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Category Archives: Books & Resources

Weekend Reading: Smithsonian’s 101 Objects that Made America

For a special issue of Smithsonian Magazine, 101 objects were chosen to represent the American History-which includes articles of clothing, accessories, and flat textiles of significance. What did they get right and what did they leave out?

Books in Brief: “Hollywood Before Glamour: Fashion in American Silent Film”

If you could see the stack of books on my ‘to do list’ you might run for the hills, but you also might sit down for a good long read. There are some great reviews ahead – so keep an eye out. First up is Hollywood Before Glamour: Fashion in American Silent Film by Michelle [...]

Did you know there was a textile factory at Sutter’s Fort?

On a mini-vacation to Sacramento last week, I spent a little while at the Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park. For those unfamiliar, the Swiss immigrant named John Sutter founded the fort in the Sacramento Valley after getting a land grant from the Mexican government in 1939.  Sutter then created a flourishing agricultural empire, and a [...]

The Many Lives of Miss K: Toto Koopman, Model, Muse, Spy

My bedtime reading for the last month has been something of a guilty pleasure: Rather than making me sleepy, it keeps me on the edge of my seat and is a fascinating true tale of a real-life bond girl with brains, independence, and beauty. The Many Lives of Miss K: Toto Koopman – Model, Muse, [...]

Books in Brief: The Mechanical Smile by Caroline Evans

Many of you will know that I’ve been doing a lot of research into the history of fashion in America. Happily, well-known historian Caroline Evans came out with a book this summer that fills a gap in the available research on early fashion shows. Her book, The Mechanical Smile: Modernism and the First Fashion Shows [...]

Knitting on the homefront (WWI)

Knitting played a large part in women’s experience of WWI (1914-1918). That fact is recorded in historical collections across the United States, including rural Northern California, as well as across the world. As historian Susan Strawn notes in her book Knitting America, “By the time America entered the war, knitters around the world were already [...]

Fall Fashion in August 1912: Braid and Military influence

      “On the left is a fall suit trimmed in braid a la militaire. The dictum of fashion for fall wear brings all sorts of braid to the fore. The model shows a pretty fall afternoon walking gown of the new material, scintilla, trimmed effectively with braid. The effect on the skirt gives [...]

Teaser Tuesday: For the love of Brodovitch

Looking ahead to Fall Books on #FashionHistory

In the world of publishing, it is a very busy time (hence my lack of posting anything for the last month). Publishing houses are busily confirming books to be released for the fall season, and to be presented to booksellers (and media) at Book Expo America at the end of May in New York (coincidentally [...]

Southeastern European Folk Dress: A CSA Event with Dr. Elizabeth Barber

Earlier this month I had the rare pleasure of taking a Costume Society of America (CSA) Western Region tour of  Resplendent Dress from Southeastern Europe: A History in Layers, the current exhibition on at UCLA’s Fowler Museum, with one of the world’s foremost historians on the earliest known clothing. Dr. Elizabeth Barber is an expert [...]