Catching up: Fashion books you should know about

I can’t always review the books that publishers are kind enough to send, but I did want to at least share with you some of the new books that have come out, in case they help with something you’re researching:

Fetish Style by Frenchy Lunning Bloomsbury Academic (April 11, 2013)

Fetish Style traces the history, forms and tendencies of sub-cultural fashions that are popular in both mainstream and alternative fashion cultures. Presenting the world of subcultural fetish clothing design in all of its richness and beauty, this book explores the idea of fetish as subversive and repressive as reflected in clothing choices in people of all ages and cultures. Linking the fetishistic aspects of contemporary culture with everyday clothing as dictated by fashion and merchandizing, Fetish Style presents a fascinating study of historical as well as 21st century subcultures. Case studies include the Japanese-influenced ‘tribes’ of the various Lolita formations, the Shotaru (male Lolita), the club scene, the Goths, the hip-hop fashions and other locally-formed fetishized practices.

Fashion Designers Resource Book by Samata Angel, A&C Black (April 25, 2013)

A one-stop resource packed full of advice and guidance that will help you to succeed in the fashion world, this book provides a detailed overview of the fashion industry as a business, combined with an insider’s understanding of the creative process and the lifestyle of a fashion entrepreneur.

The Story of Colour in Textiles by Susan Kay-Williams, A&C Black (May 15, 2013)

The colour and shade of dyed textiles were once as much an indicator of social class or position as the fabric itself and for centuries the recipes used by dyers were closely guarded secrets. The arrival of synthetic dyestuffs in the middle of the nineteenth century opened up a whole rainbow of options and within 50 years modern dyes had completely overturned the dyeing industry. From pre-history to the current day, the story of dyed textiles in Western Europe brings together the worlds of politics, money, the church, law, taxation, international trade and exploration, fashion, serendipity and science.

Slogan T-Shirts: Cult and Culture by Stephanie Talbot, A&C Black; 1 edition (May 15, 2013)

Informative, illuminating, insightful and erudite, Slogan T-Shirts: Cult and Culture is completely unique. Featuring interviews with a wealth of credible fashion insiders, cultural commentators and creative luminaries, from Holly Johnson (of Frankie Goes to Hollywood) to Katharine Hamnett, it offers a multi-faceted approach to the question of what makes the slogan T-shirt so rich, layered and culturally relevant… because slogans are never simply just words; they are emotive and evocative, suggestive and provocative.

Vampire Culture by Maria Mellins, Bloomsbury Academic (September 26, 2013)

Unique and exciting, this ethnographic study is the first to address a little-known subculture, which holds a fascination for many. The first decade of the twenty-first century has displayed an ever increasing fixation with vampires, from the recent spate of phenomenally successful books, films, and television programmes, to the return of vampire-like style on the catwalk. Amidst this hype, there exists a small, dedicated community that has been celebrating their interest in the vampire since the early 1990s. The London vampire subculture is an alternative lifestyle community of people from all walks of life and all ages, from train drivers to university lecturers, who organise events such as fang fittings, gothic belly dancing, late night graveyard walks, and ‘carve your own tombstone’.

Queer Style by Vicki Karaminas, Bloomsbury Academic (October 10, 2013)

Queer Style offers an insight into queer fashionability by addressing the role that clothing has played in historical and contemporary lifestyles. From a fashion studies perspective, it examines the function of subcultural dress within queer communities and the mannerisms and messages that are used as signifiers of identity. Diverse dress is examined, including effeminate ‘pansy,’ masculine macho ‘clone,’ the ‘lipstick’ and ‘butch’ lesbian styles and the extreme styles of drag kings and drag queens.

Divided into three main sections on history, subcultural identity and subcultural style, Queer Style will be of particular interest to students of dress and fashion as well as those coming to subculture from sociology and cultural studies.

A Queer History of Fashion,  Yale University Press (October 29, 2013)

From Christian Dior to Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen, many of the greatest fashion designers of the past century have been gay.  Fashion and style have played an important role within the LGBTQ community, as well, even as early as the 18th century.  This provocative book looks at the history of fashion through a queer lens, examining high fashion as a site of gay cultural production and exploring the aesthetic sensibilities and unconventional dress of LGBTQ people, especially since the 1950s, to demonstrate the centrality of gay culture to the creation of modern fashion.

Wiener Chic by Susan Ingram, Intellect Ltd (November 9, 2013)

Vienna may not be a city of fashion per se, but it is a fashionable city, a city which historically has been structured by changing fashions and fashionable appearances, by the tortured yet glittering façades of personalities and buildings. Like the Litfa säule in Orson Welles’s 1949 urban noir masterpiece The Third Man, which Harry Lime escapes into in order to avoid capture and the guileless visitor presumes are merely surfaces for advertising, and like the stolen letter left prominently on display in Poe’s short story, Vienna wears its charms on its sleeve, confident they won’t be recognized. By focusing on cinematic and institutional mediations of fashion and style, Wiener Chic explores and re-narrates the historical formation of Vienna’s urban imaginary. It takes the material dimension of urban culture seriously and mobilizes fashion as a structure of visibility that can direct the critical gaze at revealing aspects of the urban fabric from façades to festivals.

Dressing Dangerously by Jonathan Faiers, Yale University Press (December 3, 2013)

When Marlene Dietrich makes her entrance in Alfred Hitchcock’s Stage Fright, the Dior dress she wears immediately draws the viewer’s attention—not because of its designer label, but owing to the dramatic blood stains ruining its stylish surface. Fashion in film goes far beyond glamorous costumes on glamorous stars, as Jonathan Faiers proves in Dressing Dangerously, a pioneering study of the “cinematic negative wardrobe” revealed in mainstream movies. The book emphasizes how problematic, even shocking depictions of dress, until now largely overlooked, play pivotal roles in shaping film narrative.

The Religious Life of Dress by Lynne Hume, Bloomsbury Academic (December 19, 2013)

From clothing to the painted and scarified nude body, through overt, public display or esoteric symbols known only to the initiated, dress can convey information about beliefs, faith, identity, power, agency, resistance, and fashion. Taking a ‘senses’ approach, Hume’s engaging account takes into consideration the look, smell, feel, touch and sound of religious apparel, the ‘smells and bells’ of dress and its accoutrements, as well as the emotions evoked by donning religious garb.

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