 pages of fashion illustrations and period photographs from one of the most glamorous and sartorially sophisticated decades of the 20th century.
What always strikes me about 1930s fashion is the incredible innovative detailing - unusual seaming, wild sleeve shapes and almost limitless variation in collar styles - and the illustrations in this book provide a fantastical array of intriguing details.
The detailed introduction covers 30 pages alone, and gives an excellent overview of the principal fashion influences, in the historical context of the era. The rest of the book is divided into chapters for Daywear, Outerwear, Eveningwear, Accessories, and "Other", with a section for Selected Biographies (brief bios of significant characters on the 1930s fashion scene) at the back.
I thought it was slightly odd that the fashions aren't presented chronologically within the sections, as a logical progression would better illustrate the evolving fashion as the world moved steadily from the Wall Street Crash to World War II. But that said, it actually makes the book more fun to flick through in some ways, because it offers more variety with each page turn - this is more a book for browsing than reading from cover to cover, and I rather enjoy the random order.
The price tag of £30 might initially seem hefty, but when you consider the wealth of over 600 original images it really is a snip. I cannot emphasise enough the pure eye candy of this book. Definitely a must for anyone interested in 1930s fashion.
1930s Fashion: The Definitive Sourcebook is published by Goodman Fiell, RRP £30, out now.