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20th-Century Fashion in Detail by Claire Wilcox and Valerie D. Mendes

20th Century Fashion book review on Baudekin Studio

This book is an amazing piece of cultural history of fashion in the 20th century. It shows various construction details of the garments displayed in the Victoria & Albert Museum.  Each detail has a beautiful closeup photo along with a description. The photography is stunning and the designers picked are Chanel, Dior, Sybil Connolly, John Cavanagh, Andre Courreges, John Kloss, Mariano Fortuny, Madame Gres, Lanvin, Molyneux, Paul Poiret, Elsa Schiaparelli and many many others.

The book is divided into seven chapters, each dedicated to a particular technique: seams, gathers, tucks, pleats, collars, cuffs, pockets, buttons and frogs, beading and appliques.

 20th Century Fashion book table of contents

The book doesn't give sewing instructions but guides you through time to show how the tastes changed over the fashion history. I love to see the skill of the seamstresses and artisans contributing to the beautiful pieces displayed.

My favourite part of the book is the clothing by Mariano Fortuny who specialized in pleated silk.  His gorgeous gowns had very simple construction focusing on the curves of the body as the fabric followed the natural contours. This statuesque feminine effect was stunning.